Automatic Capsule Filling Machine:The Most Ultimate Importing Guide
Automatic capsule filling machine is a very important machine in pharmacy industry.
And import the right capsule filling machine is more important for a pharmaceutical factory.
In this guide,you will know everything about automatic capsule filling machine.
Reading the whole guide will certainly make you an expert in the automatic capsule filling machine industry.
Definition of Automatic Capsule Filling Machine
As you will see later in this guide, the type of material here may include powder, pellets, suspension, liquid, etc.
Material in hard gelatin capsules
The design and configuration of the machine will depend on the types of capsules and material it should fill. In both cases, the designs of these machines are completely different.
So, what does this mean for you?
Be clear on the purpose for which you intend to use the automatic encapsulation machine. That is, the type of material you intend to fill and in which capsules.
Soft gelatin capsules
Hard gelatin capsules
With these in mind, you are now free to begin looking for a capsule filling machine manufacturer or supplier.
Identify an Automatic Capsule Filling Machine Manufacturer
For a high quality and reliable automatic capsule filler, you must deal directly with the manufacturer. This is the only way you will get value for your money.
It’s no secret that buying capsule filling machine from the manufacturer comes with many benefits. For instance, a direct technical support, warranty and best prices are guarantees you will always get.
But that’s just a tip of the iceberg.
Now, let’s see how to get a reputable automatic capsule filling machine manufacturer.
From experience, I find these two options handy and practical:
Option #1: Searching Capsule Filler Manufacturer Online
Basically here you will use the search results from either Google or Bing. Go ahead to evaluate each page from say 1 to 4.
As you will realize, at the top of the first pages, Google ads and various online places will appear first. You should ignore them.
Let me give you a secret today:
Only reputable pharmaceutical equipment manufacturers with relevant information to your search will appear on the very first pages.
So, let’s do a random search using the term: “Automatic capsule filling machine manufacturer and supplier”. Here are the results:
Search results from Google retrieved on 1/9/2018
Of course, you can use other keywords within this category, while stating the exact location. For example, you may have:
- Automatic capsule filling manufacturers in China
- Automatic Encapsulation machine manufacturer in Europe
By doing so, I am sure you will sample a few companies.
Next, you can consider this:
Option #2: Consider Pharmaceutical Machines Trade Fairs or Exhibitions
These are events or functions that bring companies in the pharmaceutical equipment manufacturing niche together. Reputable and genuine companies will attend trade fairs and exhibitions to showcase their machines.
In my experience, it is during this time that you get an opportunity to interact with the manufacturers. This is because the company will send their own representatives.
I find the TradeFairDates website handy when it comes to this.
Trade Fair Dates
Simply select country, region and date to know more details about various pharmaceutical trade fairs/exhibitions.
As you can see, this is a simple and practical way to find automatic capsule filling machine manufacturers.
And we don’t stop here.
Let’s now move to the nitty-gritty aspects of automatic capsule filling machines.
Know the Types of Automatic Encapsulation Machine in the Market
Frankly, there are many models and brands of automatic capsule machines. For example, SaintyCo has over 11 different designs of capsule filling machines.
As if this is not enough, they also come in different shapes and sizes.
Therefore, it will be virtually impossible to discuss all models or series of these encapsulation machines here.
SaintyCo ProCap Capsule filling machine; compare it with the MagnaFill in the above image
The good news is I have a practical and easier way of analyzing all automatic encapsulation machines faster.
That is, I will focus on the working principle of these automatic encapsulation machines.
So basically, you can go for:
- Soft gelatin capsule filling machine
- Hard gelatin capsule filling machine
For now, I will limit this discussion to some critical aspects of each type of automatic filling machine. Later in section 5.0, you will learn how they work after studying different parts of capsule filling machines in section 4.0.
Is that fair enough?
Well, let’s have a quick overview of these machines first:
3.1 Soft Gelatin Capsule Filling Machine
A soft gelatin capsule filling machine is an assembly of mechanical, electrical and pneumatic systems that fill hermetically sealed shells with suspension, semi-solid or liquid material.
Below is an example of soft gelatin capsule filling machine. You will learn about its various components later in section 4.0.
A soft gelatin capsule filling machine
Again, the end product of any soft gelatin capsule filling machine is:
Soft gelatin capsules with active ingredients
Unlike in case of hard gelatin capsule filling machines where you can find some semi-automatic machines, here the process is fully automated.
That is, from the time the gelatin and fill material enter the automatic capsule filler, through to the sealing process and to discharge.
What does this therefore mean to you?
Once you key in all process parameters, the system will run without any human intervention. All you have is a touchscreen HMI that displays all process parameters.
In addition to this, you have to be specific on the type of soft gelatin capsules you intend to produce. This will make it easier for the automatic filling manufacturer to customize the tooling to your specifications.
Some of the most common soft gelatin capsules you will get from the soft gelatin encapsulation machine include:
Different shapes of soft gelatin capsules
You can also opt for custom made shapes. It should take about 2 weeks to customize the tooling system.
So, what’s the bottom line here?
