With a batch size range from 10 to 100%, the TP R Optima perforated coating pan from Romaco Tecpharm covers an enormous range of applications. This flexibility is achieved thanks to a very high level of automation. An intelligent spray arm and individually controllable air exhaust flaps ensure premium product quality coupled with shorter processing times.
The new solution coats tablets in totally variable batch sizes from 10 to 100%. All processes can be automatically adjusted without having to open the machine and intervene manually. In order to switch from pilot to production scale, it is sufficient to call up the relevant parameters on the HMI and start the process. Thanks to this highly automated technology, there is no need for the operator to be continuously present while working in batch mode.
Intelligent spray arm with movable nozzles
The TP R Optima tablet coater’s wide range of applications is a result of its innovative design with an extendable spray arm and movable spray nozzles. It has a large radius owing to its three-point extension mechanism, so that the ideal spray distance – and hence very high product quality – is maintained no matter how small the batch size. The application of the spray liquid is automatically controlled and monitored with the help of sonar measuring equipment. The sonar’s acoustic wave sensors measure not only the batch volume but also the tablet bed inclination, which varies according to the turning speed of the drum. In addition to adjusting the spray distance based on this data, the intelligent system aligns the spray nozzles exactly, so that the tablets are coated at the correct distance and angle throughout the entire process.
Flow conditions flexibly controlled
Besides the spray distance and angle, the flow conditions in the drum are decisive for optimum coating results. The coater was therefore designed with automatically controllable air exhaust flaps that can be opened continuously and are mounted at various heights. As a result, the path taken through the tablet bed by the air flow and spray liquid can be regulated absolutely precisely, regardless of the batch size. The controlled exhaust air flow ensures loss-free application of the suspension, in other words the coating does not simply run over the product before being discharged again unused. The precision with which the flow conditions and the vacuum are controlled inside the drum makes for a very efficient spraying and drying process. Apart from shorter processing times, this simultaneously reduces coating liquid consumption by up to 60%. This significant time and material saving equates to lower manufacturing costs and a more sustainable production process.
High process control
The TP R Optima tablet coater provides another important instrument for process control, namely automatic detection of clogged spray nozzles. Especially when processing highly viscous coating media, there is a risk of nozzle blockage. If such blockages occur, the system immediately identifies the nozzle in question and attempts to restore the flow with overpressure. An alarm is tripped if this fails. The user can specify in advance in the system whether the process should continue or be stopped directly in such a case (which usually depends on the product). Besides, the sampling that is required at regular intervals likewise takes place fully automatically without needing to open the drum in order to remove the tablets.
Pharmaceutical-grade GMP design
The in-wall design allows strict separation between the product-contacted parts and the technical components. Servicing work can thus be carried out on the machine without entering the cleanroom. The tablet coater additionally meets all the requirements for GMP-compliant cleaning with WIP (washing in place). All product-contacted surfaces are readily accessible and visible for this purpose. The avoidance of dead spaces where product could accumulate was a top priority, particularly where the intelligent spray arm was concerned.