If you’re looking for information of any kind on the Capsule Filling Machine, this the guide is for you.
It will take you through everything you need to know about Capsule Filling Machines.
Whatever it is that you’re looking for, you’ll find it here.
From the basics, working principles, selection, and specification, alongside every other relevant information regarding capsule fillers.
So read on.
Capsule Filling Machine Basics
I. What is Capsule Filling Machine?
Capsule Filling Machines, also known as capsule fillers, encapsulators, or encapsulating machines, were invented to ease the process of capsule filling.
To put it simply, a capsule filler is a kind of equipment used extensively for pharmaceutical/medical applications.
This equipment is specifically used to fill empty capsules with powder, pellets, tablets, granules or liquids.
The capsule filling process is known as encapsulation.
An encapsulator has a fast filling speed and very small size difference.
For these reasons, the capsule filler is widely used in pharmaceutical and Nutraceutical industries.
The machine is also popularly used in the hospital and other places.
Note that the Capsule Filling Machine can be split into three types; automatic capsule filler, semi-automatic capsule filler, and a manual capsule filler.
These three types of capsule fillers work using different mechanisms.
However, they all combine the filling of the capsule shell, the capsule cap finishing, and the capsule set.
The entire machine in this regard is usually compact and convenient.
It also has a minimal footprint and is thus suitable for mass capsule production.
Capsule fillers, please note, have the function of arranging and locking capsule.
Essentially, this helps to reduce the body and floor space.
Another thing, operation, and maintenance of these machines is straightforward.
They’re generally built for low power consumption, economical and practical applications.
The best part?
You can use the capsule filler (no matter the type) to produce different types of capsules.
With this machine, you can fill hundreds or thousands of capsules per minute depending on the type and model of your unit.
You are also able to produce different capsule sizes ranging from #000 to #5.
II. Why you need a Capsule Filling Machine
Generally, capsule filling machines are useful to three groups of people; pharmaceutical companies, local drug stores, and users of natural herbs and nutritional supplements.
This three category of applications require different types of capsule fillers.
Nonetheless, it is essential that you understand the benefits of this machine before you start looking for one.
The general advantage of encapsulators is that it allows users to fill different types of materials in different types of capsules (as seen on the image above).
But this is not all:
The machine has a wide range of applications that are both domestic and commercial.
And, for each of these applications, it comes in handy in several ways.
Of late, packing own capsules has become the trend in health circles.
Thanks to technology that has put the means of production in your hands by way of capsule filling.
For this reason, today, you can easily enjoy the benefits of custom supplements.
You don’t have to wait for your local store to stock them on their shelves.
Still not convinced?
Let me help you understand just why you should buy an encapsulating machine for domestic use.
Home filled capsules
· Saves Money
Making your capsules will save you money by avoiding high-priced capsules in the mainstream market.
I mean, just walk into any health food store and look at the prices they charge for supplements.
The sight is enough to make the hair on your neck stand up on its end.
See, the prices of products in these stores often include costs and markups passed on from manufacturers and distributors.
Luckily with an encapsulator of your own, you won’t need to grumble and reluctantly pay much more than you need.
All you’ll need to do is purchase empty capsules and fill them with the same ingredients that go into bottles.
Trust me, by doing this; you can realize the same results by just a fraction of the costs.
· Know What You’re Taking
Honestly, what we see on store-bought supplement product labels is usually not everything they include.
I know you often want to believe that a supplement provider is telling the truth about what’s included in their product.
However, the truth is that you can never really know for sure.
The good news?
Filling your own capsules helps to eliminate this doubt.
Here, you’re 100% sure about what’s going into your system.
Your own capsule filler allows you to put in all your supplement products in an efficient and timely manner.
This allows you to choose the supplements that you want to use to improve your health and diet.
Also, it allows you to select the dosage that you want as well as incorporate all the nutrients that you want.
So apart from saving you money, an encapsulator also provides you with the assurance that your supplements are genuine and fresh.
· Make Unique Capsules
A Capsule Filling Machine allows you to make capsules that are hard to find on the mainstream market.
You see, many supplements available in local health stores lack the ingredients that cutting edge treatments have.
Those in the forefront of many medical fields have pioneered life-changing blends that may not surface on a store shelf for many years.
By using the knowledge you learn and the right capsule filling Machine, you can create supplements for yourself that will change your life or maintain your health.
With this, you can combine ingredients to the proportions that you desire.
You won’t have to accept whatever mixture is available commercially.
You won’t need to use binders, excipients, preservatives, or additives.
These are some of the ingredients included in some brand capsules, and they are not all good for our health.
If you’re to avoid them, best get a capsule filler machine and enjoy capsules whose ingredient you’re sure are as fresh as possible.
There are many options for making your own capsules to suit your purpose which include;
- clear empty capsules
- white empty capsules
- size 0 capsules
- size 00 capsules
- size 1 capsules
- Gelatin and vegetable capsules for dietary or religious restrictions etc.
For pharmaceutical companies and other industrial applications, a capsule filler is beneficial in the following ways;
Capsules – Courtesy: EPM Magazine
· Enables Mass-production
Commercial grade capsule fillers allow for the mass-production of pills and supplements.
This helps to save both time and money.
The difference between the domestic fillers and the commercial ones is that the latter requires a lot of manpower and input.
For instance, you’ll need several people to operate the machine, check dosages, separate, load, fill the machine with substance, lock the capsules, and ensure that all of them are sealed correctly.
This is the only way to ensure proper and cost-efficient production.
Capsule filling machines allow pharmaceutical industries to recover the loss of material 85% to 90%, which helps to improve companies’ economic benefits.
Other benefits of the capsule filler in commercial applications include;
- The machine uses different capping technology that allows the production of different forms of formulations for commercial benefits
- It assists in the production of different forms of capsules that have nutritional and health benefits to users
- It enhances accuracy, precision, and consistency with very capsule produced
- Guarantees uniformity of ingredients mixture
It is important to note that capsule filling machines are not only used in companies, homes, and offices.
Rather, it is also used by small business owners who operate local health stores.
In this case, the capsule filler allows the store owners to provide customers with a bite-sized pill to swallow.
This offers a great alternative to having to swallow a whole bunch of individual supplements.
Dosing this way is easy and allows you to charge higher than for individual supplements.
Generally, an encapsulating machine has a wide range of benefits irrespective of the application.
It is a machine that guarantees a high level of precision, accuracy, flexibility, and production output.
As you’ll learn later in this guide, the machine also comes in a variety of types to suit individual applications.
So before getting to the types of capsule filler machines, lets us first have a look at its parts and components.
Capsule Filling Machine Parts (Parts Name & Function)
A Capsule Filling Machine is a mechanical unit comprising many different parts.
These parts, note, can be put into three categories; mechanical, hydraulic and/or electrical parts.
They can also be either stationary or moving.
Now, we know that capsule filling machines come in various types, including shapes and sizes.
Meaning, some machines may come with more parts than others.
And, that some of these parts are the same across all capsule filler machines while some are specific to a type and/or model.
Fortunately or unfortunately, we can’t discuss all of these parts here.
So for the scope of this guide, I’ll focus on the main parts name and functions of the different types of capsule fillers.
But before we get to that, here’s an image to show you the exact position of these parts.