Soft gelatin capsules have a unique design and they are suitable for:
- Processing hermetically sealed gelatin shells, i.e. those that exist in one piece
- Filling material is in the form of liquid, suspension or semi-solid
These are the key factors that distinguish Softgel encapsulation machines from the hard gelatin capsule filling machines as you will see shortly.
3.2 Hard Gelatin Capsule Filling Machine
Unlike the soft gelatin capsules, hard gelatin capsules are made up of two parts. They have a body and a cap that come in different shapes, sizes or colors.
Structure of hard gelatin capsule
These capsules hold dry ingredients such as pellets or powder.
Therefore, the design of these automatic filling machines must be different from the soft gelatin encapsulation machine.
Broadly, when it comes to filling hard gelatin capsules, you can choose from either:
- Tamping pin capsule filling machine or,
- Dosator capsule filling machine
As you will find out later in section 5.0, the main difference here is the working principle of the two machines.
For now, let’s explore some basic aspects of these two fully automatic capsule filling machine designs.
3.2.1 Tamping Pin Capsule Filling Machine
If you want a high speed automatic capsule machine, then try this one.
Like the name suggests, these automatic capsule filler machines have a series of tamping pins. It is these pins that compress material at different stages to a predetermined depth.
Normally, this is a continuous process until it delivers pellets or powder into the capsule.
For instance, a machine may have 4 or 5 compression stages depending on the design of the dosing disc.
Hard gelatin capsule filling machine tooling system
Additionally, they allow for integrating a feedback control mechanism and changing tamping pin, depending on the size of the capsules.
Don’t worry, you will learn about the working principle of tamping pin encapsulation machines in section 5.0.
At the moment, let’s look at:
3.2.2 Dosator Capsule Filling Machine
This is yet another type of hard gelatin capsule filling machine that uses a different process to fill capsules. Unlike in the case of tamping pin machines, here the compression process takes place once.
That is, once the dosator tip enters the material, it compresses it at the same time and then rotates to deliver it to the capsules.
It is an effective process that is common in some types of automatic filling machines.
In short, it is upon the automatic capsule filling manufacturers to choose the working mechanism of this pharmaceutical equipment.
So, when should you decide to use either tamping pin or dosator capsule filling machines?
Here are some important facts you must pay attention to:
When you want to improve yield and accuracy in capsule filling process: In both dosator and tamping pin capsule filling processes, the machine changes material into small slug. That is, it compresses powder or pellet particles together.
This ensures accuracy and consistency in the entire process.
Filling capsules with powder and pellets: Both the dosator and tamping automatic encapsulation machines can fill both powder and pellets. You will only require simple modifications to achieve specific production needs as opposed to investing in a completely new machine.
Moreover, they can also fill different types of capsules that may include sizes 00, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.
Different sizes of hard gelatin capsules
Micro-dosing: Normally, this refers to very small capsules of about 200 milligrams or even less such as the dry powder inhalers (DPIs).
Here, you must use the dosator automatic capsule filling machines. It is easier to adjust the size of the dosator nozzle for micro-dosing applications.
Clearly, there are instances where you can opt for either dosator or tamping pin capsule fillers. However, there are those cases that you must be very specific such as in micro-dosing.
So, whether you choose dosator or tamping pin automatic capsule filling machine, by the end of the process you will have this:
Hard gelatin capsules with powder
But wait, there is more:
Do you know that evaluating components and parts of fully automatic capsule filling machine is also important?
That is exactly what I want to discuss next, keep reading.
Evaluate Design and Parts of Fully Automatic Capsule Filling Machines
Simply put, an automatic encapsulation machine may have hundreds of parts and components. These may include tooling system, drive mechanism, lubrication system, sealing mechanisms, bolts, etc.
Well, discussing all these may be beyond the scope of this guide.
Therefore, for the purpose of this guide, I will focus on the most critical components and parts of automatic capsule filler machines.
Now, let’s get straight to the main subject of this section:
4.1 Parts of a Soft Gelatin Capsule Filling Machine
If you want to buy a Softgel automatic encapsulation machine, then you must know the key parts and components of this machine. Here is a summary of the key parts and components:
Parts of a SaintyCo Aprila series of soft gelatin capsule filling machine
Again, knowing the exact location of every part alone is not enough. Let’s have a quick overview of their functions:
- Material tank or hopper; this is a stainless steel container that holds material to fill in soft gelatin capsule.
- Materials pump; sucks material from the hopper and forces it to the injection wedge. There is also a return pipe allowing excess material to flow back to the tank.
- Injection wedge; it heats the web (soft gelatin) and injects the fill material. It has sensors that coordinate motion, regulate temperature and open/shut off valves.
- Gelatin melting tank; this is where you will prepare your gelatin.
- Spreader box; it spreads gelatin from the melting tank into a thin film.
- Cooling drum; it cools the gelatin web ready to the encapsulation process. The drum is always in a constant rotary motion in the direction which the web moves.
- Lubrication rollers; it tightens the gelatin web while applying lubrication oil on both sides.
