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Equipment and Processing Report
PharmTech's monthly newsletter, Equipment & Processing Report, reviews the Editor's Picks for the August 2008 edition from OYSTAR Manesty and Hawk.
Tablet press produces scalable results
The fully automated, single-station “Flexitab” tablet press from OYSTAR Manesty (Fairfield, NJ) is designed to produce results similar to those of a rotary press. The device’s two punches are each controlled by one pneumatic and one hydraulic cylinder, which help the unit achieve the same punch travel velocity and force as a rotary press. Scientists can “optimize a formulation with only a small amount of material,” according to Nic Michel, vice-president of OYSTAR USA’s process division.
In addition, the Flexitab machine produces single layer, bilayer, and trilayer tablets. Three hoppers are mounted on the press’s die table. Each hopper has a pneumatically driven slide-feeder mechanism that automatically fills each tablet layer and compresses between each layer.
Michel adds that operators can set the unit’s dwell time and punch displacement and store various compression profiles in the device’s memory.
Detectors incorporate adjustable sensitivity
Hawk (Melbourne, Australia) has added microwave-beam blockage-detecting systems to its “Gladiator” series of level-detection switches. The units use microwave energy, which penetrates plastic, glass, ultrahigh-molecular-weight polyethylene, PTFE, firebrick, and ceramic materials. The devices do not suffer from false tripping or fail to respond like traditional tilt switches, according to Hawk.
The system’s sender transmits rapid bursts of microwave energy to a corresponding receiver, which can be mounted as far as 100 m away. The presence or absence of the signal at the receiver switches a relay for indication or control purposes. The detector’s sensitivity is adjustable, and operators can allow the system to tolerate buildup or changes in material properties.
Systems are available in remote and stand-alone configurations and are not intrusive to manufacturing processes. The product is suitable for blocked-chute detection in wet-, dry-, and bulk-material conveying and transfer systems.