Image via Chemtech-US
Today’s pharma production line is a complex one, bringing together a range of complicated processes that must work in harmony if product orders are to be fulfilled on time and up to standard. This production line is also governed by a myriad of different regulations and is burdened with increasing order quantities, leading to a difficult environment that pharmaceutical producers must manage. To achieve scalability and growth in the long term, manufacturers need to be supported by the right technology, This is where equipment like softgel encapsulation machines can make a big difference.
But what exactly is this encapsulation machinery, and what does it do for pharma manufacturers here in the USA and worldwide? What are the advantages this equipment offers? Read on to discover more.
What is encapsulation machinery?
Encapsulation machinery is also known as capsule filling machinery. This is a type of manufacturing equipment used to fill capsules with a granulated or powdered solid or a liquid substance. At a fundamental level, this describes the role of this type of machinery, but in practice, the operation of this machinery is more complex.
Generally, an encapsulation machine will form just one component of a pharmaceutical production line, and so it must integrate effectively with other parts of this production infrastructure. The machine receives the pharmaceutical ingredients ready to be added to the capsules, as well as the capsule materials themselves. The machine then adds this material and then closes and seals the capsules. The completed tray of filled capsules heads to the next phase of the production line, and the process is repeated for the next batch.
The advantages of encapsulation machinery: What makes this machinery so important?
Equipment, such as softgel encapsulation machines, has a significant role to play in the production and delivery of medicines and other pharmaceutical products. These innovative pieces of pharma engineering provide a number of benefits to the companies that use them, their customers, and the industry as a whole, such as:
- Reductions in time and labor investment
Encapsulation machines are designed to handle a painstaking and highly precise task with relative ease. If encapsulation was carried out manually, it would require careful and accurate management of large teams of personnel, which would render it effectively unfeasible for cost-conscious pharma manufacturing businesses. With encapsulation machinery infrastructure implemented, businesses can focus the workforce on tasks more suited to their skills.
- Accelerated delivery and reduced time-to-market
When equipment is deployed for encapsulation, the whole process becomes streamlined and efficiency is boosted. This means time-to-market is greatly reduced, and patients can access the healthcare products and medicines they need without delay. In turn, it becomes far easier to meet the order deadlines without compromise.
- Mass-production capabilities
The benefits of encapsulation equipment are not just related to time and ease of deployment — they are also linked to the scale of the manufacturing job. Pharmaceutical companies frequently have to deal with extremely high order volumes — which makes manual processes almost impossible to execute with the right level of effectiveness. Machinery infrastructure dramatically increases the output volume of the pharma manufacturing facility.
- Standardized doses
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) places strict controls on dosage levels and information for medications. This information must be printed clearly on the container’s label, and this should be closely monitored and assessed. With encapsulation machinery, facilities can guarantee a standardized dose for all medications that they handle, eliminating many of the risks associated with manual encapsulation — risks that can be potentially disastrous to consumer health.
- Regulatory compliance
Any organization that manufactures drugs and healthcare products must adhere to the FDA’s Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) regulations. Failure to abide by these regulations could result in a fine, the loss of a license, or even civil and criminal proceedings should the incidence of non-compliance be linked to actual public harm. Encapsulation equipment helps to ensure regular processes that are in accordance with regulations.
- A complete solution
Pharma manufacturing equipment needs to integrate with all other points across the whole production chain, creating a seamless path from beginning to end. Encapsulation machines are designed to fulfill this need, accepting raw materials for medications as well as the capsules that need to be filled. The equipment completes the filling and sealing phase of the procedure and then passes the filled capsules on to the next phase of production. With no gaps in the production chain, the potential for shrinkage and inefficiency is reduced greatly.
- Lower costs for medications at the point of purchase
If inefficiencies and wastage are kept low, this translates to reduced costs for the pharma production facility. These cost savings can then be passed on to the consumer, maintaining stability in the market.
- Compatibility with highly specialized materials
Many pharma production processes include highly specialized materials, such as softgel capsules, that need to be handled with great care. Manual filling methods or incompatible equipment may damage these materials, impacting the reliability of the medication for the consumer. Specifically-designed equipment — such as a softgel machine — is built to be fully compatible with these materials, filling and sealing the capsules without causing damage.
Encapsulation machinery is a critical part of modern pharma production
Technology such as softgel encapsulation machines is not only beneficial to the modern pharma manufacturing industry — it is vital. Without this technology, it becomes difficult for businesses to meet high levels of demand and to grow and scale for the future. When relying on manual processes or small-scale equipment and automation for encapsulation tasks, manufacturers find themselves exposed to high costs, high levels of wastage, and poor quality control.
Encapsulation technology makes it possible for businesses to meet their production aims without compromising the quality and reliability of their output. We can expect to see these pieces of equipment playing a continued role on the frontline of pharma development and manufacture in the coming years.