- Tooling system; it is the heart of soft gelatin automatic encapsulation equipment. It consists of two die rollers that rotate at constant speed.
They have die cavities that resemble the design or shape of Softgel capsule you want to encapsulate. By the way, you can opt for the custom designs depending on your capsule filing requirements.
- Discharge chute; receives all soft gelatin capsules from the tooling system.
- Mangle rollers; they pull the web from the main tooling system.
- Drying system; dries fully encapsulated soft gelatin capsules.
- Control panel; this is a touchscreen HMI system or panel for monitoring and controlling various functions of the soft gelatin encapsulation machine.
In short, these are the main parts of soft gelatin automatic capsule filling machines. Other parts may include drive mechanisms, lubrication systems, electrical connections, machine frame, etc.
You will learn more about how these parts coordinate to produce hermetically sealed soft gelatin capsules shortly.
Meanwhile, let’s explore the most important components of hard gelatin capsule filler machines.
4.2 Parts of Hard Gelatin Automatic Capsule Filling Machine
Here, I am going to discuss some of the most critical parts of hard gelatin automatic encapsulation machine. Again, it is important to mention that these are not the only parts of an automatic capsule filling machine.
Normally, these parts vary with the design and model of each machine. You can learn more about other components in the product manual or installation instructions.
I will discuss the essence of that document later, keep reading.
For now, let’s focus on these:
Parts of an automatic capsule filling machine – Photo credits: SaintyCo AdvantaFill Encapsulation Machine
- Control Panel; this is main a touchscreen HMI system where you can control and monitor critical parameters of the automatic filling machine. It is mainly a PLC system.
- Electrical Components Cabinet; remember, a fully automatic capsule filling machine is an assembly of mechanical, electrical and pneumatic components. It is these components that coordinate to drive the entire machine.
Therefore, the cabinet keeps electrical components and other drive mechanisms free from dust or human contact when the machine is operating.
- Vacuum Loader; this machine has two vacuum loader system on the capsule and powder side. It ensures that the capsules and powder/pellets enter the appropriate hoppers for further processing.
- Capsule Loading Ports; you can also refer to this a capsule feeding system. They hold capsules ready for the encapsulation process.
It is the capsule loader system that ensures the capsules do not separate during the feeding system, besides blocking crushed ones. It has a sensor that controls all its operations.
The capsule loader depends on a rectifying mechanism to orient capsules ready for filling. Most capsule feeding systems feature a race way and simple construction for fast part changeover
- Pellets of Capsules Loading Ports; this part loads either pellets or powder in the capsule filling machine. They use vacuum transfer to feed either powder or pellets into the machine ready for encapsulation.
In addition to these, the automatic encapsulation machines have powder and pellet filling device. They precisely fill powder or pellets into hard gelatin capsules with virtually no or minimal deviation.
- Automatic Encapsulation Machine Tooling System; do you remember what I said in section 3.2? Well, the tooling design will depend on the type of hard gelatin capsule filling machine you are using.
You will see how the tamping pin and dosator tooling systems look like when I will be discussing the working principle of each machine. Basically, this is what constitutes the tooling system of a fully automatic capsule filling machine for hard gelatin:
The arrows indicate the direction of rotation with the far right showing dosage filling station
So, the capsule will enter the tooling via magazine, then goes to separation by vacuum (#2). It will then proceed to #9 where it leaves the tooling system of automatic capsule filling machine.
You will see the actual sequence of events in section 5.0 where I have a complete automatic capsule filling machine video.
Here are some of the main components that make up the tooling system of any automatic encapsulation machine:
- Capsule Filling Machine Dosing Disc; it controls weight and ensures consistent dosing of powder. Below is an image of the dosing disc.
Dosing disc of capsule filling machine
Here is an informative article on the how dosing disc affects capsule sizes, material formulation and tooling component.
- Turret of capsule filling machine; the capsule loader feeds capsules in the upper section of automatic capsule filling machine turret. It is the turret that transports capsules from one dosing station to another.
- Capsule Filling Machine Turn Table; automatic machine encapsulation machines have a closed turn table to prevent dust getting into the mechanical parts. Quite a number of capsule filling machine turn tables depends on the index movement for precise rotation.
Besides, they mainly have straight bearing to improve accuracy and consistency.
Section of capsule filling machine turn table
- Closing and Discharge of a Capsule Filler Machine; these assemblies should be easy to detach and fit depending on capsule filling requirements. It is the discharge part that prevents possible vortex when capsules leave the tooling system.
It is important to remember that the design of the tooling system of the fully automatic capsule filling machine will also depend on the filling combination. Filling combination basically refers to the type of material a machine can fill in hard gelatin capsules.
For instance, we may have:
- Pellet and powder
- Pellet, powder and pellet
- Tablet and powder
- Pellet and tablet
This is what I mean:
Filling different products in one hard gelatin capsule
As you can see, there are many parts of automatic capsule filling machines.
I just hope, this does not sound so complicated for you to understand. You will appreciate this when it comes to explaining how fully automatic capsule filling machines work.
