The pharmaceutical industry is an old one, so it has had much time to evolve and make full use of technology. One machine that is proving very beneficial in the industry is a fluid bed processor (FBP).
In this article, we’ll discuss what an FBP is and how it is used to manufacture solid dosage form medicines, like tablets. We’ll also go over its advantages and the factors that can affect its efficiency.
What Does a Fluid Bed Processor Do?
A fluid bed processor can make working with solid powder and granules easy. FBP mixes gasses with the said powdered solids to make them behave like a fluid. This improves the way they can be moved or mixed around while increasing their surface area to optimize processes like coating and drying.
The machine is often used in pharmaceutical industries for processes like drying, mixing, granulation, coating, etc. It speeds up processes and enhances the quality of procedures involved.
How Does a Fluid Bed Processor Work?
The FBP technology essentially works by pumping gas into the powdered or granulated solid that you load inside the machine. This results in the particles being suspended inside the gas, leading to a fluid-like state. You can adjust the temperature of the gasses required by your application; for example, drying the particles will require hot air. You can also control the time the particles will spend inside the chamber to allow for precise processing.
The Role of Fluidized Bed Processors in the Pharmaceutical Industry
You have to ensure you make medicinal products with precision and control their quality strictly as they are sensitive. From improper coatings to non-uniform particle size, all variable factors can affect the quality and effectiveness of medicines. So, machines like fluidized bed processors enable precision and uniformity without compromising on speed and cost-effectiveness.
FBPs are used in multiple processes that involve manufacturing pharmaceuticals, for example:
Products like tablets are made in the pharmaceutical industry through granulation. This process combines powders into the required solid form with the help of binders. The fluid bed processor technology plays an essential role in this process.
- Once you prepare your granulation mixture, you load it into the FBP.
- The machine fluidizes the mixture through a stream of air and makes particles collide with each other.
- Then, you spray a binder solution that causes the particles to begin agglomerating into larger clumps.
Once the process is complete, the resulting particle clumps are sieved, milled, maybe blended further, and compressed into the desired shapes.
It’s easy to see how the fluid bed processor lets you enhance granulation efficiency. It allows you to precisely control the temperature of the air and the spray rate so that your results are dried to the required degree and sprayed evenly.
Also note that fluidized powder has a greater surface area, which allows even uniform deposition of binder and particles. As a result, you get even, consistent, and reproducible results and similar quality. There’s hardly any wastage and no dust, as compared to alternatives.
FBPs increase the surface areas of materials by exposing individual powder particles to air. So, they make for efficient dryers.
If you have been using conventional drying processes, you’ll know it’s hard to make sure that heat is evenly spread throughout your product. This can risk overheating or incompletely dried batches due to difficulty in quality control.
Using fluid bed processor technology in the pharmaceutical industry makes drying very fast, efficient, and even. They suspend all the particles into heated air to wick off any moisture. The heat-transfer process becomes fast as the entire surface of each particle in your products becomes exposed to air. You can adjust the temperature of the gas per every product as well.
You often have to coat medicinal and chemical products with certain materials to improve their stability or modify their properties. The fluid bed processor technology can enhance this process to a great degree.
The FBP coating process makes use of a spray gun.
- Once you load your tablets or capsules into the machine, the machine fluidizes them by blowing compressed air into them. This makes them float within the gas.
- Then, the spray gun atomizes the coating solution by blowing it out of a small nozzle.
- The sprayed particles that enter the machine’s chamber collide with the existing substrate particles inside, slowly forming thin layers over them.
The air in the processor is often heated, causing the liquid particles to dry up into solid films over the substrate. Once the spray stops, you have to leave the products in their fluid state in heated air inside the FBP. This cures and dries them evenly.
You can control the thickness of layers by increasing the residence time of your product inside the chamber.
4. Reducing Particle Sizes
The component particle sizes of medicines play a huge part in their stability, ease of dissolving, and bioavailability. You’ll find FBPs used commonly for this purpose in the pharmaceutical industry.
The size reduction process with FBP utilizes a rotor attached to the bottom of the processor. As the fluid bed processor fluidizes the substrate, the solid particles become suspended and fly around. Now, as they come in contact with the blades rotating at high speed, they get chopped down into smaller particles.