Please note that this image is specific to the automatic encapsulator.
Although, most of these parts are similarly positioned across a majority of capsule fillers.
Parts of Softgel Encapsulation Machine
Parts of Semi Automatic Capsule Filling Machine – Photo courtesy: Alibaba
Parts of Fully Automatic Capsule Filling Machine
As you can see, the number of parts and design will depend on the model of the capsule filler machine.
· Material Hopper
The material/product/medicine hopper is a stainless steel container that holds the material you wish to encapsulate.
In the image above, the hopper is the topmost of the machine.
The upper part of the medicine pump labeled 1.
For some machines, it looks like this:
Usually, the design of the material hopper is such that it allows material to flow through easily into the pump.
So its design often varies with the manufacturer and model of the machine.
Mostly though, designers go for hopper shapes with slanting sides towards the pump, like a cone.
Another thing, encapsulated materials are meant for human consumption.
Meaning, there is always a need to prevent contamination of any form.
As such, you’ll find that most hoppers have a lid with handle to prevent any entry of foreign material.
· Material Pump
From our image above, the material pump is labeled as a medicine pump (1).
The function of the pump simply is to suck material from the hopper and force it into the injection wedge.
A good capsule filler will also have a return pipe to redirect excess material back to the hopper.
The positioning of the pump is also important in a capsule filler.
It should be like in the image above to allow for easy sucking of materials from the hopper.
· Injection Wedge
Although a bit is hidden, I believe you can spot the injection wedge in the above image.
Its location is just above the machine’s tooling system.
We’ve labeled it as part (2), have you seen it?
Now, the main function of the injection wedge is to heat the fill material to a suitable temperature.
It does this while injecting the fill material as it moves to the die cavity of the two rollers.
Pressure from the pumping system is what enables the material to flow through the wedge seamlessly.
Understand that the design of this part often varies, depending on the type of machine and model.
Injection wedge for automatic capsule fillers, for instance, may come with sensors to help coordinate motion.
Some also come with shut off vales while others can move up and down.
· Machine Body
The body is the most important part of a Capsule Filler as it determines the entire structure’s stability and durability.
It basically is the part that holds everything (parts and components) together.
Usually, the main structure of a Capsule Filling Machine is made of stainless steel.
Why stainless steel?
To guarantee stability, durability, and resistance to wear and tearing properties such as impact and corrosion.
Note that it is the body that protects all other internal components from damage and unauthorized access.
· Capsule Filling Mechanism
A capsule filling mechanism is responsible for processes of filling material into capsules.
It consists of a dosage filling device that delivers precise quantities of material into filling funnels.
The system also consists of a level sensor that allows it to release or cut the supply of more material during filling.
Note, a level sensor is only available for fully automatic machines.
Generally, the capsule filling system ensures accurate and precise encapsulation process.
It may feature one or more filling device depending on the type and model.
· Tooling System
The tooling system is the heart of a capsule filling machine.
It consists of two die rollers that rotate at a constant speed.
The system also consists of a filling machine disk as well as a turret.
Other than these, there is a turntable which prevents dust from getting into the mechanical parts of the machine.
Tooling system for Softgel encapsulation machine
Note that the turntable often depends on the index movement of the machine for precise rotation.
There is also a dosing and discharge system. These help to prevent any possible vortex when capsules leave the rolling system.
The dosing and discharge if one of the tooling system’s components that are easy to assemble and dismantle.
Now, the entire tooling system design also varies depending on the type of machine.
Design, in this regard, also tends to hinge on filling combination the machine uses.
Tooling system for powder capsule filling machine
Filling combination, please note, refers to the type of material filed.
It could be powder, pellets, pellets and powder, tablets, or granules.
Refer to Figure (1) above to understand the different types of filling materials.
· Lubricating System
Fully automatic and semi-automatic capsule fillers often have several moving parts.
Meaning, you have to ensure strict maintenance to avoid wear and tear.
Lubrication is a critical part of this maintenance.
It will help reduce damage as well as ensure clean ejection.
Keep in mind that the lubricating system tends to automatically lubricate tamping and dosing discs to ensure efficient plug ejection.
Section of lubricating system
This helps to reduce friction in sliding components, thus ensuring smooth operation.
In most auto and semi-auto capsule fillers, a thin layer of oil lubricates the ribbon both during sealing and filling processes.
Advanced models even come with fine filters.
Popular lubricants that you can use include digestible mineral oil.
Fractioned coconut oil, magnesium stearate, and miglyol 812 oil.
If you want your automatic or semi-automatic encapsulator to last longer, opt for one with a centralized lubrication system.
· Vacuum System
Regardless of the type and model of your auto or semi-automatic capsule filling machine, a vacuum system is vital.
First, the vacuum loader connects the capsule loading device to the capsule hopper and material loading port to the material hopper.
Second, the vacuum system separates the empty capsule to avoid damage.
Advanced automatic machines come with a self-cleaning station.
This cleans up the machine in each cycle.
Moreover, some models pick up products using a vacuum system mechanism.
Simply put, a vacuum system is integral in the working process of an automatic and semi-automatic capsule filling machine.
· Control System
Automatic capsule fillers, as well as some models of semi-automatic capsule fillers, use PLC system to control operations.
Usually, SIEMENS PCL is used to ensure reliable machine operation.
Also, these machines come fully installed with a super friendly human-machine interface (HMI) in the form of a touch screen.
The PLC and touchscreen together all form part of the control system of these capsule filling machines.
Other control elements that you should know include;
- Micro-electric current control that protects the machine from overload.
- Emergency stop and vacuum gauges for capsule separation.
- Intelligence mold control
The above is, however more common in fully automatic capsule filling machines.
Remember, you don’t need to get a fully automated system if you don’t want to, this feature is optional.
You can opt for a semi-automatic machine with the exemption of the fully automated control panel.
Of parts names and functions, this is all you need to know regarding automatic and semi-automatic capsule fillers.
The parts above do not include those of manual fillers.
For manual fillers, you should expect to interact with the following parts;
- tamping tool
- rubber feet
- handle for tamping tool
- powder guard
- encapsulation plate
- body plate
- middle sheet
- cap plate
Manual capsule fillers are often quite simple and easy to operate.
This is why you don’t see them having many and complex parts and components.
Manual Capsule filling machine – Photo courtesy: Mohammed
You will learn more about the different types of capsule fillers shortly.
For now, there is something I want you to note: the parts of capsule filler machines vary.
Considering this, always review your capsule filler technical manual or user specification guide.
This will help familiarize you with all the parts of your machine and their functions.
The knowledge can help you beat the challenges and confusions that come with assembling, operating, and even troubleshooting encapsulators.
Now you know Capsule Filling Machine parts name and functions.
It’s time to find out how these parts coordinate to produce fine capsules.
So let’s move on to the section that has this information.
Types of Capsule Encapsulation Machine
There are various types of Capsule filling machines.
Getting familiar with these various types can help you make a logical and cost-effective selection of a machine for your capsule filling operations.
Keep in mind that in most instances, several different types may provide similar performance at the same cost.
You should also note that not all types are suitable for one application.
Different applications and user requirements require different types and models for capsule filling machines.
That said, here are the various types of capsule fillers, their advantages, disadvantages, and working principles.