Now, let’s quickly see how this machine works first, before we move to a very important subject when importing any pharmaceutical equipment – verifying technical specifications of capsule filling machine.
Understand How Fully Automatic Capsule Filling Machine Works
Knowing how a fully automatic capsule filling machine works is critical. It will help you to appreciate the technological advancements in the pharmaceutical industry.
From my previous discussions in sections 3.0 and 4.0, it is quite evident that we have three different processes that automatic capsule filler machines use.
I will discuss all the three working principles of automatic encapsulation machine here. Let’s see how these machines work:
5.1 The Working Principle of Softgel Encapsulation Machines
The working principle of soft gelatin capsule filling machine involves preparing gelatin, fill material preparation and actual encapsulation process. You can then process the Softgel capsules further by drying, polishing or printing.
Basically, I can summarize the process in the image below:
Parts and components of Softgel encapsulation machine
I know this may seem complicated, let me explain it to you:
You will prepare gelatin in the gelatin tank. Heat all ingredients until they are in a molten state forming syrup.
This syrup will then flow to the spreader box. It will spread the syrup on the cooling drum which changes it into a flat material called a ribbon.
The machine will push the ribbon to the tooling system through the oil rollers that will also tighten it. Remember, at any instance, there will be two ribbons from the two opposite sides.
At the same time, you will prepare the fill material then pour it into the product material tank. The fill material will then flow to the injection wedge through the tubes with the help of a pump.
With both the gelatin ribbon and fill material ready, the machine will begin the encapsulation process. That is, it will bring both the ribbon and fill material together.
Here is exactly what happens:
- The two rollers will feed gelatin ribbon into the die system. That is, the left and right ribbons meet within the rotating die system.
- At the same time, the injection wedge releases the fill material at the point when the right and left ribbons meet.
- As the two dies rotate, they cut and hermetically seal the gelatin ribbons forming Softgel capsules. Of course, they take the shape of the die cavity.
I can summarize the entire process as:
Filling Softgel capsules
But this is not the end of the process:
You must dry the soft gelatin capsules, sort, print or polish. There are specific support machines for this that I will list later in section 8.0.
Just in case you want to learn more about this process here is a comprehensive guide for you: Soft Gelatin Capsules Manufacturing Process: The Complete Guide.
Next, let’s review how dosator encapsulation machines work.
5.2 How a Dosator Automatic Capsule Filling Machine Works
Now, I want you to be extra cautious here.
This is because most people tend to confuse dosator and tamping fully automatic capsule filling machines. I hope you remember the benefits of dosator capsule filler that I mentioned in section 3.0.
Let’s now dive right into the working principle of the dosator encapsulation machine:
First, I want you to review this image:
Various stages in dosator capsule filling machine process (Diagram 1)
Remember at this stage, I will only focus on the mechanism of the tooling system. It is the main factor that differentiates dosator capsule filling machine from tamping pin capsule filling machine.
Next, I want you to analyze this second image:
An Illustration of what takes place within a dosator pin (Diagram 2)
The second illustration looks even more confusing, I guess.
Don’t worry you will become an expert in this shortly:
So, this is how it goes.
What Exactly Happens in Each Dosator Pin (Focus: Diagram 2)?
Once you switch on the machine, it will force the dosator tool into the pellet/powder bed or capsule. You can see in #1 (incoming stage).
This will depend on the position of the dosator tool. However, for this illustration, the focus will be how the dosator tool fills the cavity at its tip.
The powder will then fill the cavity or space at the tip of dosator tool. At this point, the plunger, which is the red part, will be up.
With the dosator tip still in the powder, the plunger will move downwards. It will compact powder within the dosator cavity as you can see in #2 (compaction stage).
After this, the dosator will move upwards (#3 – retraction stage), with the powder in the cavity. Then the dosator tip will move to a flat “cutting tool” that will level the powder by removing any excess.
This is actually the “doctoring stage” as you can see in #4.
Lastly, it will now turn to the capsule and eject the compressed powder as you can see in #5.
This is what happens to every dosator tool in capsule filling process. Normally, this process is so fast that you can’t notice.
Now, let’s have two pairs of dosator tooling system.
Stages of Dosator Capsule Filling Process (Main Focus – Diagram 1)
I want to make this straightforward for you:
At any point, there are sets of dosator tool systems filling the capsules and the others picking up the powder.
Powder dosing in capsule filling machine
For example, in step (i) all the two pins are up. Then when it comes to step (ii), the first pin is on the capsule side while the other on the powder section.
Thus, in step (ii) one tool fills the capsule as the other acquires the powder.
While in step (iii), the system rotates such that the tip that was in the powder delivers compacted powder in the capsule. On the other hand, the dosator tool that has delivered powder moves to the powder section, filling its empty cavity with the powder.
During this period, the turret will transport capsules from one dosing station to another.
As you can see, the working principle of the dosator automatic filling machine is very straightforward. Here is an article where you can learn how to fill low weight capsules with powder using dosator capsule filler.
With that, now let’s have a quick overview of the working principle of the tamping pin machine.
