Extruders and Pharma Feeders Expansion of the Extruder Series for the Pharma Industry

Editor: Ahlam Rais

Coperion is expanding its proven ZSK extruder series with a new extruder size in pharmaceutical design: As a result, the company now offers the ZSK 26 twin screw extruder that fulfills all of the pharmaceutical industry’s guidelines and covers throughputs of 5-20 kg/h, depending on the application and materials to be processed.

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Along with the Coperion ZSK pharma extruder’s well-known characteristics, the new ZSK 26 offers a more compact design and is very easy to clean.
Along with the Coperion ZSK pharma extruder’s well-known characteristics, the new ZSK 26 offers a more compact design and is very easy to clean.
(Source: Coperion, Stuttgart)

The ZSK pharma extruder series is now available with new, completely integrated Coperion K-Tron K3 pharma feeders. Combined with the already well-known characteristics of its pharma extruders, the firm has equipped the ZSK 26 with some new developments. Like the ZSK 18, the ZSK 26 pharma extruder’s process section is designed to be free hanging. Thanks to this new design, the product contact parts are optimally accessible from all sides, greatly simplifying machine dismantling and cleaning. The dual-cycle cooling system, which safeguards cooling of both the process section as well as the motor by using water, has now been fully integrated into the extruder’s base frame.

Likewise, the vacuum pump as well as the KCM control unit for Coperion K-Tron’s highly accurate feeders is housed in the base frame. Together, these measures markedly reduce the entire extrusion system’s space requirement. Moreover, they enable simple, quick extruder startup at the operator's location and facilitate production, cleaning and maintenance by separating product-contacting and non-product-contacting machine areas, states the company.

Reproducible, High Product Quality

All ZSK pharma extruders are compactly designed, easy to service, and optimally accessible for cleaning and maintenance. For the highest possible flexibility when feeding liquids and solids as well as during mixing and product melt devolatilisation, the company uses a modular system for the extruder’s process section, comprised of several barrels in which self-cleaning screws co-rotate.

The Do/Di (outer-to-inner screw diameter) of 1.55 enables secure scale up within the entire pharma extruder series. The 11.3 Nm/cm³ specific torque enables high throughputs at low screw speeds and thus low product temperatures. The product components’ thermal load in the temperature-controlled ZSK process section is also low. Complete integration of the pharma extruders with the newest line of pharmaceutical feeders ensure exact adherence to the formulation and reproducible high product quality, adds the firm.

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Highly Accurate and Tailor-made Feeding of Ingredients

The new line of K3-PH feeders have been specifically designed to meet the growing demands of continuous processing in the pharmaceutical industry. Due to the use of a smaller D4 platform scale incorporating the patented and highly accurate Smart Force Transducer (SFT) weighing technology, these feeders require significantly less floor space compared to previous models. The feeder’s modular quick change design allows the easy exchange of feeder types and sizes, using the same scale and drive for fast adaptation to new processes and formulations while also ensuring easy cleaning and maintenance.

The quick change feeder bowl, agitator and screw combinations can be quickly decoupled from the feeder drive and provide for easy and fast changeover and cleaning. The updated modular concept features a newly developed drive using a servo motor which helps reduce the overall footprint and offers a much larger turndown range, including low feed rates, states the firm. For an optimal Wash-in-Place (WIP) result, every unit has an integral two degree pitch facilitating maximum drainage during the cleaning processes.

The modular K3-PH line is designed to facilitate a cluster arrangement of six or more feeders, ideal for multi component continuous processes, such as continuous extrusion, mentions the company. Whether designing for excipients, API’s and powder blends with demanding properties such as viscous or adhesive characteristics, rapid-flowing powders, temperature-sensitive fluids or materials with high hazard potential, the company offers custom designed feeding systems and ancillaries. In the case of the ZSK 26 pharma extruder, the solid material feeder is located on a swiveling platform directly above the inlet. Fluid ingredients are fed via liquid loss-in-weight feeders that are installed on a separate frame next to the extruder.

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