1. Manual Capsule Filling Machine
Manual capsule filling machines are hand operated and require no power.
They are ideal for small scale production, laboratory use, or applications where an external power source is not available or unreliable.
Manual capsule fillers are suitable for filling a range of materials into different types and sizes of capsules.
You can use this machine to encapsulate your health supplements or natural herbs that you find hard to ingest.
Also, for those in the pharmaceutical industry, you can use this machine for clinical trial applications and other small scale laboratory use.
As I’ve said, this machine can be used to fill different materials ranging from powder, pellets, tablets, granules, etc.
It can also fill capsule sizes 0# to #5at production speeds ranging from tens to hundreds of capsules per hour.
Manual capsule filling machine
Advantages of Manual Capsule Filling Machine
The key benefits of manual capsule filling machines are;
The biggest advantage of a manual capsule filler is simplicity; it is not difficult to operate.
Its design is such that it makes it easy to assemble, disassemble, run, and even troubleshoot.
- Maximum Output
Manual capsule fillers are designed to produce maximum output with a minimal amount of manual effort.
- Low Costs
Compared to other types of capsule filling machines, manual models involve lower capital investment.
They are generally cheaper initially; you don’t need to worry about a large investment.
Also, they save lots of money on equipment, technology, and maintenance.
Manual encapsulators provide a high degree of verifiable accuracy due to the involvement of human input.
The compact size of these type of capsule fillers makes them easy to move around.
Due to their compact size, the machines can also be set up easily in work sites.
Disadvantages of Hand Operated Capsule Filling Machine
We know everything that has an advantage has a disadvantage; in this case, they are quite a number.
Manual capsule filling machine parts
Firstly, manual capsule fillers provide the risk of physical injury since they are hand-operated.
Secondly, there is an increase in labor.
You will need more people to produce capsules using a manual machine than you would when using a fully or partially automated machine.
Thirdly, hand-operated Capsule Filling Machine tends to leave more room for human error.
This is especially in applications with small inventory levels.
Fourthly, you run the risk of decreasing productivity when using a manual encapsulator than any other type.
And last but not least, manual capsule filling machines sometimes can be tedious and time-consuming.
If you need faster production levels, there are better machine options than a manual capsule filler.
You can, for instance, go for a customized semi-automatic one.
But that is a story for another section. For now, let us learn how a manual capsule filler works.
Working Principle of Manual Capsule Filler Machine
As I’ve said, a key advantage of the manual capsule filler machine is its ease of operation.
You don’t need any prior experience or expertise to operate these types of machines.
Now, there are various types of manual capsule filling machines which vary in model, size, and shape.
Majorly, however, there are two types based on the operating principle.
The first type is a filler that consists only of the capsule plates.
No mechanical parts or anything.
With this, you do everything with your hands, the old-fashioned way.
This is how you use it to make capsules.
Step 1: Put Capsules in the Manual Capsule Filler
On a clean working area, begin by first putting the cap sheet on the flat surface.
Next, take out the encapsulation plate and place it on top of the cap plate.
Secure these using the provided screw.
Now take the encapsulating plate and put it on top of the encapsulating plate.
Then, take out as much capsule tops and pour them on the sorting plate.
Gently shake the machine to allow the capsule tops to settle into the encapsulating plate holes.
Now remove any excess capsule tops from the machine.
Also, take out the cap plate and check if it is filled enough.
If not, use the tamping plate.
You’ve filled the machine with capsule tops; now it’s time to fill the capsule bottoms.
To do this, take the solid plate and place it on top of the encapsulation plate.
Next, pour your capsule bottoms over the solid plate and shake the entire plate combination.
This will fit the bottoms into the holes on the encapsulation plate.
Now, remove any excess bottoms and check for any unfilled holes.
If there are, just fill them by hand.
When done, remove the encapsulation sheet and put it aside, then move to the next step.
Step 2: Fill the Capsule with the Material
This is the stage where you now fill your capsules with the material of choice.
It could be powder, pellets, pellets and powder, granules, tablets, etc.
How do you fill the capsules with the material?
Take the right amount of material and pour on the bottom sheet of your manual encapsulation machine.
Now spread the material over the capsule, making sure that each is filled with the right material quantity.
Note that spreading material doesn’t always fill the capsules as needed.
You may, therefore, need to use a tamping tool to ensure proper filling.
How do I mean?
Okay, we need to compress the powder into the capsule bottoms.
So what you need to do is to take out the tamping tool and use it compresses the material into the capsules.
Remove the tamping tool, add more powder and compress again until you achieve the desired quantity of filling.
Step 3: Cover the Capsules
Here, simply take out the filled cap plate and place the middle plate on top.
Note the bigger hole diameter of the middle plate faces to cap plate.
Secure the sheets using the provided screws/pins.
Now, carefully turn the cap sheet over and then attach it to the bottom section.
Next, place both hands on the top and push downwards with equal pressure.
Make sure the caps and bottoms are matched together before you press down directly.
Forcefully pressing down the manual Capsule Filling Machine should lock the capsules.
And once you’re certain all capsules have been appropriately locked, dismantle the entire structure to remove your fully formed capsules.
Now the second type of manual capsule filler is the advanced one.
This is the type that comes with several mechanical parts to ease your operation.
Like the first one, this one is not hard to use.
Its process of encapsulation is as simple as the first, and it also takes very little time to finish.
You, however, need to master the parts of this machine to be able to operate it properly.
Luckily, all the details about its parts should be in the technical manual that it comes with.
So if you happen to buy a modern manual capsule filler, here’s how you’ll need to operate it.
Operation Procedure for an Advanced Manual Capsule Filler
Advanced manual capsule filling machine
Step 1: place empty capsules onto the loading tray and place the tray onto the machine.
Check the front knob if it’s turned to the right.
Step 2: pull the locking lever forward. Push down long handle which will lift the caps off all the capsule bodies.
Once this is done, take out the tray containing all the caps and set aside.
Step 3: push the locking lever back, by which capsule bottoms will drop down and become level with filling surface.
You can place the powder tray on filler to powder spillage.
Step 4: now pour and spread the pre-measured powder. Move extra powder onto powder trays shelf.
Lower tamper and lock.
After locking, turn the machine’s handle to compress the powder.
This will allow you to fill more in capsules.
To check if the capsules are rightly filled, raise the tamper and spread extra powder from the shelf into capsules.
Why use the extra powder from the shelf?
Well, to ensure uniform fill weights.
I am sure you don’t need to overdose or underdose some capsules.
Step 5: after filling the capsules uniformly, return the tray containing caps to filler.
Now turn the front knob to the left and lower locking plate.
Engage the lock for locking plate then hold tamper handle and push down on the long handle.
The bottom of the capsules will be pushed up into caps to lock them all up.
Step 6: at this point, you can now disengage the lock for locking plate by simply lifting it and turning the front knob to the right.
Next, push down the long handle and remove the tray with filled and locked capsules.
Now turn the tray to release all the capsules.
And you’re done!
This is not any harder than the first process.
The only difference is that with the second machine, you get a little help.
As I said earlier, with this, you’re not doing everything the ‘old fashioned’ way.
Also, I’ve said that manual capsule fillers are available in various types, shapes, and sizes.
I forgot to mention that they are available with varying production capacities.
