By Sharon Nowak
Global Business Development Manager: Food and Pharmaceutical,
K-Tron International Inc.
The manufacturing sector of the pharmaceutical industry is currently undergoing a radical change. The need to improve process and product quality while controlling overall process costs is growing. Continuous processing offers a chance to achieve these goals. The implementation of PAT (process analytical technology) tools further aids in the support of the continuous operation, as the tools give real-time indication and assurance of product quality throughout the process.
A variety of batch processes in the industry are currently undergoing continuous evaluation, including continuous direct compression or blending, continuous wet and dry granulation, and continuous granulation via hot-melt extrusion. At the heart of each of these continuous operations is the feeder which is used to proportion raw ingredients into the process. Feeder technology and accuracy is paramount in the overall continuous process.
Feeder Accuracy Defined
To fully define feeder accuracy, it is necessary to address three separate and distinct areas of feeder performance: repeatability, linearity, and stability. Repeatability reports how consistent the feeder's discharge rate is at a given operating point; linearity assesses how accurately the feeder discharges at the requested average rate over its full operating range; and stability gauges performance drift over time.
SOURCE: Coperion K-Tron