Pastillation Systems From Laboratory Scale to High-Performance Plants — Pastillation in Cleanrooms

Editor: MA Alexander Stark

Solidifying melts and viscous fluids on a steel belt offers a number of advantages including low-dust generation and extremely uniform granules. With its GMP-compliant, steel belt-based Rotoform pastillation system, Ipco offers a solution with particular appeal to manufacturers of foodstuffs, cosmetics and drugs.

Related Vendors

The process delivers uniform pastilles with stable and dust-free production.
The process delivers uniform pastilles with stable and dust-free production.
(Source: Ipco/Busch)

Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) represents the basis for highest quality standards for food and pharmaceutical manufacturers. By following the guidelines and regulations that are defined by this code of practice, companies can ensure that their production systems are consistent with international standards and that processes take place with high quality standards. One of the particularly important requirements is to ensure that the production environment is clean and hygienic.

Ipco has recognised these requirements in the hygienic design of its Rotoform pastillation systems for foods, cosmetics and pharmaceutical products. These systems can be used to produce pastilles from products such as fatty acids and fatty alcohols, which can then be processed as tensides in soaps and cleaning agents, or as softening agents, thickening agents and emulsifiers in creams or ointments. Further applications for hygiene-critical products include foodstuffs such as cocoa mass, chocolate, cheese, gelatin, sauces, soup concentrates, sorbitol, caramel and many more.


The requirements vary depending on the industry and product. This is why every order starts with the development of a concept, which is drawn up together with the client. The Rotoform system is not GMP-compliant by default, so, depending on the product characteristics, the first step is to prepare a realistic catalog of requirements necessary for GMP compliance. The systems are then built in accordance with these individual requirements and the specifications and requirements of the customer, including factors such as ensuring optimum ease of cleaning and accessibility.

High-quality pastilles

This highly productive process is used to solidify chemical melts into granulated, uniform pastilles that are easy to convey, store, dose and mix. Different product viscosities can be processed, and different sizes of pastille can be produced by simply swapping the rotating outer shell and the nozzle bar. Since the pastilles are produced by directly solidifying the melt, there are no energy or machine costs for downstream crushing, breaking or grinding processes. Fast cooling times mean that no pollutants escape into the atmosphere, ensuring an environmentally friendly process. In addition, the process also ensures a dust-free production environment.

High hygiene requirements

In the case of the Rotoform 4G machine model, Ipco has delivered a number of system and design improvements that enable simpler and faster cleaning. Here, a servo motor is used to move the entire pastillation unit into the service position. Further improvements have been achieved via the use of mechanical seals and low-maintenance drive belts instead of chains.

As well as manufacturing complete process systems, the company also supplies stainless steel belt-based conveyor systems for the food and pharmaceutical industries. These incorporate a range of features designed to maximize hygiene standards, including drums made entirely of stainless steel, food standard-compliant plastics, and easy-to-clean designs with corresponding bearings, IP65 motors and instruments. In short, the materials and design of these conveyor units follow the guidelines of the European Hygienic Engineering & Design Group (EHEDG), a group of companies that work together to ensure that hygiene measures are implemented in food production.

For critical products, a risk analysis is drawn up during the concept creation stage. Potential measures range from extracting critical gases and Ex-proof motors for dusty environments to safety shutdown systems. The GMP systems designed by Ipco are therefore well suited to cleanroom processes.

High performance pastillation

The Rotoform HP (High Performance) machine type is based on the 4G model and is designed for the processing of highly viscous products with high solidification performance. The main difference between this model and the standard 4G model is a modified product distribution channel, together with an increased diameter of the drop former. This delivers increased efficiency for high-viscosity products thanks to the uniform distribution of the melt over the entire width of the steel belt system. Typical applications for this model include high-capacity production of chocolate, hot melts, epoxy resin or hot melt adhesives. To maximize product safety for pharmaceutical and food production, this system can also be adapted accordingly to meet the FDA and GMP guidelines.

Pastillation at laboratory scale

Laboratory trials tend to focus less on high performance and more on compact dimensions and flexibility. The Rotoform MI (Mini) has been developed for this purpose. The system has been developed for laboratory applications so that quality, production rates and other key product parameters can be defined during the development phase. Its capacity depends on the products being processed and can reach up to 20 kg/h. Its advantages are its low space requirements, extremely diverse system applications and the ease of operation.

For customers who do not wish to invest in their own system, Ipco also offers the opportunity of producing test batches at its Productivity Center in Fellbach/Germany. If production volumes do not justify a dedicated plant, production can be outsourced to a contract manufacturer in Germany, the USA or France. The French partner of Ipco for example also offers GMP-compliant production.

This overall concept of tailor-made system design and matching services is designed to enable producers of all sizes in the food and pharmaceutical sectors to establish optimum production conditions. This starts with the choice of materials and extends to the different service packages that are available.

Additional Information
Operating principle
The Rotoform principle

The Ipco Rotoform method is a perfect combination of a Rotoform unit and a steel belt cooler for continuous and uniform pastillation. A pump is used to deliver the molten product via a heated pipe to the Rotoform system. The Rotoform unit itself consists of a heated cylindrical stator, which is loaded with melt, and a perforated outer shell that rotates concentrically around the stator. A nozzle bar portions drops of the melt across the entire width of a continuously running stainless steel belt.

Baffles and internal nozzles built into the stator provide a uniform pressure across the whole width, providing an even flow of the product through all holes of the rotating outer shell and ensuring that every pastille is of a uniform size, from one edge of the belt to the other.

The circumferential speed of the Rotoform pastillator is synchronized with the speed of the belt: drops are therefore deposited on the belt without deformation. Heat released during the solidification process is transferred by the stainless steel belt to the cooling water that is sprayed via nozzles onto the underside of the cooling belt. This water is collected in tanks and returned to the water recooler system; at no stage does the water come into contact with the product.