As such, you have to evaluate your needs first and choose a manual encapsulator that is suitable for those needs.
Clearly, you can see the working principle of manual capsule filler machine is quite straight forward.
If you find that a manual machine is not what you need, you can consider a fully automatic one.
2. Fully Automatic Capsule Filling Machine
A fully automatic capsule filling is an electromechanical encapsulation system designed for high-speed applications.
They often include conveyors and electro/pneumatic PLC controls.
Like every other type of capsule fillers, fully automatic capsule filling machines are available in different types.
The design and configuration of each type of automatic capsule filler depend on two main elements: the type of capsules and material it is meant to fill.
Either way, the design is usually very different.
Designs of capsule automatic filling machine
So what does this mean?
This means that when selecting a fully automated capsule filler for your application, you need first to be clear on its purpose.
That is, what type of capsules you intend to fill and with what material?
Once you’re clear on this, choosing the right type of fully automated capsule filler shouldn’t be a problem.
And lucky for you, I’ve prepared slightly below this a section about the types of fully automatic capsule fillers.
I know it will be useful to you.
But before we get there, let us consider some of the advantages and disadvantages of fully automatic capsule fillers.
We’ll also look at the working principle of this category of capsule fillers before we get to discuss its types.
So read on.
Advantages of Fully Automatic Capsule Filling Machine
Investing in a fully automatic capsule filler creates several different benefits for any user and application.
Below are some of the most common benefits associated with using fully automatic capsule filling machines.
· Higher Production Speeds
First and foremost, automatic Capsule Filling Machines allow users to produce more than could be produced by manual encapsulation.
From powders to pellets, automatic capsule fillers allow multiple capsules to be filled with each cycle.
With several automated rollers, the system can reach speeds of up to 90,000 capsules per hour, allowing millions of capsules to be filled each day.
· Reliability & Consistency
Hand filling capsules can lead to variance in the amount of fill material in each capsule.
While certain measuring devices and techniques may help to lower such variances, using such devices will also add time to the process.
In addition to speed, fully automatic capsule filling machines will allow for a repeatable, reliable, and consistent fill with each cycle.
That is whether the fill is based on a level, volume, weight, or another measurement.
Fully automatic encapsulators are not always built for one single application.
Automatic capsule fillers can be set up to handle a range of fill materials as well as capsule types and sizes.
Also, many machines can handle multiple products, with some able to fill two or more different types of fill material.
For companies that produce multiple types of capsules, the versatility of automatic capsule fillers maybe your biggest benefit of all.
· Simple Controls/Lower Operator Interaction
Although fully automatic capsule fillers may seem to entail lengthy set up at first glance, nothing could be farther from the truth.
Once in operation, the filling machine will often require simple adjustments here and there.
But crucial settings such as fill times, indexing times, pump speeds, and more will be set on a centrally located, touchscreen interface.
And once settings are entered for a capsule, operators only need a recall ‘recipe’ from the PLC and all times will be recalled.
· Upgradable Machinery
Finally, fully automatic capsule filling machines can grow with you, whether it’s is a company or small business.
These machines may come with preset fill limits.
But as your production needs increase, you can always adjust the limit to suit your current need.
Still, on limits, different machines may have different limits.
The top speed, in this case, will depend on factors such as capsule size, shape, and the material being filled.
Other advantages include;
- Efficient use of materials
- Improved safety
- Reduced factory lead-times
- Better capsule quality
Disadvantages of Fully Automatic Encapsulating Machine
The main disadvantage of fully automatic capsule filling machines is the high capital expenditure required for the initial investment.
See, automation is expensive.
You’ll need thousands of dollars to design, fabricate, and finally install automated equipment like the capsule filler.
Fully automatic capsule filling machine
That is not where it ends.
After installation, the equipment will require a higher level of maintenance compared to manually operated capsule fillers.
In addition to high investment and maintenance costs, fully automated machines also provide a lower degree of flexibility.
This flexibility is in terms of possible products as compared with a manual system.
Even flexible automated capsule fillers are less flexible than humans, the most versatile machines of all.
Another disadvantage of fully automated capsule fillers is a risk inherent to any device-it can fail.
No device is foolproof, and care must be taken to maintain charged batteries, protect equipment, and properly program the machine.
While extra training may be needed, manufacturers generally make every effort to provide user-friendly products.
These are also backed by capable technical support.
So despite the cons fully automatic capsule fillers if used wisely and effectively, can yield substantial benefits for your business.
There is an opportunity to speed up production, increase output, improve quality, and use materials efficiently.
You also get to improve overall operational safety.
Types of Automatic Capsule Filling Machine
As promised, this is where you learn about the types of fully automatic capsule filling machines.
And as I had mentioned, there are various types of these systems.
Each type is designed to cater to unique needs.
Actually, fully automatic capsule filling machines can be categorized into four types: Dosator type, tamping pin, Softgel, and hard-gel capsule fillers.
Of course, the main aim of every capsule filler is the same.
But the way they work or the technology they’re based on plays a crucial role in the final output.
Let’s have an in-depth look at these different types of fully automatic capsule filling machines:
Soft-gelatin Capsule Filling Machine
Soft-gel type of encapsulator is a machine capable of producing soft gel capsules that are filled with total precision and accuracy.
Models of this machine range from lab scale to the highly advanced commercial-grade soft-gel machine.
The suitable machine for you, in this case, will highly depend on your needs.
Note also that unlike hard-gel capsule fillers whose types we’ll get to know shortly in this section, soft gel capsule fillers are all fully automatic.
Softgel Encapsulation Machine
It is hard to find any of these in semi-automatic models.
Meaning, if you intend to achieve high levels of quality, precisions, and accuracy, you’ll need to get a unit with the latest technology.
Mostly, the PLC is the most important technology of soft-gel capsule filler.
So if your unit does not include one, then it’s high time you upgraded to newer technology.
As you do this, make sure that your unit meets all the set industry standards on quality, safety, and reliability.
So why should you opt for the soft-gelatin type of capsule filling and not any other type?
Find out below.
Advantages of Softgel Capsule Encapsulation Machine
There are so many reasons as to why you should adopt soft-gel capsule filling technology.
Some of these reasons include;
Complete Softgel encapsulation system
Produces easy to swallow capsules; No doubt, soft-gelatin capsule are very easy to swallow and once swallowed, they release their contents quickly.
So if you want to cater to patients who have difficulty swallowing ordinary capsules, then the soft-gel machine is your best option.
Guarantee greater accuracy in dosing; compared to most other types of capsule filling machines, especially semi-automatic models, soft-gel ones provides a high level of precision during material dosage.
Can fill a variety of materials into different sizes of capsules; you don’t need to worry about having different machines for the various capsule sizes.
With a soft-gelatin capsule filler, you can easily fill a range of material (liquids, suspension, semi-solids) into a range of capsule sizes.
In addition to size, soft-gel capsule filling machines can produce capsules with flexible shapes.
The possibility of producing different shapes of capsules will depend on the design and shape of your unit’s die cavity. So take note of this.
Disadvantages of Softgel Capsule Encapsulation Machine
Some of the disadvantages of soft-gel capsule fillers are as follows;
High costs; soft-gel capsule filling equipment are more costly compared to other types of capsule filling machines.