5.3 The Working Principle of Tamping Pin Capsule Filling Machine
Earlier, I promised you an informative automatic capsule filling machine video. In this video, you will see parts of fully automatic capsule filling machine.
Automatic capsule filling machine capsule feeding system
More importantly, you will also see how tamping pin encapsulation machine works.
Now, let me explain how tamping automatic capsule filler works. But first, I want you to have a quick look at this image:
The working principle of tamping pin capsule filling machine – Photo credits – Larry L. from University of Maryland
Unlike the dosator capsule filling machine, in tamping pin encapsulation process, compression takes place in series. For instance, in the above example, it is quite evident that:
- Filling rod presses the powder in 5 different stages
- In each stage, it presses the powder/pellets to a predetermined depth. That is, the depth of compression decreases as you move towards the ejection stage.
This progressive compression ensures a better compaction of the powder.
In short, the powder tamping takes place in 5 different steps before ejecting into the capsule in step 6. Normally, this is after the scraper removes excess powder that may result in undesirable weight deviations.
Normally, the dosing discs of tamping pin automatic capsule filling machines have holes on their surfaces. This is quite clear even from the above image and you could also see it in the video.
Besides, it has a plate just below the disc that prevents material from falling. Again, this is also evident from the above image.
So this is what happens when you switch on tamping pin automatic encapsulation machine:
- The dosing plate will begin to rotate below the material bed (powder or pellets).
- Tamping pins will then compress the material at a predetermined depth. Say once material fills hole 1, pin 1 compresses it.
Then when hole 1 moves to the next stage, material flows in and pin 2 compresses it. This process continues until it reaches the last pin say four or five.
Remember, all holes on the dosing disc will go through the same process.
- At the last stage before ejecting the compacted material, the machine scraps off the excess pellet/powder. It then fills the capsules with this final product.
As you can see, the process is also simple and straightforward, but completely different from the dosator capsule filling process.
Capsules and powder
So, what’s the bottom line here?
The other capsule filling processes such as rectification/changing direction, separating, locking, rejecting and ejecting capsules still remains the same. The main difference between the two comes in the capsule filling process.
Illustration of capsule filling process
But wait, there is something else you need to know – the technical specifications of fully automatic capsule filling machine.
Verify Automatic Capsule Filling Machine Technical Specifications
Technical information indicates the capability and performance of a machine. So, it is important that you review this information before purchasing an automatic encapsulation machine.
This is what I am talking about:
Technical specification for Softgel encapsulation machine (Aprila series)
You can compare the above automatic capsule filler machine with this:
The technical specification for hard gelatin capsule filling machine – SaintyCo MagnaFill
Let me break down this information about the pharmaceutical capsule filling machine. Your main focus should be on:
6.1 Production Capacity of Capsule Filling Machine
You should buy a machine whose production capacity is slightly higher than your current production needs. This will allow for an easy expansion.
Now here is the truth:
- Production capacity for soft gelatin encapsulation machine
For an oil capsule filling machine, the production capacity will depend on the shape and type of Softgel capsules. Other factors to evaluate include speed and mold sizes.
- Determining production capacity for hard gelatin encapsulation machine
Again, here, the production capacity will depend on the type of material. For instance, most fully automatic capsule filling machines have a higher production capacity for powder than pellets.
Factors that determine the production capacity include the filling stations and segment bores.
But, this is not enough, you should review this too:
6.2 Types of Capsules Encapsulation Machine Can Fill
Capsules come in a wide range of sizes and shapes besides featuring a wide range material. So it is important to know the types of capsules you intend to fill.
Filling capsules with powder
Let’s go right into what you should do:
For oil capsule filling machines; you can consider many shapes that are not limited to oblong, round, oval and tubs. Here, your main concern should be the design of the rolling die tooling system.
On the other hand, for hard gelatin pharmaceutical capsule filling machine, you must consider capsule sizes. Capsule sizes may range from #0, #1, #2, #3, #4, #00 and #5.
Remember, each type capsule size will require a different tooling system. A good example is using dosator capsule filling machine for micro-dosing applications.
In addition to this, you must consider this as well:
6.3 Power Consumption of the Fully Automatic Capsule Filling Machine
Talk of the pharmaceutical capsule filling machine or oil capsule filling machine, they all use electrical energy. Normally, it is the power consumption, among other factors that will determine the price at which you will sell the capsules.
Again, here, consider the power source where you will pay attention to:
- Voltage; this can be 380/220V 3 phase 4 wire and 60/50Hz supply. This will depend on your geographical location and supplier.
- Total power consumption of the machine
Finally, you should consider:
6.4 Weight and Dimension of the Encapsulation Machine
Normally, the automatic filling machine manufacturers will describe this encapsulation equipment in the form of length, width and height. This information is vital since it helps while determining shipping and installation space.
Besides, you should know the weight of the automatic capsule filler.
In short, these are the main technical specifications you must know. You can always request or download automatic capsule filing machine PDF from your manufacturer to learn more.
Another critical aspect to consider whenever you are importing automatic capsule filling machine is the technology.
