Inside the Medicine Machine: Getting into Granulation
Dry granulation offers several advantages to manufacturers – cost for one – and it’s now attracting more attention as the push towards continuous manufacturing ramps up. Here, Tobias Borgers from L.B. Bohle highlights machinery that’s suitable for both batch and continuous processing.
Stephanie Sutton |
How does the machine work?
The goal of granulation is to take fine, non-compactable powders and turn them into coarser agglomerates that can be pressed into tablets. Agglomerates can be composed of dry, solid granules, where each granule represents an agglomerate of primary particles with sufficient solidity. In the dry granulation process, agglomerates are created through mechanical pressure alone.
With our BRC series, powders are processed to free-flowing granules with a defined density or porosity that allows for immediate pelletizing after compacting. We wanted to offer better performance than the existing products on the market so we designed the BRC to offer a high level of product capacity with minimum material loss. Force is generated by purely electromechanical means to ensure consistent ribbon properties and it can evenly compact material over a production range of 1-400 kg/h (product dependent).
The powder is compacted between two rollers with specified gap widths. The impact on the rollers, as well as the gap width, is monitored via sensors and there is also the option to install process analytical technology (PAT). All data are integrated into a control circuit to ensure continuous process quality, while an electro-mechanical drive provides precise and fast control. The chopper unit below the compacting rollers processes flakes into a granule at a defined granular size, and the unit is equipped with a conical sieve with replaceable inserts for different particle sizes. Even at high material throughputs, the cone-shaped sieve and its inserts gently crush the ribbons into granules with the desired particle size distribution. Each BRC can be mounted with a different rotary sieve within minutes to adjust to new process and ribbon requirements.
During the development of the series, engineers paid particular attention to make scale-up from the BRC 25 to BRC 100 as easy as possible by using identical roller geometry and control in both machines.
Of course, ease-of-use, targeted control, cleaning and hygienic design were all considered; when developing equipment for the pharma market, getting these aspects right is essential!
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