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Benefits of cutting-edge solid dosage equipment

Fluid Air offers a wide variety of solid dosage processing equipment.

Food & Beverage Industry News has detailed Fluid Air’s Polar Dry spray drying technology in previous months; however, the company also offers a wide variety of solid dosage processing equipment which can be used all together or individually.

“Solid dosage is when you have pharmaceutical or other supplements people take in a solid form like a tablet or capsule,” said Mark Condro, technical sales and business development manager, Australia and New Zealand, Fluid Air. 

“Different routes of administration have different terminologies, so an oral dosage form basically means the route of administration is via the oral route of administration and that is usually in the form of a tablet. 

“We call ourselves experts in solid dosage technology. That’s because we have a whole oral solid dosage processing line of equipment. 

Condro said while each system can be used individually, they also have the capacity to be used all together, depending on the needs of a customer. 

“For example, we have the Polar Dry, our granulators, our millers, and our fluid bed systems. We also have coating systems used to coat tablets,” he said. 

“They can all be used individually or together.”  

A solid dosage processing equipment line often includes fluid beds, granulators, and millers, among others. 

“Our milling equipment is used to get solid matter and mill it into a fine powder. It is a size reduction method, basically,” said Condro. 

“It uses rotors and a sheer screen where the material is forced through, and you can get different screens depending on how fine or course you want the powder to be.”

Condro used meat products as an example of what the millers can do.

“Say you had a dried-up animal product you wanted to make into a power, you can do that,” he said.  

“Or with a freeze-dried product from an animal or plant source, you break up that block and put it into the machine and the machine will grind that freeze dried material into a powder. The system is even cool-water jacketed so it can mill without excessively raising the product temperature. That’s basically how the miller works.” 

Meanwhile, Fluid Air’s granulators are designed to provide fully customisable and efficient granulation. 

“Our granulation technology is a high sheer mixer, in a way,” said Condro. 

“High-shear granulation effectively turns fine powders into dense granules for tableting or coating. This is very important for tablets.”

Essentially, there are two different methods to this, known as dry and wet granulation. 

“Dry is forcing it together for bigger clumps and wet granulation is spraying liquid on your powder to clump together,” said Condro. 

“The reason granulation is important is that with tablets is two-fold.

“Firstly, granulated powders are more compressible, so the granules deform and interlock together when put in a tablet-press. 

“Secondly, what you want to happen for a good release of the drug is once it’s in the digestive, tract it breaks up into those granules and when that happens, you have your tablet fragmenting quickly into granules which creates a high surface area, and you get a fast rate of dissolution. This process is called disintegration.

“If the granulation wasn’t there and you had a tablet that was compressed from a fine powder, the tablet would just dissolve from the outside in, rather than breaking down into tiny pieces and each piece dissolving. 

“Not to mention that you might have trouble compressing it into a cohesive tablet in the first place.”

Condro said Fluid Air takes pride in providing the best possible product outcomes for their customers. 

“This is all part of our whole gamut of technology we produce,” he said. 

“All of this equipment is made to the highest quality standards, and we make them as user friendly and as cutting edge as possible. 

“Wherever there is a place that could be improved on, that is what we
have done.”

Next Condro spoke about Fluid Air’s fluid bed systems and the advantages provided by the solution. 

“Our fluid bed systems can be used for three main functions: drying, granulation, and Wurster coating,”
he said.

“This granulation technique is like the other spoke about however, the particles produced with this process are much less dense. 

“With fluid bed drying, the moist, powders can be dried by warm dry air being passed through the powdered bulk whilst being constantly mixed. This evenly and gently dries out powders. Having a low moisture content is important to almost all
powdered products.” 

For granulation, the fluid bed has a nozzle which sprays a solvent on top of the fluidised bed.

“It’s a form of wet granulation where the particles get a little wet and come into contact with each other, fuse, and dry,” said Condro.

“They are what we term as ‘more loosely agglomerated’ because they aren’t as compacted together, rather the particles are lightly held together by tiny bridges which form between the particles as they repeatedly moisten
and dry.”

Because of this process, the particles formed are larger and less dense when compared to high-shear
granulated material.

“These less-dense particles mean you have more room to compress the powder in a tablet-press,” said Condro. 

“The powder granules will deform and shrink interlocking like puzzle pieces fitting together. This leads to a stronger, less friable tablet,” he said. 

Another big advantage to this processing machinery is the capability to tailor it to whatever your needs may be. 

“You can set up the fluid bed to have particles be coated with whatever you spray them with,” added Condro. 

“You could literally sugar-coat the powder, or say you want a tablet with a two-phase release, well you can do that. You can make a powder that has ingredient A on the outside and then ingredient B on the inside. The same applies to colourings, flavourings, and slow-release coatings too.. 

“The applications are essentially endless.” 

Fluid Air’s applications also extend to tablet coating which Condro said has a similar process to the fluid bed system, with key differences. 

“Instead of being fluidised bed it is tablets being rolled around and sprayed evenly with something. Instead of coating each individual particle, you coat the entire tablet with something like sugar, or an enteric coating, or you can put a sustained release polymer coating,” he said. 

“In short, anywhere where you want to make a tablet or modify those powder characteristics, granulators and fluid bed systems can both be used to increase particle size and agglomerate particles.” 

As mentioned earlier, while each piece of equipment can be used individually, they are also made to
work together. 

“If you are developing an oral solid dosage product, you would need at least some of this specialised equipment in your process,” said Condro. 

“The main question isn’t actually if you need this equipment, it is which equipment and processes you require that is the question.”

“To outline a potential process, when you make your powder or tablet you would start off with dispensing all the ingredients in into a collection vessel which would feed into our high shear mixer,” said Condro.

“Here, the material would be mixed and blended together into firmer agglomerated particles. This homogenous mix would then be put into our miller giving you a uniform particle size distribution.”

This then goes into the fluid bed system where it is coated with a particular component such as a sustained release ingredient, colour, another active ingredient or
sugar coating.

“From there it goes into downstream processing equipment, such as a tablet press and packing line” said Condro.

“Not every customer will need all of the equipment, they might just need one or two, but whatever their requirements, we are well equipped to provide them with the right solution.

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