Does the machine feature any technologies that can guarantee safety and optimal capsule filling?
Well, let’s see what you must consider:
New Technologies and Innovations in Fully Automatic Capsule Filling Machines
A number of automatic filling machine manufacturers focus on technologies that improve safety and optimal production. So, I will discuss the two to give an insight on what exactly to focus on when buying fully automatic capsule filling machines:
7.1 Technologies that Improve Productivity, Performance and Efficiency
I know you would like to own a fully automatic machine whose performance is predictable. This can only be possible if you acquire a machine with appropriate technologies.
SaintyCo MagnaFill Capsule filling machine with a separate control panel
Some of these technologies include:
- Colored touchscreen HMI panel; allows for easy system control and production management. They are basically the PLC systems.
- Enclosed dosing, electrical and moving systems for efficient and consistent capsule filling process.
- Vacuum cleaning system for easy and fast cleaning
- Auto lubrication system; it automatically lubricates moving parts to prevent possible wear and tear. Obviously, this will increase the service lifespan of your automatic filler machine.
Automatic lubrication system for automatic capsule filling machine
- Variable frequency drive system; for easy speed control of the motor and hence that of the machine.
Whenever you are shopping for an automatic encapsulation machine, it is important to go for those that feature modern technologies and innovations.
Apart from these, another aspect to consider is the:
7.2 Capsule Filling Machine Technologies that Guarantee Safety
Safety is also an integral aspect in any capsule filling process. Therefore, you must find out whether the machine you are about to import guarantee safety or not.
It should be the safety of both the fully automatic capsule filling machine and that of the technicians. Below are some essential technologies:
- Using transparent solid polycarbonate sheet to enclose the dosing station. In most machines, these doors are interlocked such that, they cannot be open when the machine is ON.
Solid polycarbonate door with door check sensor for safety
They have a door check sensor. Therefore, the machine will not run when the door is open.
- Alarm for door opening, low powder and capsules level
- Emergency switch; this will help to stop the machine in case of any emergency situation.
With all these features, your machine will not only guarantee seamless and optimal performance but also ensure better returns.
But, this is not enough, to ensure seamless encapsulation process, you need support equipment. These are very vital accessories that you cannot survive without.
Here is all you need to know.
The Ultimate Support Equipment List for Automatic Capsule Filling Machine
Support equipment are the accessories you need either to prepare material ready for capsule filling or process the final product. The truth is that you cannot operate a capsule filling business without any of these machines.
A series of pharmaceutical machines and equipment
I will not lie to you:
There are hundreds of pharmaceutical equipment and accessories you can use for these tasks. So, just buy those that meet your specific production needs alongside your automatic capsule filling machine.
Here is my ultimate list of support equipment in the pharmaceutical capsule filling industry:
8.1 Accessories for Preparing Material Ready for Encapsulation
Below is a list of machines you need to prepare material for the capsule filling process:
- High shear granulator mixer machine
You will use high shear granulator mixer machine in mixing, granulating, homogenizing or humidifying materials. It is this material that you will use in the capsule filling process.
High shear granulator mixer machines
- Hammer mill
With hammer mill, you can grind, shred, crush or pulverize material ready for the encapsulation process. You can learn more about this machine here: The Working Principle of Hammer Mills (Step-by-step Guide).
- Vibro sifter
To grade material before the actual encapsulation process, you need a vibro sifter machine. Here, you will separate materials depending on their sizes.
Virbo Sifter machine
You can then choose a suitable automatic encapsulation machine for the actual capsule filling process.
- Binds and drums
You can store or mix material in these bins and drums. Normally, you can use them to store material or capsules after filling process.
Bins and drums
Closely related to this are the IBC bin blenders which you can use to mix materials just before you begin the encapsulation process.
- Fluid bed processors
They include a wide range of machines such as fluid bed dryers and fluid bed granulators. You can coat, dry and mix material without exerting high shear force on the individual particles.
Fluid bed processor machine
Others may include gel melting equipment, chilling systems, oven, etc.
Please note that these are not the only equipment you need to prepare material ready for the encapsulation process. As a rule of thumb, buy only the pharmaceutical equipment you need.
8.2 Equipment for Processing Capsules after Filling
After capsules leave the discharge chute of a fully automatic capsule filling machines, you must processes then further. This is why you need these machines too.
Here are some support equipment and machines that will help you in this process:
- Drying systems
In the case of soft gelatin automatic capsule filling machine, you must have tumble dryers and drying trays.
Tumble dryer for Softgel capsules
This is because when the hermetically sealed soft gelatin capsules leave the encapsulation machine, they are still wet. Therefore, you must take them to the tumble dryers first and then to the drying trays.
- Capsules sorting machine
It removes capsules that do not meet the specified standards. A good example if the soft gelatin capsules sorting machine.
Capsule sorting machine
- Capsule polishing machine
These machines clean and remove any material present on the surface of capsules. The capsule polishing machines ensure the capsule surface remains clear with the right texture and color.