This has proven to be a challenge for SMEs as they can’t afford the machine, however necessary they are.
In addition to the investment cost, maintenance of the machine is also expensive.
Constant care and maintenance need to be taken for a soft-gel machine than any other type.
For instance, the machine has to be cleaned all the time; mechanical parts must also be checked and continuously lubricated.
Also, programs that run the machine require constant updating.
This complicates the entire process of maintenance that is, in the end quite costly.
Limited versatility; you can use a soft gel capsule filler to fill various types of capsule sizes and shapes with different types of materials.
But then, you can only do this for soft-gelatin capsules which are capsules made out of animal skin and bones.
The machine is specifically designed for this purpose.
It cannot be modified for use in filling any other type of capsules other than gelatin capsules.
Softgel Capsules Encapsulation Process – How Softgel Capsule Filler Works
You are now aware of the advantages and disadvantages of a soft-gel capsule filling equipment.
So let’s quickly go through its working principle.
And as we do this, understand that encapsulation using this machine happens in four stages which are;
- Gelatin preparation
- Fill material preparation
- Encapsulation process
- Further processing of soft-gel capsules
In-depth, this is how the entire process occurs;
Stage 1: Gelatin Preparation
To begin the process of soft-gel encapsulation, you need first to pick the right gelatin formulation.
In most cases, these formulations comprise of the following;
- Gelatin, which is basically animal protein
- Plasticizer that can be shell pliable and elastic
Keep in mind that the gelatin is what will house the capsules.
This is why it is vital that you choose a suitable formulation.
Once you made your choice, you can go ahead and prepare the gelatin.
This is done in a melting tank.
In this stage, you will blend and heat all the ingredients, and stir to form a uniform syrup.
Once formed, the syrup will flow to the spreader, cooler and lastly to the die roller.
Now on to the second stage.
Stage 2: Fill Material Preparation
Everything in this stage occurs in the material hopper.
So first, you will prepare your material depending on the content you want your soft-gel capsule to consist.
The material can be oil-based or paste-like, it all depends on the current production need.
And, depending on the nature of the material, you may need additional equipment such as hammer mills, fluid bed granulators/dryers, processing tanks, etc.
Once you’ve made the desired fill material, you can pour it on the hopper, from where it will flow to the injection wedge system.
Stage 3: Encapsulation Process
The encapsulation stage is the most critical one in the working principle of soft-encapsulators.
Here, the machine brings both the gelatin and fill material together.
Soft-gel encapsulation machine has two ribbons moving into the die roller system.
The ribbons move in rotary motion as the machine concurrently administers the fill material between the gelatin ribbons within the die rolls.
Once filled, the gelatin wraps the fill material resulting in a custom made a capsule.
The shape of the capsule, as I had earlier mentioned, will depend on the shape of the die cavity.
So the now formed soft-gel capsules will leave the machine via a discharge chute.
As this happens, the brush within the chute will remove any capsules that may have stuck on the die rolls.
The stripper rollers (still within the rolling system) will also remove any stuck capsules on the gelatin web.
Stage 4: Further Processing of Softgel Capsules
We are now at the final stage of the soft-gel encapsulation process.
Here, capsules from the discharge chute go through other processes that include drying, cleaning, and sorting.
Usually, the conveyor belt takes all the capsules to the tumble dryer.
Here, they will remain for some time before they are transferred to the drying tunnels in trays.
Well, that is all about the working principle of soft gel encapsulators.
It also most if not everything you need to know about soft-gel encapsulation machines.
Tamping Pin Capsule Filling Machine
Automatic capsule filing machines employ two types of capsule filling techniques: tamping pin and Dosator techniques.
These are both techniques used in hard gel encapsulator machines.
And while both of these filling principles give the same result, the way they work slightly differs.
Based on this fact, I’d like to help you understand these two types of principles starting with the tamping pin.
But first, let us have a look at the advantages and disadvantages.
Tamping pin capsule filling machine
Advantages of Tamping Pin Capsule Filling
The benefits of using tamping pin capsule filling technology are broad.
Mainly, however, they include;
- Higher production output
- Consistent output quality
- Reliable operation
- Ability to fill a variety of materials into different sizes of capsules
- Guarantee a high level of accuracy
Notably, this type of capsule filling machines are known to provide optimal levels of production with relatively low rejection rates.
Disadvantages of Tamping Pin Type Capsule Filling
The major downside of tamping pin type capsule filling machines is the fact that they can easily mess up your entire production.
You see, tamping pin filling principle involves several stages whose consistency and performance need constant monitoring.
So while the process to you might seem okay, any failure or slight malfunction can result in serious loss.
That is in terms of capsule rejection.
Other downsides are the same ones experienced with automatic capsule filling machines.
So maybe you can refer to the topic disadvantages of fully automatic capsule filling machines for more information.
Meanwhile, let’s find out how tamping pin capsule filling works.
Tamping Pin Principle in Capsule Filling Machine
The general encapsulation involves, capsule orientation, filling, sealing, and ejecting filled and sealed capsules from the machine.
Tamping pin capsule filling process works no different.
Tamping capsule filling machine
Only that this process involves certain specifications in how capsules are filled.
Understand that tamping machines can feature 3, 4, or 5 stage capsule filling technology.
Meaning, the operation principle may vary slightly, depending on the specific model of your machine.
With that in mind, lets us get back to the working principle.
Working Principle of Tamping Pin Capsule Filling Machine
For the scope of this section, I’ll focus on the working principle of 5-stage tamping pin capsule filler machine-it the most popular.
So to begin, a tamping pin capsule filler comes with the dosing discs shown in the image below.
Capsule filling station
The discs come with cover plates known as “tamping plate or top plate” that closes the disc during operation.
These discs, as you can see, have holes on them.
They rotate at preset speeds and in a circular manner during the process of capsule filling.
During encapsulation, the dosing plate rotates below the powder bed as the filling material flows into each hole.
Once filled, the pins in the tamping stations compress the material which could be powder, pellets, tablets, etc. to a controlled depth.
After the first hole is filled, tamping pin 1 compresses it to a predetermined depth.
The process then proceeds to the next stage where the material will again flow into the hole.
Again, tamping pin 2 will compress it to a predetermined depth.
Note that the pressure that these tamping pins exert on the material is adequate to compact it.
Depending on your machine, the force can range from 50N to 150N.
The process of filling and compacting will continue until the filled holes reach the last tamping stage.
That is in stage 5.
After stage 5, the machine will eject the compacted powder through the dosing plate and into the capsules.
You can remove all excess material at this stage to avoid inconsistencies in the dosing process.
Now, after filling the capsule body, we move to the next and large stage where sealing and ejection of capsules from the machine occurs.
Note that encapsulation is a continuous process and the speed at which it happens will highly depend on the parameters on your machine.
Dosator Capsule Filling Machines vs. Tamping Pin Capsule Filling Machine
I understand how challenging it can be choosing the right type of automatic capsule filling technology.
But then, you don’t need to go through all the hassle.
All you need to do to know what technology is right for you is to compare them.
This way, you can weigh the pros and cons as well as the suitability of each machine to your application.
