Continuous tablet coating is the process of feeding tablets into one end of the perforated pan as a continuous stream of coated tablets are discharged at the other end. Compared to batch coating, continuous coaters have a variety of improved advantages.
Explaining Continuous Tablet Coating Systems
In recent years, research efforts directed toward continuous coating technologies transformed the batch tablet coating process into an automated, continuous one.
Continuous tablet coaters provide a higher throughput alternative to the batch coater, minimizing material handling and changeover between batches. Continuous coating machines also use a smaller drum to provide more uniform coating and less damage to the integrity of the tablet.
Thanks to their shallow bed depth, continuous coating machines produce a much more uniform coating than batch coaters. The coating difference protects the integrity of the product and ensures better performance for the user. Investing in the right continuous tablet coater for your operations enhances all aspects of your tablets.
Advantages of Continuous Coating Processes
An ideal continuous coating system offers several advantages:
Improved Coating Uniformity
Continuous coating provides better coating uniformity than batch coaters, thanks to two advanced coating technologies: the spray gun and shallow coating pan. Continuous coating machines are designed and manufactured with an increased number of spray guns to improve coating uniformity and deposition while their shallower pan diameter exposes a large number of tablets to the spray, which also improves uniformity.
Higher Throughput on a Continuous Basis
With batch processes, you’re required to load the pan, pre-warm the tablets, dry, cool, and discharge them—but with continuous coating processes, you save time and produce a much higher throughput.
Reduced Stress on the Coated Product
Film coating processes expose products to harsh conditions like mechanical stress during tumbling and high temperatures and humidity for up to four hours. In a continuous film coater, exposure to harsh conditions only lasts for 10 to 20 minutes.
Our Newest Continuous Coating Machine
Thomas Processing has spearheaded innovations and improvements in the tablet coating industry for more than 50 years. We’re committed to excellence in tablet coating, starting with our industry-leading Accela-Cota® tablet coating systems. Our Accela-Cota® changed the coating manufacturing process when it was introduced in 1969, setting the industry standard with unrestricted airflow, thermodynamic efficiency, and flexibility.
At Thomas, we’re known for designing coating machines from the ground up and making improvements as technology evolves. We improved industry standards again in 1993 by designing and manufacturing the revolutionary Flex-CTC® Continuous Tablet Coater, a machine with a fully perforated drum that achieves the same high performance demonstrated in our Accela-Cota® technology but in less time.
We continue to raise the bar in tablet coating with the Accela-CTC 500, a continuous coating machine that extends the capabilities of the current industry standard, the Flex-CTC.
A smaller version of the Flex-CTC, the Accela-CTC 500 is equipped with revolutionary improvements that benefit the pharmaceutical industry on a larger scale.
The State-of-the-Art Inline Cooling Chamber: Solving a Common Continuous Coating Problem
What’s a common problem with continuous coating? There’s no place to cool down the tablets after they’re coated.
Batch coaters don’t have this issue. Once a batch coater completes the process, you simply turn the spray feature off and run cool air into the machine to cool down the tablets—a continuous coater doesn’t have that component.
A continuous coater functions by allowing tablets to flow through the machine, discharging them once coating is complete. But after the coating process, where do the tablets go to cool down before discharging? Other continuous coating machines require integrating additional cooling systems into the production line so tablets can cool before being discharged.
The Accela-CTC 500 is unlike any other continuous coating machine—it’s equipped with a cooling chamber manufactured inside of the coating drum. To cool the tablets, six compressed air nozzles are pointed at them to remove the heat. Compressed air is blown onto the tablets and reduces tablet temperature as much as 15 degrees Celsius.
Thomas’s Accela-CTC 500 is the only coater on the market designed and manufactured with an integrated cooling chamber, removing the need for additional cooling systems, reducing the footprint of the equipment, and streamlining the continuous coating process. Contact Thomas Processing today to learn more about our continuous coating technology.