By Tomas Dahl, manager, OEM Projects, Material Handling Division, Piab
As you know, fragile and valuable pharmaceutical tablets are notoriously difficult to handle in processing plants. Easily cracked, the tablets have to be treated with extreme care to keep waste at a minimum.
Vacuum conveying is commonly used when producing various pharmaceuticals in the form of tablets, capsules and powders/granules. Conveying applications are available in several production process steps. Normally, the first production process steps are common for all three variants. The shape/form of the pharmaceutical is determined in the final steps of the manufacturing.
Previously, standard vacuum conveying equipment would be used and modified with items such as bumpers on the inside to prevent damage to tablets, increased pipe diameters to reduce the velocity of the tablets moving through the system and lining the inside of the vacuum conveyor body to again help prevent tablet damage.
Finally, we came to a conclusion. We were not satisfied with providing modifications of standard conveying equipment, so the decision was to develop conveying equipment dedicated to automatic tablet handling. As a result, the world’s first dedicated tablet conveyor is now ready to handle fragile tablets in automated industrial settings, where it can replace either standard equipment or laborious manual procedures.
There seemed to be three main features that were the keys to success:
- To have a controlled and low speed when conveying the tablets
- To have a soft entry into the conveyor, and of course
- To eliminate any sharp edges in the conveying pipeline
These three criteria were essential to creating a unit that ensures movement of the tablets at a slow and constant speed for minimizing breakage.
Piab is a member of PMMI and will be showcasing this technology in our booth C-3927 at PACK EXPO Las Vegas in September. Please contact us for more information.
About Tomas Dahl
Tomas Dahl has worked for Piab since 1994 in various positions. From 2007 to 2013 he worked as an application engineer in Piab’s Material Handling division supporting sales companies and dealers globally and was heavily involved in the food, pharma, and chemical industries. As Manager, OEM Projects, Material Handling Division he also supports Piab product and project managers and the R&D team in product developments.