With that said, here is a table comparison of the tamping pin and Dosator types of capsule filling machines.
|Both machines guarantee precision dosing as they both turn material into slug before filling into capsules||Dosator capsule fillers are suitable for micro-dosing applications|
|Since both of these machines use automation technology, they tend to guarantee high and accurate levels of production||tamping pin capsule fillers are best for use in fully automatic machines as these guarantee a higher level of accuracy|
|Both systems can fill a variety of materials whether powder, pellets or tablets||In Dosator principle, compression of material occurs only once|
|You can fill different capsule sizes using either of these automatic capsule fillers||In tamping pin technology, compression of material is done in multiple stages|
Generally, the main difference between the tamping pin machine and the Dosator type machine is the working principle.
Otherwise, almost everything else about the machines is the same.
Dosator Type Capsule Filling Machine
The Dosator type Capsule Filler also a type of hard-gel encapsulator just like the tamping pin machine.
It is a high tech dosing equipment used mostly for mass production and clinical trials.
Critical attributes of this dosing machine include a high level of accuracy and consistency in dosing applications.
Dosator capsule filling machine
This is why it is popular in the abovementioned areas of use.
Another thing, the Dosator machine can be used to fill powder, pellets, or tablets.
It can also be used to fill a variety of hard-gel capsule sizes including 0L-5,000L-5, SUPRO A-E, D-B, DBAA, etc.
Now, compared to the tamping pin machine, the Dosator type Capsule Filling Machine has numerous advantages and disadvantages.
Allow me to present some of these pros and cons below.
Advantages of Dosator Type Capsule Filling Machine
Some of the advantages of the Dosator type capsule filling machines are as follows;
Dosator capsule filling machine
- Compared to the tamping machines, Dosator models obtain dosages and compacts them in one single step.
This results in capsule materials with more homogenous density.
- For each application, the Dosator type machine allows you to modify the stress applied to make it more suitable for that application.
Note that dry inhaled powders demand lower compression than other powder materials.
- Another advantage is that this system can fill a variety of materials in different forms and quantities.
It doesn’t fill powders only but also pellets, tablets, granules, etc.
Also, it fills most of the capsule sizes, as mentioned earlier in this section.
- TheDosator type Capsule Filling Machine is popularly used in filling capsules and respiratory blister packs.
This is due to the rapid local drug action and convenience of swallowing.
- The modular construction of this type of machines allows for modifications to suit a range of production needs.
For instance, you can easily adjust the Dosator nozzle to suit a wide range of capsule filling requirements.
This way, you can fill capsules in milligrams, grams, and so on.
Summarily, Dosator type machines offer manufacturers a range of solutions and options to meet the pharmaceutical industry needs.
They are not just flexible but also highly reliable, accurate, and precise.
Disadvantages of DosatorCapsule Filling Machine
As I said, this filing system also has several downsides, as follows.
The first disadvantage of the Dosator type Capsule Filling Machine is wastage of materials.
There is a greater volume of material than what is actually used during the operation.
For instance, you can find a system having 26mm powder bed width, 20 mm depth.
Here, you find that approximatelyDosator with up to 6 mm diameter is used for stroke in the middle of the bed.
This means the rest of the powder on the bed is not used.
With the understanding of the Dosator capsule filling process as I’ll describe later in this section, this machine isn’t suitable for the dosage of small quantities.
At least not suitable for dosages below 10 mg.
It is also not suitable for cohesive (very fine) materials.
Capsule filling section for dosator
Another downside of this type of Capsule Filling Machines the inability to understand the level of compaction of the dose.
This is due to the machine setting factors that are not controlled.
Thus, they contribute to the variation of the dose weight and therefore, potentially compromise the efficacy of the dose.
For Dosator machines running intermittently, the material flow property requirements are even more demanding.
This is to ensure that the dose is retained in the cavity before the ejection stage.
But as this happens, the dose is subjected to acceleration forces as the machine transfers it from the pickup to ejection station.
There really is no universal Dosator type capsule machine operation principle, method, procedure, or design.
Believe it or not, these machines do not include an environmental control system.
Meaning, they’re unable to prevent variations in moisture content during encapsulation.
This issue, note, can increase your installation costs.
Well, Dosator type capsule fillers really do have several downsides.
Despite this, however, it remains the best available option for applications that require maximum accuracy, reliability, flexibility, and versatility.
With that in mind, lets us look at the working principle of this machine.
Working Principle of Dosator Type Capsule Filling Machine
Remember, Dosator type capsule filling machines do not have a universal working principle.
Actually, the operating procedure of this machine varies significantly.
That is depending on the manufacture’s experience in the field and also on the powder flowability.
One manufacturer might use different Dosator working principles according to the powder flow behavior and its dosage application.
So since we cannot fill all the principles used in Dosator capsule filling technique, I’ll only focus on what’s offered by most SiantyCo products.
So let’s get to it.
Firstly, the Dosator machine consists of a tube, open at one end, within which is a moveable piston.
The process begins with the Dosator moving into the material hopper.
It then collects the desired volume of material layer.
The Dosator is then consolidated by a downward movement of the piston to form a plug.
This is then withdrawn from the hopper, taking the plug with it, and is positioned over the body of the capsule shell.
The piston again moves downwards, ejects the plug into the capsule body and the top part of the capsule is then fitted.
Since we need to retain the plug inside the Dosator tube while the latter is being moved into position over the capsule body, a free-flowing material is not a prerequisite.
However, the powder cannot be too cohesive as you need to maintain the powder bed at a relatively uniform depth.
This is to help facilitate reproductive filling.
A lubricant such as magnesium stearate may be required.
From this description, you can tell that the process involves five different stages.
There is the incoming stage, compaction stage, retraction stage, doctoring stage, and finally the ejection stage.
Note that all these stages take place so fast you can hardly notice when once cycle is complete.
This is how you find Dosator type capsule filling machines producing over 180,000 capsules per hour.
3. Semi-automatic Capsule Filling Machine
The semi-automatic Capsule Filling Machine combines both manual and automatic methods of capsule filling.
Simply put, it’s a partially automatic capsule filler.
Semi-automatic capsule filling machine
This type of machine, note, is designed for precision manufacturing requirements of modern pharmaceutical procedures.
It is suitable to fill all capsule sizes ranging from 0 to 5 capsules with powder, granules or pellets.
Also, it has a production capacity of up to 45,000 capsules per hour.
At the same time, it provides an excellent degree of automation with higher filling weights and accuracy.
Note that its automation degree while excellent, it is not comparable to fully automatic models.
A good number of semi-automatic capsule filling machines are produced according to industry standard.
SaintyCo’s machines, for instance, all meet CE and cGMP standards.
Applications of the semi-automatic machine may include R&D laboratories, research institutions herbal and Nutraceutical preparations, Unani and Ayurvedic medicine, pilot batch productions, etc.
Advantage of Semi-automatic Capsule Filling Machines
Advantages of semi-automatic capsule filling systems include;
Dosing station for semi automatic capsule filling station
· Affordable Pricing
Semi-automatic systems have very minimal technical requirements.
This makes the cost of the equipment and its parts relatively low.
Maintenance of the machine is also cheaper compared to fully automatic models.
· Compact and Robust Construction
Most semi-automatic capsule filling machines come in very compact designs and shapes.
This makes it easy to place them on work sites and use.
Their robust construction ensures long life and trouble-free operation.
