Are you operating a small pharmaceutical company? Or, do you plan to produce a few capsules for clinical trial/samples?
Before you invest in an automatic capsule filler for high production, you need to try a manual capsule filler.
In this simple guide, I will teach you how to fill capsules using a manual capsule filling machine. This is a simple process – you don’t need any training as long as you have the right encapsulating machine.
But first, here is a snapshot of what you will learn in this simple guide:
I am sure by the end of this guide, you should be able to fill and join capsules successfully.
Factors to Consider When Buying Manual Capsule Filling Machine
There are many capsule filling machines available in the market. However, not all manual encapsulators meet the required safety standards.
Here are the key features of a good manual capsule filler machine:
• Buy manual capsule filling machines made from acrylic material
Both sections of the capsule filling equipment should be acrylic material. This is because the acrylic material is strong, transparent, impact resistant and shatterproof.
• It should be easy to assemble and disassemble
This makes dismantling and cleaning process easy and simple. Such manual capsule filling machines have removable screws and pins.
Still, it should have few screws and holes. Many holes and screws will make the cleaning process cumbersome since they may hide powder residue.
• Guarantees hygiene and cGMP compliance
All screws and pins are 304 stainless steel, besides, the entire cover is acrylic sheet.
This makes the manual encapsulating machine hygienic as per the cGMP standards.
• Encapsulating machines should prevent powder loss and increase accuracy
The manual capsule filler should have features such as U-design powder guard, which prevents powder loss.
Moreover, polished angles and one-layer design will prevent bleeding.
• Maximum production output
Production output may vary depending on the size and type of manual capsule filling machine. Remember, the production speed is rated as the number of capsules per time.
For instance, SaintyCo CN-240 manual capsule filler’s production capacity is 240 capsules/time, while SaintyCo CN-20 manual encapsulator has a production of 20 capsules/time.
With all these in mind, let’s now focus on how a manual capsule filling machine works.
How a Manual Capsule Filling Machine Works
You should follow these simple steps:
Step 1: Putting Capsule in the Manual Capsule Filler
Before you begin the encapsulation process, clean and dry the working area. This ensures it is free from debris.
Remember, this is where you will place the encapsulator’s cap sheet.
First, put the cap sheet on the flat surface and place a capsule filler sheet on it. Use the stainless steel screw to fix it in place.
Second, pour the right quantity of capsule tops on the encapsulation sheet. This number of capsule tops should be slightly more than the number of holes on the machine.
Tap and shake the capsule filling machine gently for the capsule tops to fit in the holes. You can cover the gap in the encapsulation sheet to prevent capsule tops from spilling.
Third, with all the holes filled, you can remove the excess tops. Now remove the encapsulation sheet then put the cap sheet with capsules aside.
Again, you will repeat the same procedure for the bottom sheet. That is:
- Take the bottom sheet and fix encapsulation sheet with screws.
- Pour the capsule bottom onto the encapsulation sheet.
- Shake as before and remove excess capsule bottoms.
- Remove the encapsulation sheet and put it aside.
In short, we can summarize this process in the image below:
Step 2: Fill the Capsule with Powder
It is now time to fill the capsule with powder or pellets.
So, what exactly should you do?
Scoop the right quantity of powder and pour on the bottom sheet of the manual encapsulation machine. You should spread the powder over the capsules to ensure the right amount fills every capsule.
At times, spreading the powder alone may not fill the bottoms as required. Therefore, you may need to use a tamping tool.
By doing this, you will compress the powder into the capsule bottoms.
This is exactly what you need to do:
- After filling the capsules for the first time, compress the content using a tamping tool.
- Remove the taping tool, add more powder and compress it again.
In short, you can summarize this process as show below:
With all these in place, you can proceed to the next and final stage of this process:
Stage 3: Cover the Capsules
You should place the middle sheet on the filled capsule sheet and secure it with the stainless steel screws/pins.
Carefully turn the cap sheet over then fix it to the bottom section.
With all these components in place, exert a sufficient amount of force evenly on the top of the manual capsule filling machine. This is, push it downwards.
Turn over the whole capsule filling machine then, apply a sufficient amount of force downwards. This will lock the capsules.
Now, you can dismantle the entire structure to remove your fully-filled and locked capsule filling machine. Here is a summary of this process:
As you can see, the working principle of manual capsule filling machine is simple and it should not take more than 20 minutes.
Now before we summarize this manual capsule filling guide, let us have a quick overview of the key advantages of capsule filling machine.
Advantages of Manual Capsule Filling Machines
Clearly, from above, I am sure you have noticed that manual encapsulating machines are:
- Simple in design
- Easy to operate
- Hygienic as material selection meets the cGMP requirements.
- Accurate and precise since it features reduce powder wastage
- Strong and durable due to proper selection of material
- Cost competitive, especially for low scale production
Apart from these, when you compare these machines to other options such as automatic or semi-automatic capsule fillers, you will realize that:
- Manual capsule filling machines are slow, especially when high production rate (over 40,000 capsule/hour) is a necessity.
- Capsule filling process is somehow laborious considering you have to do everything by yourself.
In short, you need to evaluate your production needs to choose the right encapsulating machine for a particular process.
The working principle of a manual capsule filler is simple. As you can see, it involves only three major steps that you can master easily without any rigorous training.
Again, there are many manual encapsulator machines available in the market with varying production capacities. However, for high scale production capacities, a semi-automatic or a fully automatic capsule filler is a perfect choice.