Supporting Pharmaceutical industries in automating the feeding of tablet presses is core to Piab’s product development. Having worked with significant tablet press manufacturer OEM’s and end-users for many years, we can draw on long-term experience in configuring the optimal conveying solutions to match the requirements of different pill or tablet press machines.
Overcoming challenges in tablet or pill press feeding
The transfer of ingredients in pharmaceuticals manufacturing is often done manually – implying safety risks to operators in case they have to climb ladders – or using open mechanical conveying solutions with the danger of employee exposure to active substances and product spill and contamination. Vacuum conveying offers a solution to these challenges by automating the charging/feeding of the tablet press in a contained system.
FDA and EC regulation compliance
Automating transfer process steps ensures consistent output quality of the final product and compliance with FDA, EC 35/2004 and EC 10/2011 regulations. Piab vacuum conveyors are also ATEX certified. Easy to clean conveyor system leads to less downtime and lowers the risk of product contamination.
Ensuring a high level of productivity
Piab vacuum conveyors contribute to the transition into continuous manufacturing by connecting the dots in pharmaceutical manufacturing via automating process steps.
Avoiding product segregation
The Piab feed point accessories are seamlessly connected to the vacuum conveyors to avoid the segregation of conveyed materials with different characteristics and product damage. The accessories are adjusted to get the right mix of material and air to enable dense phase conveying. During dense phase conveying, the amount of material is larger than the air leading to a low-velocity conveying process.
The process of conveying to and from the press
The powdered material from a mixing/blending unit, sieve or other pickup point is conveyed to feed the tablet press with a vacuum conveyor. The piFLOW®p64 is the most sought-after conveyor in tablet press feeding, thanks to its compact size and relatively high capacity.
The ready-made tablets then fall into a hopper which can serve as a feeding point for the piFLOW®t, Piab’s gentle vacuum conveying solution with an optional pre-separator. This conveyor type prevents product damage by moving items at a low and constant speed, regardless of the amount of material in the pipeline. The piFLOW®t can convey the tablets from the hopper to feed a tablet-coating unit, convey through a metal detection device or convey to a blister packing machine, bottle filler or other types of packaging machine. Damaged tablets can also be conveyed from the tablet press by piFLOW®p to ensure safe scrap management.
Tablet production often takes place in small-sized clean rooms, which require optimal space utilization. Tablet presses are robust pieces of equipment; thus, there is usually even less space available for the feeding system. In this context, the small size and low footprint of Piab’s vacuum conveying solutions offer a critical advantage.