· Efficient use of Materials
When filling capsules using a semi-automatic machine, the material requirement is not very high.
No matter if the material is cohesive or not, all of it can be effectively filled.
Other remarkable advantages of semi-automatic capsule fillers are;
– Simple operation
– Low operating noise
– Low power consumption
– Low cost of molds
Disadvantages of Semi-automatic Capsule Filling Machines
Semi-automatic systems pose the following disadvantages;
Filling capsules in semi-automatic machine
– Limited production capacity which can make it hard for you to grow with it as your business and production demands grow.
– At least one human is required to operate it.
Of course, even a fully automatic Capsule Filling Machine requires at least one human to operate.
It’s only that semi-automatic operators will have more workload.
Working Principle of Semi-automatic Capsule Filling Machines
Before you start using your semi-automatic machine for encapsulation, test it first to ensure it’s in proper working order.
To do this, you need familiarity with the machine’s technical manual and also know the name and function of each of its parts.
Knowledge of the buttons on the control panel is also vital to proper testing of the machine.
So once you’ve gone through the manual and mastered every important detail, you can begin testing.
To do this follow these steps:
Step 1: Connect the Machine to the Power Supply
Take out the power cable and connect it to the AC power supply.
Make sure the power supply is of a suitable voltage.
The recommended voltage should be somewhere on the label or on the specification sheet.
In addition to voltage, ensure that proper earthing is done according to the regulations of your local power supply system.
Step 2: Verify Parts
Here, you just need to check that all parts as indicated on the technical manual are present and that they are all in good condition.
In the case of mechanical parts, lubricate them as required before use.
Step 3: Attach Critical Parts
First, take out the aviation plug and insert it into the accordingly.
Then, connect the air compressor and vacuum pump to the air source.
Since you’d already connected the machine to the power source, you can turn the air switch on the electrical control box to “close.”
When you do this, the parameter display on the control panel should light up.
Next, turn the vacuum pump to check if the motor rotates in the same direction as indicated.
Step 4: Connect Air Compressor to the Power Supply
Connect the air compress to the power supply of suitable voltage.
Then, check whether the compressor motor rotates in right direction.
There should be an arrow indicating the right direction of rotation.
Once you verify all this and are certain that your semi-automatic capsule filler is in proper working condition, you can begin operation.
Here are simple steps to do this:
Operation Procedure of Semi-automatic Capsule Filler
To start, turn on the vacuum pump and the air compress.
Make sure that the rotating direction is consistent with the direction of the arrow.
Next, turn the knob R to the low position, and then turn on the capsule loading motor.
Press ON and rotate the Knob R to make the capsule loading mechanism speed up gradually.
Power On and control panel
Once it reaches top speed, pour empty capsules into the hopper, test capsule loading at low speed and gradually speed up.
You can adjust the running speed to suit the capsule quality.
That is fast speed for good quality capsule and relatively low speed for low-quality capsules.
Now put the lower mold to the turntable and add the fill material to the hopper.
Next, turn the filling button on to fill the capsules with the material.
Once all capsules are filled, cover the holding mold with the upper mold and move them to locking station.
As you do this, ensure that the thimble is inserted into the hole of the mold.
If it is, turn over the locking cover, and eject the capsules by pressing the foot pedal or locking button.
Here’s is a summary of the working principle of this types of capsule filler;
- Positioned under the rectifier, a sandwich of the cap and body rings receive empty capsules.
- It then separates the caps from the bodies by pulling the vacuum from beneath the ring
- The body rings are then positioned under the foot of the hopper for filling
- Once this is done, the cap and body rings rejoin and reposition in front of pins that push the bodies to lock
- After that, the plate is swung aside, and with the aid of the pins, the closed capsules are ejected from the machines.
That’s it! The entire operation process of a semi-automatic capsule filling machine.
And this brings us to the end of this discussion about the types of capsule filling machines.
As you’ve seen and read, there are various types of capsule filling machines available in the pharmaceutical industry.
And each machine is different in the way they’re operated.
While some use no human efforts at all, there are those designed to have an operator to the assigned tasks.
So, depending on your current capsule filling needs, it should be easy to determine which type of capsule filling machine you require.
Capsule filling station
Work with your team or an expert in capsule filling to understand whether you need your machine to fill solids, liquids, semisolid, or suspensions.
Also determine if your production needs require a manual, semi-automatic, or automatic machine.
Once you’ve had all these cleared up, go ahead and choose from the various types of capsule fillers accordingly.
If you need a bit of help choosing your machine, below is a section with tips to guide you through the process.
Capsule Filling Machine Selection Process
Trying to decide the best capsule encapsulation machine for your product can sometimes feel confusing and overwhelming.
This is especially with the various options and machines available.
Lucky for you, I understand how important it is for you to make the right decisions, and choose the best equipment for your application.
That’s is why I have included this section in our guide today.
I hope it will of assistance to you.
So, to get started, there are many factors of consideration when choosing a capsule filling machine.
Laboratory capsule filling machine
· Brand and Model of Capsule Filling Machine
No matter how appealing or innovative the Capsule Filling Machine may be, it is only effective if it can meet all of your production needs.
As such, you need to ensure that you invest in a trusted brand and high-quality model to avoid problems in the future.
It might cost you far more initially, but the short and long-term benefits will be worthwhile.
· Production Capacity of Capsule Filling Machine
Considering what production capacity is necessary as it will help you choose the automation level of the capsule filling machine.
If you operate low to medium production rates, you may not require a fully automatic machine.
Instead, a semi-automatic model or even manual Capsule Filling Machine may get the job done.
But if you’re looking at producing ten to hundreds of thousands of capsules per hour, then an automatic encapsulator is your best option.
· Quality Compliance of Capsule Filling Machine
Quality compliance refers to adherence of a machine to set industry standards on quality, safety, and reliability.
You need to ensure that the machine you’re choosing adheres to the set standards including cGMP, RoHS, and CE.
If you’re customizing the machine, make sure to include the quality compliance specification in the QC checklist and stay abreast of any changes.
Fines may seem small at first glance, but they can add up over time to truly affect your business’s bottom line.
· Capsule Filling Machine User-friendly
The basis of any good machine is how easy it is to use and operate it.
From the manual models to the fully automatic models, all of these require a human operation.
Thus, you need to get a unit that won’t present any form of operation difficulty.
· Technological Advancement of Capsule Filling Machine
Well, how much automation you need in a Capsule Filling Machine will depend on your current production needs.
Remember that each application presents different needs in terms of output rate.
Sometimes you want to produce to at least 10,000 per hour and other times you want to go as far up as 100,000 capsules per hour.
In this case, your production needs will principally dictate how many caps/hr. Your machine must reach.
And consequently, what level of automation you require.
You see, there is an instance when one believes that they need a very industrial-grade production capacity machine.
Only to realize after analysis that all current and future needs could be met on a 7000 caps/hr. Semi-Automatic machine.
· Capsule Filling Machine Technical Specification
The quality, performance, and speed of a machine definitely vary to its specifications.
Talk to your team or an expert engineer to know the right Capsule Filling Machine to employ.
And also, the specific functions you need to attain a smooth production.
· Capsule Filling Machine Manufacturer
When considering a Capsule Filling Machine manufacturer, ask yourself the following questions;
- What experience does the manufacturer have with capsule filling machines in general?
