How to Manufacture Pharmaceutical Tablets using different machines?
Tablets have been around for decades and play a crucial role in the treatment process. A tablet is a solid dosage form which comprises active ingredients and pharmaceutical excipients as well. Tablet manufacturing process requires a number of considerations and utilization of state of the art machines specifically designed for the purpose.
There are a number of tablets available in the market and they all differ. They have different shapes, sizes, thickness and dissolution characteristics. We will take a look at various machines used in tablet manufacturing, but before that let’s take a quick look at the different kinds of tablets available in the market.
Various types of tablets
From the aspect of manufacturing, tablets can be categorized as molded tablets and compressed tablets. The global pharmaceutical industry produces various types of tablets such as compressed tablets, film coated tablets, enteric coated tablets, chewable tablets, sustained release tablets, multi-layer tablets, dispersible tablets, sublingual tablets, vaginal tablets and buccal tablets to name a few. Frankly speaking, the list is extremely long.
There is n number of tablets available in the market and hence the tablet manufacturing processes also differ from each other. You would need different types of machines and equipment depending upon the type of tablet you wish to manufacture.
Pharmaceutical Tablets Manufacturing Process
Size reduction is one of the most crucial steps in the tablet manufacturing process. A ‘size reduction equipment’ will be needed for this purpose. Know that compressed tablet manufacturing process is relatively easier and less complex as all particles are of a certain size and it facilitates a uniform dose as well. On the other hand, if lubricant mixing with granules is needed, then fine particle size become essential. Size reduction equipment is in place to serve multiple purposes such as quality improvement and sensitivity reduction. It also improves the biological availability of medication.
You can use colloidal mill, bar mill and fluid energy mill for size reduction. Besides, roller mill, cutting mill and hammer mill are also used.
The granulation process involves using wet granulation equipment and sometimes dry granulation equipment as well. Wet granulation helps facilitate the much needed homogeneity of drug distribution in the mix. You will need a high-end wet granulation equipment for the purpose such as rotating shape granulator, mechanical agitator granulators, high shear granulators and fluidized bed granulators.
As the name suggests, dry granulation process doesn’t involve the use of any liquids. You will need this process when the drug fails to compress properly post wet granulation or if you are granulating moisture sensitive drugs such as aspirin. This process is also required for granulating thermolabile drugs. Choosing the right machine is important here as it depends on certain factors. Rolling speed, roll design, feed rate, die diameter, particle size and tooling features are some of the most common factors.
Rotary dryers, spray dryers or fluidized bed dryers are used for drying the tablets. Fluidized bed dryers are preferred owing to their superlative thermal efficiency. They are cost-effective and are known for effective moisture removal.
Mixing the active pharmaceutical ingredients
A quality mixing equipment is needed for mixing the active pharmaceutical ingredients of the tablet. You can use a pneumatic mixer (drive mixer or air mixer), diffusion mixer (double cone mixer, V blender, cubic mixer and drum blender) or convective mixer(diffusion blender, horizontal high intensity blender, or planetary blender).
Using pharmaceutical instruments
You cannot imagine the tablet manufacturing process without pharmaceutical instruments. These instruments include tablet testing equipment, friability testers, refractometers, powder handling equipment, freeze dryers, tablet hardness testers, dissolution testers, fluorometers, photoelectric flame photometers, melting point apparatus, thermometers and Karl Fischer machine. All these machines are used for different purposes.
The tablet compression process involves using a tablet compression machine. Single punch tablet press and rotary/multistation tablet press are two tablet compression machine types. Single punch tablet press can easily produce 60 to 85 tablets in a minute.