In the Spotlight February 2011

Published on: 
Pharmaceutical Technology, Pharmaceutical Technology-02-02-2011, Volume 35, Issue 2

New products in tableting and granulation.

Editors' Picks of Pharmaceutical Science & Technology Innovations

To ensure that a tableting process will be predictable, active ingredients and excipients in powder form must undergo granulation. This process results in granules, which comprise several particles each, and helps personnel produce tablets within the desired specifications. This month's products aid the granulation process in various ways. A vibratory feeder from K-Tron conveys cohesive powders into the granulation process. Oystar's high-shear mixers help ensure uniform blends during the operation. A sensor from Natoli allows personnel to monitor materials as they are granulated.

Sensor provides speed and sensitivity

The Light-Induced Fluorescence (LIF) sensor from Natoli Engineering is designed to enable real-time monitoring of fluorescent analytes through intrinsic fluorescent sensing in the solid or liquid states. The sensitivity of fluorescence is roughly 1000 times greater than that of absorbance spectroscopy, and the sensor can detect residual active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) in rinse water and on surfaces.

Light-Induced Fluorescence sensor Natoli Engineering

The LIF sensor incorporates onboard control sensors, such as reference photodiodes, an accelerometer, a thermal monitor, and various diagnostic tools, that help to provide high-quality data. The device's data output occurs every 100 ms, and this fast response time enables employees to make production decisions.

The LIF Sensor can verify tablets' API content and is suitable for analyzing low-dose, high-potency drugs. Personnel also can use the device to monitor material during granulation, detect the end point of blending operations, and aid in cleaning verification.

Vibratory feeder conveys cohesive ingredients

The K-PH-ML-D5-KV2 vibratory loss-in-weight feeder from K-Tron Process Group incorporates high-resolution load cells for accurate gravimetric feeding. Typical applications include continuous extrusion, granulation, mixing, and coating. The device's vibratory feeding motion helps convey cohesive powders that may not flow well in screw-feeders, including needle-shaped ingredients and those with high aspect ratios. Users adjust the amplitude of the tray vibration according to the required mass flow through the K-Tron KCM controller, which helps achieve a consistent feed.

K-PH-ML-D5-KV2 feeder K-Tron Process Group

Mixers enable high yields

Oystar Huettlin's HTG and HBG high-shear mixers for wet granulation incorporate a Z-shaped Gentlewing impeller designed to enable fast and uniform mixing. A vertical segment of the impeller reaches from the bottom to the top of the bowl, thus providing a greater granulation area than traditional designs do, according to Nicolas Michel, vice-president of the company's pharmaceutical process division. This design helps increase yields by preventing product from sticking to the vessel walls or lid.

HTG and HBG high-shear mixers Oystar Huettlin

For granulation lines, Oystar links the mixer units to HDGC fluid beds. Process air is forced through radial slots in the fluid bed's discjet, thus setting the product in motion as soon as it is transferred from the mixer. This feature increases material's wall speed and starts the drying process instantly. One of the fluid bed's five independent filters is blown back at any given time, and the unit constantly uses 80% of its maximum filtration area.

New Product Announcements

may be sent to New Products Editor, Pharmaceutical Technology, 485 Route One South, Building F, First Floor, Iselin, NJ 08830, fax 732.596.0005,