You can adjust the grain size you obtain by controlling airflow, residence time, and rotor speed.
Mixing fluids is easier than powders. And a resulting fluid mixture has more evenly distributed components. For this reason, transforming solids into a fluid-like state with the help of a fluidized bed processor is extremely useful in pharmaceutical products that involve mixtures.
The mixing process in FBP is a simple and intuitive one. You simply load all the components into the FBP and wait for the airflow to distribute and mix them evenly. This results in a homogenous powder that has a low risk of segregation.
Factors Affecting the Efficiency of Fluidized Bed Technology in Solid Dosage Forms Manufacturing
Although the fluidized bed processor is an invaluable machine, it depends on many factors in order to produce solid dosage forms efficiently. Let’s discuss them.
1. Initial Size and Condition of Particles
If you load unevenly sized particles in the FBP, some of them may settle on its floor. Even if they begin flowing at your set air flow rate, they may not move a lot. This can affect the homogeneity of your results. It’s best that you use very small or evenly sized particles to make sure your results maintain consistency.
Similarly, if some of your batches become contaminated before it enters the FBP, for example, with water, it will affect the efficiency of the FBP.
2. The Operator’s Skill
Many processes require precise manual input in order to work efficiently. Your operator must be skilled in handling materials, setting parameters according to batch sizes, and identifying problems on time to use an FBP correctly.
3. The Machine’s Design
You need a high-quality fluid bed processor to ensure you can make full use of its features and advantages in the pharmaceutical industry. The processor’s size, gas nozzle placements, and filter bag locations are some factors that affect the FBP’s efficiency. It’s in your best interest to purchase from a well-reputed manufacturer.
Advantages of Using a Fluid Bed Processor Technology in the Pharmaceutical Industry
Given the use cases we saw above, it’s easy to see why the fluidizer is so useful in the pharmaceutical industry. Here are some of the main benefits of using FBP in the industry.
1. Versatile Applications
As we discussed, FBP technology can be used in many ways in the pharmaceutical industry. You can use FBPs with attachments like a sprayer or rotor for diverse uses. This makes the machine cost and space-effective – instead of buying multiple machines, one fluid bed processor can get the job done.
2. Enhanced Control Over Processes and Quality
The fluid bed processor technology allows you to control multiple variables, like temperature, humidity, airflow, etc., precisely. This finer control enables you to manufacture sensitive pharmaceutical products with enhanced accuracy.
Additionally, as you eliminate uncertainty and randomness, you can ensure you are producing medicines of consistent quality.
3. Reduced Costs
A fluid bed processor cuts down your costs in many ways:
- As the products are uniform, there is minimal wastage.
- Instead of training multiple personnel to use different machines, you can train a few to use FBP and get diverse jobs done.
- You don’t have to purchase multiple machines for each step in the production process.
- FBP does not consume much energy, decreasing your energy bills
4. Time Reduction
The fluid bed processor technology will let you conclude your manufacturing processes quickly without compromising on quality. In contrast, conventional processes, like drying, can take days. This is critical in today’s highly competitive markets and can enable you to meet growing demands.
As evident from the processes we discussed in the previous section, fluid bed processor technology gets every job done efficiently. For instance, drying with the FBP produces quick and reliable results, coating with the FBP produces even films, etc. This lets you produce better results in shorter time spans.
Fluid bed processors also let you scale your production up and down easily.
6. Environmental Friendliness
Fluid bed processors provide you with an environmentally friendly manufacturing option. This is because they do not involve extra chemicals or produce toxic by-products – the processes involved in an FBP are physical in nature.
Additionally, they do not require as much energy as compared to other processing techniques, further making them eco-friendly.
Fluid bed processors are incredibly versatile and efficient machines. If you own a pharmaceutical laboratory, these will prove to be invaluable additions that can boost your business. However, remember to train your workers appropriately before you introduce them to the machine. Only purchase your FBP from reliable machine manufacturers.
You can contact us if you need state-of-the-art fluid bed processing machines. We have a diverse variety, from mini FBP processors to multi-purpose machines. Check our collection now!