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Pharma companies planning an oral solid dose production facility are challenged by different options for the layout. Richard Lockwood, Pharmaceutical Business Line Director, Matcon, explains the considerations for a materials handling area All too often the design of pharmaceutical oral solid dose (OSD) production facilities fails to recognise the impact on, and the opportunities for, materials handling. Understanding the range of different options for materials handling and the relationship between materials handling and facility design can help pharma companies to plan. This article focuses on the benefits and challenges in each case. Whereas the production processes themselves are easy to define and understand (i.e. it is a straightforward task to design a room that fits a tablet press, even if the specific type of machine is undefined) there are many ways to feed to and from each process. In the case of a tablet press, the powders or granules can be tipped by hand or vacuum conveyed into the inlet of the machine, so a low height ceiling is acceptable. Alternatively, drums or intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) can be used to feed the tablet press by gravity. In this case, however, a taller room height would be a requirement to accommodate the system. A further option is to feed product from a mezzanine level or through-floor from a materials handling floor above. In this case, the height of the compression room can be minimised, but a second production floor level needs to be considered in the facility design. At the output of the compression process, there are more decisions to be made: tablets can be received into small tubs, boxes or drums or collected in larger IBCs within the room, transferred through a wall for collection in an adjacent area, or fed through-floor for collection below. It may also […]
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