Capsule polishing machine
- Capsule printing machine
To give your capsules a unique identity, you need a capsule printing machine. It can print a logo, identification number, capacity or any feature you want.
Caspsule printer machine
- Capsule packaging machine
By the end of the capsules encapsulation process, you must package the capsules nicely. Therefore, you need a high quality capsule packaging machine.
A good example of such machines is the blister packing machine.
Blister packaging machines for capsules
Again, there are so many machines you can use to process capsules further after the actual encapsulation process.
To cut on costs, only buy support equipment that you need. Besides, you should buy the automatic capsule filling machine from a manufacturer that offers a one-stop solution for pharmaceutical equipment.
With this approach, you are likely to get better deals.
Now, let me take you through another vital process that most people ignore.
Please, read through this to avoid the mistakes that most people do when importing automatic capsule filler machine.
Quality Inspection & Verification of the Capsule Filling Machine
Knowing the type of fully automatic capsule filling machine you want to import, specifications, parts, working principle, design, etc. are never enough. Without quality compliance and verifying quality documents, all your efforts will be futile.
I do not want you to be a soft target to the automatic filling machine manufacturers who supply substandard equipment.
First, let me start with these essential quality requirements:
9.1 CE and cGMP Compliant Fully Automatic Capsule Filling Machine
The European Conformity (CE) marking is an essential quality. It gives an assurance that the automatic encapsulation machine in question meets certain environmental protection, health and safety standards.
This is what you will see on the automatic capsule filler machine:
The truth is that you cannot import a capsule filling machine without a CE marking to the European Union Market. In fact, there are many countries outside the European Union that do not allow machine without the CE marking.
In short, you should buy only automatic capsule machines with CE marking.
In addition to this, the fully automatic capsule filling machine must be cGMP compliant.
An encapsulation machine that conforms to the Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) standards must be designed and fabricated as per the regulations set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA.)
In most cases, you will see this mark on the machine:
The cGMP Compliant
Ideally, the cGMP compliance ensures that all automatic capsule filling machine manufacturers adhere to high production standards. This should range from machine’s design, testing to fabrication.
Such encapsulation machines are:
- Easy to clean and maintain hence high level of hygiene
- Have better dust handling properties
- Made from stainless steel
- Sealing and other material should be FDA compliant
Moreover, you should be able to verify the capsule filling machine’s compliance. To learn more about this, here is an article about: Why you Need cGMP and GMP Compliance for Automatic Capsule Machines.
But, this is not all you should know about quality validation of fully automatic capsule filling machines. There are certain documents you must consider as you do business with any capsule filling machine manufacturer.
9.2 List of Vital Documents for Capsule Filling Machine
Documents play a significant role whenever you want to import fully automatic capsule filling machines. There are many documents that will not only ensure you get the right capsule filling machine, but also for future reference.
Let’s have a quick look at key documents you must have:
9.2.1 Capsule Filling Machine User Requirement Specifications (URS)
It is this document that will highlight all your needs and requirements. Normally, it forms the basis on which the capsule filling manufacturer will give an accurate quotation of the machine.
Therefore, based on the information you have learnt in this guide, I hope you can come up with a good URS. Coming up with a good URS requires your input, machine manufacturer and quality assurance team.
Normally the structure of the URS will depend on the circumstances at hand.
Let me take you through a quick format of a fully automatic capsule filling machine user requirement specification:
This is where you will introduce the types of automatic capsule filling machine you intend to import.
· An Overview of the Capsule Filling Machine
At this stage, you can state:
- What you want to use the encapsulating machine for
- Expected production capacity and accuracy
- Space available
- Cleaning and maintenance requirements
- Any special features
· Operation Requirements for the Automatic Capsule Filling Machine
Here, your main focus will be on technical specifications, operational requirements, control system, power consumption, safety, environmental conditions etc.
In addition to these, you should include abbreviations where necessary alongside other factors that you feel will give a clear description of your machine.
I know this may seem so difficult a task more so if you are importing this capsule filling machine for the first time. Don’t worry the capsule filling manufacturers have technical team who will help you to go through it.
Alternatively, your procurement department alongside technicians and engineers will prepare this document for you.
This is a vital aspect in ensuring you get high quality equipment.
Apart from the URS, other documents include:
9.2.2 Automatic Capsule Filling Machine User Manual/Brochure
A good automatic capsule filling machine manufacturer will avail a hard and soft copy of the user manual. Normally, the soft copies of the automatic capsule filling machine PDFs are available on the company’s download section.
The information in the manual is not limited to the following:
- Parts of the capsule filling machine
- Installation procedure
- Maintenance and troubleshooting process
- User machine safety, etc.
Apart from these, another vital document you need is the:
9.2.3 Automatic Capsule Filling Machine FAT, IQ and OQ Documents
Basically, these are critical validation and qualification procedures for the fully automatic capsule filling machine.
Don’t worry; I will explain what they mean:
Factory Acceptance Test (FAT); this procedure is executed at the capsule filling machine vendor. Closely related to this is the Site Acceptance Test (SAT) which is done at the client’s site.
