Tablets are a convenient format for prescribed drugs to be taken, as for most people they are easy to swallow and are better than a liquid medication to carry around with them. During production, tablets can also be coated to improve their taste and tablet coatings can also be used for controlling where in the digestive system the active ingredient is released. This is vital in the treatment of certain conditions.
Most tablets combine the active ingredient in powder form with excipients (additional powders), the process of binding these ingredients together is called granulation, or more specifically pharmaceutical ( dentiste de garde les jours fériés ) granulation as the process is also used in the food industry and for the production of products such as detergents and fertilizers.
The process of pharmaceutical granulation has many purposes. It is essential in ensuring a uniform distribution of the active ingredient within all tablets and improving the flow and compression of the powder mixture which allows for a predictable manufacturing process.
Granulation also helps with eliminating excessive amounts of fine powders which help the tablets to retain their hardness and shape, so it reaches the consumer intact. This not only means that the product is not damaged but also ensures that none of the active ingredients is lost if the tablet crumbles. A hard tablet is also easier for people to cut in half, which they may prefer to do prior to swallowing.
As well as helping the active ingredient to bond and be evenly distributed, the excipient powder may also include flavoring to make it more palatable for the consumers. No tablet can be formed of only the active ingredient, so granulation is one of the essential processes in the pharmaceutical industry.
Is Granulation a Standard Process?
Although granulation is essential in pharmaceutical and other industries, there is no simple formula that can be applied to all tablets. There are often issues with compatibility where the particle size or density causes problems in the blending process, which can result in segregation of the active ingredient from the excipients. In some cases this can be resolved by granulating the active ingredient at the first stage of the process; then granulating it with the excipients to form the tablets.
Prior to any drug being manufactured in tablet form, there are usually significant trials where variations in the types and quantity of excipients are put to the test. Small variations in either the excipients or the process can have significant impacts on the results, including the uniform distribution of the active ingredient which clearly leads to a serious quality issue. To ensure the correct combinations are created and then tested to ensure that this can be replicated when large-scale production takes place, the trials can be time-consuming and costly.
Machines Used in Pharmaceutical Granulation
Spheronizers and Extruders are the machines used in pharmaceutical granulation and purchasing this type of equipment at the trial stage is costly. It is possible to buy small scale versions, such as the Caleva MBS 120 or Spheronizer 380 which are both designed specifically for small-scale production. However, if after trials you are planning high scale production, this may not be a justified purchase at the trial stage. As bulky equipment, it can also be a problem to store Spheronizers and Extruders when they are not in use.
Fortunately, there are manufacturers who rent out Spheronization and Extrusion equipment specifically for pharmaceutical companies who are undertaking trials and short-term investigative projects. By renting out this equipment, there is the opportunity for smaller companies to undertake trials and investigate the viability of larger scale manufacture before committing to full production.