Like other machines, at some point, you’ll need to clean, maintain or troubleshoot an automatic encapsulation machine.
Depending on the complexity of the machine, this can be a tiresome process. It is even worse when you’re new to the automatic capsule filling technology.
In this simple guide, I will focus on two fundamental aspects:
- How to clean an automatic encapsulation machine
- Lubricating automatic capsule filler
But before I start on the three subjects, there are key aspects you need to remember.
1. Only trained and certified technicians can repair, adjust or open a capsule filler
Such individuals understand and know all the important parts of an automatic capsule filling machine. Also, they understand the working principle of these machines, be it a tamping pin or dosator encapsulators.
There are some sections of the machines that can only be adjusted by the manufacturer or their technicians. A good example is the cam system that drives pendulum bar on the encapsulating machine.
2. Read the user manual and machine specifications
All automatic capsule fillers come with a set of instructions (user manual/guide). You need to understand every aspect of this document before beginning any maintenance procedure.
This should be your guide during the entire process.
3. Machine operators/qualified technicians can clean or maintain the machine
Allowing unqualified personnel to clean the machine may either damage the machine or fail to follow the approved procedures. This will make your warranty invalid.
With all these in mind, let’s begin our maintenance process.
How to Clean an Automatic Encapsulation Machine
Cleaning an encapsulation machine is an important procedure and a requirement as stipulated in the cGMP/GMP regulations .
NOTE:Never conduct any maintenance or cleaning process when the machine is connected to the electric power supply – SWITCH OFF the automatic encapsulation machine.
To accomplish this, you need to follow these simple processes:
Capsule filler manufacturers recommend that you should clean the machine at regular intervals. This includes after a long operation, when changing the fill material (different type of powder or pellets) or after it has been in an unused state for a long time.
This is a general cleaning procedure that should include cleaning the outer surface of the automatic encapsulation machine and all parts that get in contact with the powder.
After every 500 hours, you need to clean the greasy stains. To accomplish this, you need to inspect the mechanical driving sections of the machine.
You should check if there is any possibility of wear and tear. Again, you must use only those lubricants that the encapsulating machine manufacturer recommends.
Automatic encapsulation machines use a vacuum system for a wide range of operation. For example, the inefficient vacuum separator will compromise the performance and reliability of the machine.
Therefore, you must clean the vacuum system of the automatic encapsulation machine after every 200 hours.
By following these simple steps, I am sure your encapsulating machine will remain clean and minimize downtime.
Apart from the cleaning process, lubrication is an essential process in any electromechanical device. As you can see from the video below, this machine has quite a number of moving components:
Let’s now focus on:
How to Lubricate an Automatic Encapsulation Machine
These encapsulators have automated lubrication systems. Below is a section of the lubrication systems of an automatic capsule filling machine.
To lubricate an automatic encapsulation machine, you need to follow these simple processes:
- Use a lithium base grease to coat the working surface of the cam. You should do this after every 50 hours of operation.
- Use machine oil to lubricate capsule filler’s joint bearings of the connecting rod, roller bearing and sliding bearing. Do this after every 50 hours of operation.
- Lubricate and tighten the driving chain with lithium base grease after every 50 hours of operation.
- Always check the level of the oil volume after every 250 hours of operation. Always remember to fill oil in time.
- Consider replacing the lubrication oil after 3000 hours of operation.
NOTE: It is advisable to use the same brand of oil that the capsule filler manufacturer recommends. This is because they do evaluate all the critical parameters of oil such as viscosity.
Furthermore, the manufacturer may also recommend specific lubricants for various models.
- Ensure the oil volume for the powder-feeding reducer remains at the recommended level. Check the oil level after 250 hours and replace it after 1000 hours of operation.
- Replace the lubrication oil for index boxes after 1000 hours of operation (for initial operation) after which, you can replace it after 3000 hours of operation.
- Lubricate the T-type shafts, moving points in guide brass sleeve, sliding bearing, roller bearing and line bearing in the revolving plate of revolving platform. You need to do this after 50 hours of operation.
Remember to uninstall the sealing ring and T-type shaft for cleaning 1000 hours of operation. You should check for wear and tear too.
As you can see, cleaning and greasing automatic encapsulation machine are a laborious processes. It requires a solid understanding of the key components of capsule filling machine.
This is why I recommended training individuals to handle the process. Again, you need to follow all instructions in your user manual.