MG2: fifty years of modular and flexible solutions

06.03.2013

Flexibility in capsule filling was born in Bologna, in the heart of the so-called Packaging Valley. A few kilometres from the Emilian chief town, we find the headquarter of MG2, a brand leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of automatic machines.

Flexibility in capsule filling was born in Bologna, in the heart of the so-called Packaging Valley. A few kilometres from the Emilian chief town, we find the headquarter of MG2, a brand leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of automatic machines for the pharmaceutical sector. MG2 boasts a special know how in the field of filling machines for hard shell capsules, suitable for research & development as well as for big production batches.

«To offer and carry out modular and flexible solutions ». This was one of the principles which have inspired Ernesto Gamberini, the founder of the Company, since 1966. The Company of Pian di Macina di Pianoro (BO) has a unique tradition in this sense; over the decades, one of the salient points of its production range has been the possibility to offer custom and flexible solutions to every customer. MG Futura was a milestone of MG2’s line up. Marketed since the 1980s,  the small capsule filler met with the buyers’ favour, especially thanks to its flexibility, which made the machine suitable to satisfy the requirements of a wide range of users. MG Futura was able to handle any capsule size; moreover, thanks to its modular conception, it could be fitted with different dosing units at the same time, in order to fill the same capsule with numerous combinations of powder, pellets, tablets, microtablets, capsule into capsule, liquids and herbs. The possibility to upgrade its speed from 6.000 up to 96.000 capsules/hour at any time, made MG Futura the ideal solution for R&D laboratories, which could then transfer the results obtained directly to the production line. Today, these principles are more and more important, due to the increasing need for pharmaceutical companies to launch new products, reformulate existing products and transfer R&D products to the final production in the easiest and fastest way. Moreover, modularity and flexibility of MG2 machines allow the customer to make only the necessary investment at the right time, thus avoiding useless or untimely costs and ensuring the best return of investments.

One machine: different dosages and speeds

Even today, modularity and flexibility mean to MG2 the possibility to combine different products and pharmaceutical forms and to change dosage in the simplest and fastest way. Products that can be dosed are powders, pellets (it is possible to dose up to four different kinds into the same capsule), liquids, tablets and microtablets. The product is changed by extracting the dosing unit (which is designed as an independent module) out of the machine, and fitting the new dosing unit requested. The units are interchangeable; the customer just has to fit and connect them to the machine, then the production can start. This important feature can satisfy the needs of companies which often change their production, such as the outsourcers. At the same time, the machines can be configured in order to meet the productive requirements of small laboratories as well as companies producing big batches. Flexibility in dosing type is available right from the laboratory machine mod. FlexaLAB, featuring a production speed of 3.000 capsules per hour. The greatest example of flexibility in this sense is Planeta capsule filler, the evolution of MG Futura, which exalts the flexibility of the previous model, combined to an extraordinary ease of use. Actually, Planeta was the first capsule filler in the world designed in a modular way, in order to allow a quick change of dosage.  The same machine can be customized according to the customer’s requests, to reach production speeds ranging from 6.000 up to 100.000 capsules per hour. Planeta can be equipped with two different dosing units at the same time and, at a later time, it is possible to upgrade the speed or buy different dosing units, in order to meet new requirements. Scalability is another key concept, which is the possibility to widely improve the production performances, by transferring, for example, the production from a Planeta to another MG2 continuous motion capsule filler, such as G250 (200.000 capsules/hour), or the very fast MultiFLEXA 250, suitable to reach a production speed of 250.000 capsules per hour. This is possible thanks to the product dosing principles, which are shared by all MG2’s continuous motion machines.

Weight control systems, from statistical control to MultiNETT

The Bolognese Company can offer solutions made to measure for weight control systems as well.  A wide range of weight control systems is available: manual, statistical or to check 100% of production; stand-alone or integrated to the machine, with self-adjustment of dosing parameters. The choice of the right weight control system can depend on different conditions such as customer’s quality policies, product’s critical level for the final patient and, not last, on the net weight to be checked (standard or low dosages). For example, Planeta guarantees the widest flexibility of choice, as it can be equipped with statistical control systems such as SWC (for gross weight), Pre-weight (for net weight) and 100% in-process net weight control systems such as NETT (suitable for standard dosages) or MultiNETT, a sophisticated and very precise weight control system suitable to check, with great precision, product microdosages and, individually, the different components in case of dosage combinations. NETT and MultiNETT are based on the measuring capacitive system, which has been successfully used by pharmaceutical companies for over 15 years. As well as the essential advantage of checking the net weight of each dosed capsule and rejecting automatically all capsules out of specification, another considerable advantage of MG2’s 100% weight control systems (NETT and MultiNETT) is their integration to the machine, thus reducing the overall dimensions and avoiding the filled capsules to be additionally handled by an external checkweigher, which could damage them.

Containment: a wide range of possibilities

Containment is another issue which highlights the modularity of MG2’s solutions. First of all, containment is requested to avoid product dispersion in the processing area and in the environment, to protect the operator and the environment from the exposition to toxic substances. Furthermore, the isolator can also be used to protect the product from external contamination and bad environmental conditions, to keep constant parameters such as temperature and relative humidity levels. The company refers to the OEL classification (Occupational Exposure Limit) which defines acceptance criteria as for the maximum concentration level per cubic metre: under this level, an operator who is exposed for 8 hours a day doesn’t take any risks. The highest classes (OEL4 and OEL5) are requested by customers who need to handle potent and/or toxic drugs, such as oncologic products. MG2 machines can be equipped with containment systems suitable to all OEL classes, with flexible or rigid isolators, depending on the containment strategy requested by the product. Flexible isolators are the ideal solution for machines with low/medium production speed such as machines for laboratories which are used to handle different kinds of products (powder, pellets, etc.) and for low OEL requirements (OEL2/OEL3). Rigid isolators guarantee a higher containment level (OEL4/OEL5) and represent the optimal solutions for machines dedicated to handle a specific product or high toxicity powders, at any production speed (low/medium/high). Moreover, rigid isolators are the best solution when the customer wants the machine to be integrated with automatic product loading systems and high containment valves.  As for rigid isolators, MG2 can offer three solutions which can be upgraded, as for the combination of containment and washing functions. The first solution involves just an isolator to carry out the containment; the second solution adds a wetting system to fix the product when the production cycle ends (Wet in Place); the third solution achieves the maximum automation level, thanks to an automatic Wash-in-Place / Clean-in-Place and drying system. In any case, the customer can choose among a wide range of optional devices and functions, which could be essential to the specific application.