Why continuous granulation
In pharmaceutical production, individual process steps are traditionally executed in batches. This is true of granulation. Ingredients undergo granulation and agglomeration, while keeping a homogeneous particle size distribution. The changes in physical properties, such as better flow behavior, compressibility, low dust formation and, possibly, optimized release profile of active ingredients, favor the subsequent tableting.
The process can be continuously operated, from mixing of the starting powders to the packaging of the final tablets, by using a twin-screw extruder and subsequent drying in a fluidized bed system.
The benefits of continuous processing are many. It is easier to enclose the whole process using smaller scale equipment that has a small footprint. This process provides greater flexibility in batch sizes as small amount of materials are used, improving control and consistency. Continuous processing eliminates dispensing, reducing risk of operator error in weighing out ingredients and in the handling of ingredients.
Since the entire process is modular, the critical process steps are relatively easily scaled-up and, one can set up facilities for development (approx. 1 kg/h) to the production scale (approx. 300 kg/h).