Nutrapplications & FAQ
Think big: capsule size 000
Capsule size 000 is the biggest available capsule size on the market for human applications and is very common for certain target groups in the world of dietary supplements. Syntegon offers a special portfolio of encapsulation machines that can easily handle these large capsules for applications requiring a maximum product dose. In addition special enlarged closing pins support proper and gentle closing of the filled 000 capsules.
The following capsule filling machines can be equipped with 000:
- Nutra KKE – 100% capsule checkweighing
If your existing capsule filling process comes with statistical control, but needs a 100% capsule weight check for capsule sorting, including the removal of empty capsules, or if you just like to play it safe and provide high quality sorted capsule products to your end-user, we recommend the use of our Nutra KKE. With its weighing accuracy of +/- 5 mg it is our solution for a cost effective 100% capsule weight control in the nutrition and healthcare market. These units can be run in-line or off-line and is available with outputs of up to 232 200 caps/h. If this accuracy is not enough for your requirements we can also offer the Pharma KKE with +/- 2 mg accuracy.
- Veggie and vegan caps – naturally!
As a result of the BSE cases in the 1990s, the alternative of bovine gelatin capsules – plant-based Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose (HPMC) capsules were born. Since then the demand for capsules of non-animal origin has been increasing rapidly, especially in the nutraceutical market, where they have become the standard in the dietary supplement industry. Due to the continued increase in demand for non-animal origin capsules additional vegan/vegetarian varieties have been introduced to the market.
Different capsule materials lead to different properties (like shape, pre-closing forces, size tolerances, etc.), which often required operators to overcame processing challenges in the early stages of a new type of capsules launch. In some cases even new format parts were required. Based on Syntegon’s philosophy of constant improvement and our long standing partnerships with many capsule vendors we have been able to solve the issues seen with new capsule materials and run the widest range of capsule types at the highest level of quality and machine performance.
- Go to the maximum!
The final filling weight is one of the quality attributes to make sure the label claim is met. On the one hand high fill weights enable high contents of nutraceutical ingredient, on the other hand the final product needs to stay comfortable in swallowing. So capsule sizes 0/0el and 00/00el filled to the maximum are quite common. The possible filling volume is limited by the capsule volume. Overfilling may lead improperly closed capsules and/or capsule damage during the closing process. Stable slug formation is also crucial to obtaining a maximum capsule fill weight. The slug size is determined by the dosing disc height and the tamping forces profile.
Our patented Slide-gate technology helps keep product loss to a minimum and improves stable slug formation. Products that enable slight compaction result in an intermediate stable slug that can be dosed, via tamping pin technology, to utilize as much of the capsule volume without influencing the quality of the filled capsule. Syntegon also offers several capsule fillers that support the dosing of slugs that protrude over the lower capsule body, by mounting the capsule closing station directly after the powder filling station, the potential for slug disintegration and powder loss before capsule closing is reduced. With our patented APD (Automated Process Development) system, offered through Nutra Services, we have the capability to determine the process parameters that lead to the highest filling levels and most consistent weights for even your most difficult products.
- From semi-automatic to full-automatic encapsulation
You have a successful product but you can´t meet the market demand? Then it is time to increase your productivity! If you have worked with semi-automatic equipment, we can help you transfer your product to a full-automatic capsule filling machine. Analyzing your product characteristics with our lab equipment will be one of the first steps. Based on your required final product specifications we will then propose the optimal processing set-up on the encapsulation machine that best suits all your capsule filling requirements.
We can also support you if you have decided to move from an external contract manufacturing to your own in-house production. We will share our experience and knowledge until you get the product running successfully in your facility. If you have to meet tight timeline, we can offer a capsule filler that we have in stock for the quickest delivery and manufacturing start-up.
- Approaches for „difficult products“
“Won’t work doesn’t exist! There is always a solution you just have to find it.“ Finding these solutions is one of the tasks of our Nutra Services portfolio.
We have over 50 years of expertise in the processing of solid dosage forms and first hand experience with almost all of the most common and difficult products. While many products can be placed on a machine and run without major evaluation efforts, some products require additional features and upgrades to the machine in order to overcome the special characteristics of „difficult“ products. We have approaches available that can support with poor flowability, stickiness, electrostatics, temperature sensitivity, etc. We also have the right solution for increasing bioavailability, extending shelf life, changing resolution, improving user experience, moving to all-organic clean label products, or any other unique idea you may have. Besides, we can provide all sorts of development and production know-how which we have in-house.
For both tablet compression and capsule filling we use the DoE approach for process development. In addition we have linked DoE to an automated test set-up (APD = Automated Process Development) on the machines that can run a test series without manual intervention. This allows us to conduct a large test series in a short time with minimal product and in a reproducible manner. This strategic approach to testing not only allows us to establish the best machine settings for products that currently cannot be run on an automatic capsule filler, but also improve efficiencies for existing products already being produced, e.g in terms of reduction of losses or increasing productivity. Whatever the challenge, we look forward to supporting and sharing our know-how to get your product processed successfully.