Through FAT and SAT it is easier to verify the operation and safety of the fully automatic capsule filling machine.
Installation Qualification (IQ); here, you will verify the physical installation of all parts of the automatic capsule filler. The final tests must be documented for future reference.
Operational Qualification (OQ); this is a confirmation that the automatic encapsulation machine can produce capsules to the specified standards.
Here is a summary of these automatic capsule filling machine validation procedure documents:
Photo credits: Validation Online
The last document you must have is the:
9.2.4 Technical and Commercial Agreement
A technical and commercial agreement is an essential document when buying a fully automatic capsule filling machine. Normally, this document aims to establish the condition of the encapsulation machine supply, installation and startups.
Ensure you read through every aspect of this document and sign appropriately.
At times, you may opt for a non-disclosure agreement. This will depend on the circumstances under which you’re buying the automatic capsule filling machine.
Once you have all the necessary documents, it’s now time to evaluate the capsule filling machine prices.
Automatic Capsule Filling Machine Price: Important Factors that Affect the Capsule Filling Machine Cost
Generally, the automatic capsule filling machine price may vary broadly depending on a range of factors. So in this section, I am going to list a number of factors that may affect the cost of automatic capsule filling machine.
Therefore, even as you inquire from the manufacturer about the automatic capsule filling machine price, it is important to pay attention to:
· Model of the Automatic Capsule Filling Machine
This is the one of the main factors that will determine the price of automatic capsule filling machine. Normally, we define machine model by evaluating:
- Key features
- Production capacity
- Working principle
- Parts and components
- Dimensions, etc.
In short, all factors that I have mentioned in this guide will definitely affect the cost of automatic capsule filling machine. By altering one aspect, say from dosator to tamping pin mechanism, the price will obviously change.
Ability to Verify Quality of an Encapsulation Machine
The price of automatic capsule filling machine will also depend on whether the machine is high quality or not. In most cases, high quality automatic encapsulation machines are more expensive than substandard designs.
It is for this reason that I want you to pay attention to every quality and validation process in section 9.0.
Reputation of Capsule Filling Machine Manufacturer
The reputation of the manufacturer plays a key role when it comes to the cost of automatic capsule filling machine.
For a fact, consumers are always willing to pay more for capsule filling machines from trusted and reputable manufacturers.
Other critical aspects that also affect the automatic capsule filling machine price are the condition of the machine and market situations. You may analyze the economic situations in terms of demand and supply of either equipment or capsules.
Remember, the actual cost of an encapsulation machine will be based on the User Requirement Specifications (URS).
At this point, you are now free to go out there to look for a fully automatic capsule filling machine. But before you do that, here is something you should remember:
Ask for Full Technical Support from Automatic Capsule Machine from Your Manufacturer
This is a critical aspect that you must not forget at all cost. First, you will need to install the machine and may be at some point in the future, you may need either to upgrade or maintain the machine.
It is for these reasons that your manufacturer should provide full technical support. Take for instance, in these two situations:
- Installing and commissioning of capsule filling machine
If possible, the automatic capsule filling machine manufacturer should send their team to install and test the machine. It is from this that they can fill crucial documents in section 9.0.
This is even crucial for very large capsule filling machines where you have to assemble most parts on-site.
- Repair, maintenance and troubleshooting automatic encapsulation machine
In most cases, the capsule filling machine manufacturers will train technicians who can operate the machine. These technicians can do simple repair and maintenance procedures.
Apart from this, troubleshooting automatic capsule filling machine is also easier with the technical manual. Normally, they do indicate simple troubleshooting procedures.
Even with all these, do not forget to find out how easily you can access their technical support. Here you have two options – whether they travel from the main factory or there is a local representative.
The truth is:
Once you understand every section of this capsule filling machine importing guide, you can go ahead to buy the machine.
From this guide, it is quite clear that you can choose from either hard gelatin or soft gelatin capsule filling machine. Still, with the hard gelatin capsule filling machine, you have to choose from either dosator or tamping pin.
More importantly, do not take anything for granted – ask the capsule filling machine manufacturer all possible questions and carefully fill the URS. It is the only sure way to get the right encapsulation machine.
Now it’s your turn:
Do you still find it difficult to import a high quality, fully automatic capsule filling machine?
Feel free to contact us for free consultation.
- Softgel Manufacturing Process – Source: Google Patents
- Softgel Manufacturing Line – Source: SaintyCo
- Modelling of Dosator Filling and Discharge– By Angulo Pinzon
- Types and Sizes of Capsules – By Ankur Choudhary
- Modern Pharmaceutics (4TH Edition) – by Banker G., Juergen S. and Christopher R
- Capsule Filling Machines – Source: SaintyCo
- Manufacturing of Low Fill Weight Capsules Using a Nozzle Dosator Capsule Filling Machine – Source: The Global Home of Chemical Engineers.
- Tamping Pin vs. Dosator Capsule Filling Process – Source: SaintyCo
- The Instrumentation of Capsule-filling Machinery (Tamping Pin) – By N. Anthony Armstrong