CASE STUDY: Rotocrusher installed downstream of a bin to break the lumps formed during transport, without altering the characteristics of the pharmaceutical granulate, to support the alimentation and to improve the performance of the tablet press machine.
Starting critical situation of the customer
The case of a multinational company with a branch in Rio de Janeiro, specialized in research, production and marketing of medications and operating in more than 130 countries in the world.
The case: the client contacted us for a solution that would allow to improve the alimentation of their system and consequently the performance of the tablet press machine: the transport and transfer of a granulated product inside a bin forms lumps which, although friable, make the work of the underlying tablet press machine more difficult and require human intervention.
The system provides for the discharge of a granular pharmaceutical preparation from a 2000 liters bin, with butterfly valve DN250, and positioned on an raised floor, to a filtering hopper and from here directly with a 6” tube to a tablet press placed on the ground floor.
Problem: the pharmaceutical product is a granulate with homogeneous granulometry which however tends to form some very friable lumps with rounded and irregular shape of Ø 20-25 mm, max. Ø 35 mm during the transport phase inside a bin. The pression created form the weight of the product itself favors the generation of these small crumbly lumps that compromise the quality of the finished product (tablet) aside from the productivity of the machine. Once inside the filtering hopper, the product couldn’t flow and would accumulate on the grid because of the lumps. The operator’s intervention was therefore required, forcing him to climb on a ladder to manually undo the lumps and favor the passage of the product do the next step.
This operation required monitoring and physical intervention from an operator during the whole discharge phase.
Analysis method: A site inspection was made at the customer to verify the application and requirements. The technical feasibility was based on the concomitance of some customer needs and critical aspects present in the production site, such as:
- let the product flow by breaking the lumps but without altering the physical qualities of the granules.
- not modify the pre-existing system with additional steps not expected in the validation phase of the same.
- power up the system independently without resorting to the intervention of the operator
Solution: the installation of a lump-breaker is proposed, Rotocrusher DN150 model with two grids, in order to reduce the lumps to dimensions not exceeding 5 mm and make the alimentation regular. Rotocrusher is very compact, easy to disassemble, to facilitate maintenance and reduce cleaning times. It has finger guard and mechanic protection for the operator’s security. Rotocrusher is set in motion by brushless motor placed inside a stainless-steel protective case and can also be managed manually. Grid slots, blades and motor are specially designed to feed 560 kg of product ensuring the absence of lumps larger than 5 mm.
Conclusion: the use of the Rotocrusher allowed at the same time to:
- Improve the efficiency of the process
- Improve the quality of the finished product (tablets)
- Leave unaltered the system and therefore not affect the validation of the same. The Rotocrusher integrates into the system without adding further processing steps.
- Make the tablet press alimentation automatic
- Eliminate the operator’s intervention.
What the client says: thanks to the Rotocrusher the system is now autonomous, and productivity has increased. The tablet press has improved the quality of the tablets produced. The introduction of the Rotocrusher didn’t modify the physical characteristics of the granules and therefore the quality of our product. This is fundamental for our process in an area like ours, which requires strictness and compliance with high quality standards.
We gave Sterivalves’ reference to our colleagues at the the Mexico branch for a crushing project upstream of a mill.