In the Spotlight

Editors' picks of pharmaceutical science and technology innovations.
Jul 02, 2010
By PharmTech Editors

Tablets are still the predominant dosage form for pharmaceutical products. The drug industry has long experience manufacturing tablets, but equipment and processes keep evolving as new materials and formulations challenge conventional production methods. This month's products were designed to improve the versatility and efficiency of tablet-manufacturing lines. The S250 Smart tablet press from IMA facilitates turret changeover and cleaning processes. DRIAM's DRIACONTI-T pharma film coater includes a cylindrical drum that enables continuous processing. The AF-200(T) capsule filler from ACG North America accurately fills low doses at high speeds.

Film coater enables continuous operation


DRIACONTI-T pharma film coater, DRIAM Coating, Technology, www.driam.com
The DRIACONTI-T pharma film coater from DRIAM (Eriskirch am Bodensee, Germany) is designed to enable continuous operation. The unit's cylindrical drum is divided into sections, each of which is dedicated to a particular process step. When a process step is complete, flaps in the drum move simultaneously to transfer the groups of tablets to the next drum section for further processing. Unlike traditional film coaters, the DRIACONTI-T pharma device can handle batches of all sizes.

Operators can set up the machine so that tablets enter its loading hopper directly from a tablet press. This configuration eliminates the need for loading, unloading, and intermediate storage. The film coater's segmented drum ensures consistent consumption of energy and coating media. The relatively small size of the drum sections enables gentle product handling. Operators can control the machine through a touch-screen monitor. The unit's spraying system can be removed easily.

Tablet press offers flexibility


The S250 Smart auto-mated tablet press IMA www.ima.it
The S250 Smart automated tablet press from IMA (Bologna) was designed to provide flexibility and ease of operation. Operators can lift the device's upper machine head to facilitate turret removal. Using three tools, personnel can remove the turret quickly, swing it out, and position it on a trolley. By lifting the upper machine head, operators also can reach the inside of the press easily, which helps to shorten cleaning time.

The S250 Smart tablet press has a maximum production speed of 300,000 tablets/h. One available model of the machine meets pharmaceutical standards such as 21 CFR 11. The model regulates tablet weight by taking measurements and providing feedback. The device's electric components are included in the machine housing, thus giving the unit a compact design. Personnel operate the press through a touch screen control. The device's software was designed to be self-explanatory.

Encapsulator combines accuracy and high output


AF-200(T) encapsulator ACG North America www.acg-northamerica.com
ACG's (South Plainfield, NJ) AF-200(T) encapsulator is designed to combine microdosing capabilities and output speeds as high as 200,000 capsules/h. The machine fills doses as low as 15 mg with an accuracy of ±2 mg. The unit's dosing disc is customized based on formulation characteristics such as bulk density, net content, and slug-forming ability so that the encapsulator achieves the desired fill weight with high accuracy.

The device's feeding design handles difficult formulations (e.g., loose, dusty, and heat-sensitive powders) and reduces dusting to as little as 1%. The feeding design thus enhances operator safety and reduces mechanical changeover time. The unit's proprietary Zero Relative Motion technology helps minimize dust segregation to 1% or less. In addition to powders, the encapsulator also fills capsules with microtablets and pellets. Users control the AF-200(T) machine with a touch screen and adjust its speed with the main panel. The encapsulator is appropriate for facilities with limited floor space.

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