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Softgel manufacturers and suppliers in the USA and beyond need to ensure that their products are top-notch. They can only do this with the best possible equipment across the whole production chain. Sometimes, even the simplest solutions — like softgel drying trays — can cause problems.

Read on as we explore some of the common problems encountered when using softgel trays, as well as some of the solutions.

Problem #1: Softgel Trays Cause Defects in the Capsules

Softgel suppliers and manufacturers are held to incredibly high standards of quality. Users need to know that if they purchase one box or tub of a specific softgel capsule, it’s going to look, feel, taste, and act in the same way as the previous purchase did. Many users continue to take softgels over an extended period, so this consistency is vital. Automated softgel encapsulation machinery ensures that dosages remain uniform, but businesses also need to take steps to ensure that the product stays consistent across the whole production journey — with no exceptions.

If capsules get stuck to drying trays, this can cause defects in the capsule when it is removed. Similarly, sharp edges can cause capsules to snag, producing tears in the gelatin envelope.

The Solution

Softgel encapsulation trays must be constructed from specially formulated materials with non-stick properties. This means gels can be easily removed from the tray. Also, trays should be robust, avoiding damage that can lead to rough or sharp edges.

Problem #2: Softgel Trays Are Incompatible with Encapsulation Machinery

Trays need to work well with the encapsulation machinery that softgel manufacturers are using. In the USA and elsewhere, automated equipment is finely calibrated, with very little tolerance for error, so the trays need to be designed with your specific encapsulation solution in mind.

If the trays are even slightly too small or slightly too large, they may cause damage to the encapsulation machinery. This can lead to expensive repair and even replacement projects.

The Solution

Work with trays that are specially designed for the machinery you are using. Always check the ratings of your trays to make sure that they are guaranteed to be compatible with the equipment solutions you are working with.

Problem #3: Softgel Trays Cause Contamination of Capsules

If trays become corroded or rusted, they can cause contamination. While medical professionals now believe that rust does not cause bacterial diseases such as tetanus upon direct contact with humans, there are other health factors at play here. For instance, corroded areas are difficult to clean thoroughly, which means they may harbor bacteria, pathogens, or other forms of contaminants. If these contaminants come into contact with a batch of softgels — or even just a single capsule — this can result in a serious hazard.

It’s not just corroded trays that can be a problem here. Any tray that is difficult to clean — either because of its shape or the material it is made from — can put softgel production facilities at risk. Contamination can harm public health and will likely result in penalties and fines for the facility it is traced back to.

The Solution

Corroded trays must be taken out of circulation immediately, as they pose a risk to production and to your personnel. Trays that exhibit extreme corrosion may even cause damage to your softgel encapsulation machines. Where possible, choose trays that are not susceptible to corrosion, eliminating the risk of rusting or degradation.

Problem #4: Softgel Trays Become Damaged and Need to Be Replaced

Softgel manufacturers and suppliers rely on encapsulation machinery. This machinery is designed to run smoothly, and equipment solutions should not put too much strain on the trays themselves during processing. However, incidents do happen — softgel trays can be dropped, external objects can impact the trays, and normal wear and tear occurs over time. This means softgel trays will need to be replaced eventually, and further investment will be required from the facility management team to ensure there are enough trays to fulfill all orders.

Trays that are not robust or are low-quality may be more susceptible to damage. In turn, they will need to be replaced more often, leading to budgeting and resource planning headaches for facility managers.

The Solution

Investing in fiberglass composite trays reduces the risk of damage. While metal trays can become dented following an impact and plastic trays can easily be cracked, polycarbonate trays are much sturdier and more robust. They are also flexible enough to withstand everyday knocks and bumps without losing their shape.

Problem #5: Softgel Trays Do Not Achieve Uniform Drying

Another issue can arise from wear and tear: warping. Warping is not as easy to notice as a crack or a dent, so these trays may remain in circulation even after they have become malformed. This can be a real issue, as softgel capsules may not sit stably in the bottom of the tray and may instead roll and clump together. As a result, softgel capsules do not dry at a uniform rate. Some capsules may not have fully dried when they are packaged and processed, and batches may be defective.

The Solution

Again, a fiberglass composite tray provides a viable solution here. This material resists warping, which makes it easier for softgel producers to achieve the uniform results they need on each and every batch.

The Best Solution: Softgel Trays from Chemtech

We understand how important the softgel industry is to our society, providing the healthcare supplements and medications we need to stay fit and well. We also recognize the problems that softgel producers face when using their encapsulation technology. This is why we seek to provide the best possible solution — a fiberglass composite drying tray our customers can depend on. In our range, you’ll find softgel trays that are designed with exactly this purpose in mind.

Take a look at our Chemtech product pages today and find the tray you need for your operation. Get in touch with our team directly to learn more or to get a quote.