Focus on capsules Experts in capsule filling
Along with tablets, capsules remain the most important form of administration in the pharmaceutical and nutrition sectors. They offer manufacturers and patients numerous advantages. During the process of capsule filling, efficiency potentials often go unfulfilled in production. One lever for this is the capsule filling machines in the FEC series combined with the know-how offered by experts at Fette Compacting.
There are numerous reasons for manufacturers of pharmaceuticals and nutrition supplements to opt for capsules as a form of administration, and hard capsules in particular. Such reasons include shorter development times, low development risk, more dosing flexibility, and the availability of various polymer products such as hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC), which offer a greater variety of shapes and functions.
Thanks to steady and high demand, the market for capsule filling is also continuing to grow. A recent study has forecast slightly subdued yet continuous market growth of around five percent for the period 2021 through 2027 (source: Global Pharmaceutical Capsule Filling Machine Market Research Report 2021 conducted by the QYResearch Group).
Increasing pressure on efficiency and costs
And in the years to come, manufacturers will need to adapt to increased pressure on efficiency and costs in the global market. Fette Compacting provides an answer to this development in the form of its capsule filling machines in the FEC series. The FEC20 for batch sizes of up to 200,000 capsules per hour and the larger FEC40 for 400,000 capsules per hour combine maximum output with a revolutionary operating concept, which reduces conversion, cleaning and overall processing times to a minimum. Both capsule filling machines are driven by servo and torque motors. This means that all process steps can be controlled separately. Furthermore, both models use identical format parts, which can be exchanged between the machines. A patented assembly system allows for swift changes of the tamping pin stations, enabling users to change dosing methods, products and batches in no time at all, thereby reducing waiting times and increasing productivity.
Commissioning under difficult conditions
Apart from the technology, it is primarily the expertise and service offered by the machine manufacturer which are decisive for success. This becomes apparent during commissioning: for a long time, the Site Acceptance Test (SAT) for a plant demanded increased on-site presence by the machine manufacturer. During Corona, this simply has not been easy to realize. The two examples below indicate how installation can still be a success.
One manufacturer wanted to fill capsules with powder with an analgesic and antipyretic effect. Another wanted to manufacture pellet capsules for treating gastrointestinal problems. The queries entailed different product and machine requirements, which had to be fulfilled under difficult conditions. Despite the pandemic, two factors made it possible to commission the plants in time: a digitally-connected team of experts and a tried-and-tested technology.
The user had the goal of increasing their output of capsules filled with powder from a previous level of 140,000 capsules to up to 200,000 capsules per hour. At the same time, the machine was to be easy to operate and clean. The answer came in the form of the FEC20, as demonstrated by test runs with the product in the Fette Compacting Competence Center in Schwarzenbek.
At the second customer’s, the first set-up step proved to be a challenge as the floor in the production area displayed some unevenness. But the short project term was equally challenging: an FEC40 was ordered in summer 2020 which was to be delivered and installed by the end of the year. As it had been possible to acquire valuable experience in remote commissioning at the first user’s, the project team was swiftly formed for the new case in hand. And this made it possible to commission the larger machine on schedule.
These examples show how an efficient technology combined with a dedicated service can be a success right from the start in the area of capsule filling.