- Slide-gates? – Yes, please.
In the past our encapsulation machines offered the option to be upgraded with Slide-gates. This upgrade was one of the most innovative patents for products filled via dosing disc during former Bosch ownership. The Slide-gate system utilizes movable/mobile metal plates, which are mounted between the dosing disc and the tamping ring (see picture below), this feature eliminates the direct contact of the product with the tamping ring surface and eliminates the air gap. The release of this technology provided many advantages:
- Less shear forces to the product, gentle product processing
- Reduction of product losses (no air gap) and thus an increased yield
- Higher filling accuracy
- Less dust formation
- Less cleaning effort thus increased production time (OEE)
- Higher machine speeds compared to set-up without Slide-gates
- Enables improved filling of sensitive and adhesive products, i.e. reduced product color change due to friction build-up
- Enables improved filling of powder that does not form compact slug
- Enables powder or pellet filling via dosing disc on the same filling station
Looking at these benefits, it was no question for us to integrate the „Slide-gate“ system as standard for most of our capsule fillers and strongly encourage the upgrade on those systems where it is still optional. In the nutraceutical industry Slide-gate technology allows you to run a wider spectrum of products with greater efficiency and quality. So whenever you have to decide whether you want to go with or without Slide-gates the answer is simple: Yes, please!
- Be flexible, be innovative – from standalone to multicomplex products
Instead of filling one single active nutritional ingredient dosage form (powder, pellet, minitablet, liquid, etc), multiple dosage forms can easily be combined with the right equipment. Combining different dosage forms provides many new opportunities, e.g.: to restart the lifecycle of an existing product, to attract to a bigger consumer group, to stand out from the crowd, to provide a more visually appealing and interesting product from marketing standpoint or to combine actives in a way that they offer enhanced effects and/or improved bioavailability. You can even combine existing single dosage form capsule and tablet products into a single capsule. There are no limits to your ingenuity (see table below). We are happy to support you in the evaluation of feasibility and advise you on equipment possibilities.
- Challenges of big tablets/effervescent tablets
Large dimension tablets, like effervescent tablets, are the classic in the nutritional supplements industry. However, manufacturing is not as simple as it seems. Larger sized tablets tend to stick, which can lead to high ejection forces, especially when no lubricants are added to the formulation. Additionally for effervescent tablets the special required environmental conditions (e.g. humidity) have to be met at all times during the manufacturing and packaging process. To control high ejection forces an external lubrication system can be used on the tablet press. This allows for lubrication on surfaces only in minor concentrations with high effect. Proper lubrication results in less wear and tear to the tooling and cams and also allows for higher output rates (increase of machine speed). In case tablets have embossing or complex shapes, external lubrication supports proper tablet machinability. External lubrication preserves tablet quality like hardness and disintegration times and does not increase the brittleness. To meet the clean label trend in the nutraceutical market, lubricants of natural sources are available on the market. We have lubrication systems available that can easily be connected to our tablet pressing equipment and are happy to support you in defining the proper process attributes for your tablet product.
- Stay clean – Our solid dosage portfolio is best in class for cleaning and set-up
Our intention in equipment development is to keep things as simple as possible, both for operation and cleaning. It is worth taking a closer look at our state-of-the-art design for our granulation, pellet and fine particle coating, capsule filling machines, tablet presses and tablet coaters. We pride ourselves on the robustness of parts and technology, as well as simplicity for those working on the equipment. You will be amazed with the amount of time you can save, especially in set-up and cleaning when compared to other machines on the market. Less time cleaning and setting up means more time producing and more cost savings. We invite you to convince yourself by setting up a hands-on practice sessions at our Customer Centers.
- Qualify your personnel
Getting skilled personnel to operate your nutritional manufacturing process properly is not an easy thing. However, reliable personnel is key for trouble-free production. The process quality of the best equipment can only be as good as the operator in front of the machine. Know-how in preventive maintenance and how to treat tooling/change parts properly is important to keep equipment in immaculate condition and ensure a long lifecycle with the lowest cost of ownership. Given the importance of having properly trained staff, we offer a broad spectrum of training services, either in our Customer Centers (Hands-On Training) or at your manufacturing site. After completing one of our training programs attendees will leave with knowledge to better operate, set-up, troubleshoot, or maintain equipment which will ultimately result in additional cost savings.
- Nutra or Pharma?
In some cases it is difficult to differentiate between Nutra and Pharma. The same nutri-ingredient can be run under a food category or as a medicine with stricter regulations, simply based on its licensing. There is no question that expectations for nutraceuticals are increasing and more and more proof of product safety and reproducibility of manufacturing processes is required. One important prerequisite to fulfill the increasing requirements is the use of qualified up-to date equipment. All our equipment for granulation, encapsulation and tablet pressing fulfill the requirements for pharmaceutical production, especially in terms of cleanability, data acquisition and allows manufacturing according to GMP requirements. There is no question that whatever Syntegon model you choose, you will have the highest quality equipment at your fingertips – whether for Nutra or Pharma purpose.
- Nutra KKE – 100% capsule checkweighing