- What range of models do they offer?
- What reputation does the manufacturer have in the industry?
This way, you’ll find answers that’ll help you select a professional, experienced, and reputable capsule filler manufacturer.
· Integration with Support Equipment
Support equipment, in this case, include capsule inspection, counting, labeling, packaging, etc.
A manual capsule filler will not roll up and work with a dryer, labeler, or other similar equipment.
Many of the semiautomatic and automatic capsule filling machines, however, will roll right up to an existing conveyor.
A majority of applications require automation of filling, labeling, and packaging lines.
So, is fully automated production a future goal?
Then, you need to ask yourself whether the filling machine will continue to serve the intended needs as other support equipment is added to the line.
Of course, every application will have individual needs.
Some line may require drying equipment like fluid bed dryer, etc.
· Types of Capsules
There are two types of capsules: soft-gelatin capsules and hard gelatin capsules
Which do you intend to fill?
Determining the type of capsule to be handled by the machine can lead to a better decision to avoid unwanted problems in the future.
· Specific Applications of Capsule Fillers
Generally, the right type of Capsule Filling Machine will depend on the application you intend to use it.
Most importantly, it will depend on what exactly you want to achieve.
These are some of the considerations that you should make when choosing an ideal capsule filling machine.
There are many others that I have not mentioned here and that you may come up with or across in other sources.
As you decide, remember that choosing a suitable Capsule Filling Machines the important way to guarantee product quality and improve the economic effect.
Ideally, choosing a suitable capsule filler should be kept in close touch with actual production.
Try to choose a machine with good quality, high efficiency, simple structure, easy to operate, and maintain.
Problems in Capsule Filling – Problems & Solutions
At the end of the day, a machine will breakdown due to one issue or another.
Solving such issues is critical in ensuring you don’t lose the productivity of a capsule filling machine.
Here is a look at some of the common problems that you are likely to experience operating the machine, the cause, and solutions.
Capsule filling machine dosing
1) Lack of Capsules Flowing into the Magazine
There are several causes for the capsules not flowing to the magazine.
For instance, the speed of the machine could be slow.
To rectify this, ensure that the capsules machine speed is as per the recommendation of your manufacturer.
Ideally, the speed of your machine needs to be above 60 spm.
Another cause for this has damaged capsules which prevent other capsules from flowing to the magazine.
To solve this, pass the cord from the exit point of the magazine pushing it up which forces the damaged capsules out of the magazine.
This way, suitable capsules will flow into the magazine.
If the problem is due to incorrect positioning of the baffle plate, make sure it well positioned.
This allows for the capsules to flow to the reservoir from the hopper.
Another cause for this problem can be a damaged magazine which prevents the capsules from flowing into it.
For this, you need to smoothen the magazine to align it in a way that will allow the capsules to flow to it.
2) Damaging of the Capsules during Loading
If the capsules are getting damaged as you are loading, the problem is the incorrect aligning of the rectifier block with the bushes.
To solve this, ensure these two are well aligned and if possible, use an alignment gauge to check.
3) Lack of Capsules Entering the Rectifier Block
There are two causes for this, first if the magazine of the machine is non-aligned with the rectifier block.
You can solve this by aligning the magazine with the rectifier block using an alignment gauge.
Another cause is the storage of the capsules in improper conditions such as temperature and moisture environment affecting the capsules.
For instance, the capsules can stick on each other, preventing them from flowing to the rectifier block.
Solve this by maintaining the capsules in the right conditions as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
4) Loss of Caps while Transferring
If you are experiencing loss of cap while moving the capsules, it might be either high vacuum or non-alignment of the body bush and cap.
If the cause is a high vacuum, minimize it by adjusting the throttle value.
However, be keen not to reduce it to the extent where there the capsules are not separating.
On non-alignment, ensure that the body bush and the cap are aligned.
If you are doubting, use an alignment gauge to align them.
5) Non-separation of the Capsules
As we have seen earlier, non-separation of the capsules can be caused by having a low vacuum.
So, it is vital to ensure you have the correct vacuum in place.
Leaking filters can also cause Non-separation.
Leaking filters causes the vacuum to decrease, which affects the separation of the capsules.
Check on the vacuum pump to ensure there are leakages on the filters.
Another cause for this is having worn out bushes, which fails cleaning.
If this is the case, consider replacing the bushes to solve this.
6) Not achieving the Targeted Weight
If your machine is having a problem reaching the targeted weight, it might be due to one of these reasons.
First, is having an insufficient binding of the slug which loses part of the powder before delivering it to the capsule.
Rectify this to ensure that you have the correct slug binding.
Another reason might be the powder being hygroscopic or sticky.
Rectify this by checking on the tamping pins.
Another cause of this is having an inadequate flow of the product which cases insufficient powder flow to the disc cavity.
For this, use a flap to push the powder to areas where its flow is low, which ensures you have a good flow.
7) Variation in Weight
If you are experiencing any difference in the weight of your capsules, then you need to check on the following causes and rectify.
First, is selecting the wrong thickness of the dosing disc.
You can solve this by using the correct dosing disc to fill the powder into the capsule shell.
Other causes may be having an incorrect gap between either: the body bush and the dosing disc, the wiper block and the dosing disc, the supporting pad and the dosing disc or the body bush and the tamping pin.
You can solve any of these by having the correct gap in each of the above.
User Requirement Specification (URS) for Capsule Filling Machine
The truth is, you will find different brands of capsule filling machines in the market.
Not all these brands will meet the specifications you require.
It is here that a user requirement specification (URS) becomes a relevant document.
The URS indicates the various specifications that you require for your capsule filling machine.
By having a URS, you will be in a better position to select a capsule filling machine that works best for your application.
So, what constitutes a URS?
An effective capsule filling machine URS contains the following.
· Approval Section
This section includes all relevant bodies mandated with approving the safety and working standards of the capsule filling machine.
It is essential to do your research to be in a position to know which institutions certify these machines.
The introduction part entails a brief explanation of the capsule filling machine.
This includes the general description, the scope, the purpose as well as the validation plan.
The overview section of the Capsule filling machine entails different aspects.
First, it should contain the intended use, that is, the function of the capsule filling machine in your application.
Next, it should contain the capacity of the machine.
Capacity indicates how much the machine can handle at a given time.
This needs to be in Kgs. or ltrs.
The overview should also include the available space for installation.
As there are different sizes of the capsule filling machines.
It is therefore vital to indicate the available space for the installation of the capsule filling machine.
Remember to note the available height, length, and width when checking on the available space.
Capsule filling machine accuracy is another component of the overview.
How accurate do you want the operation of your capsule filling machine to be?
You need to indicate the accuracy to the closest decimal places if possible.
Still, on the overview, it should indicate the cleaning requirements of the capsule filling machine.
If there are specific cleaning requirements, you need to note it here.
In general, the capsule filling machine needs to be easy to clean.
Lastly, indicate the specific requirements of the capsule filling machine such as the quality of the stainless steel required. You can also include the maximum speed of the machine.
· Operational Requirements
The information that you need to include on the operational requirements segment include the functional requirements where you indicate all the technical specifications of the machine.
Also, indicate the control system like the ON and OFF and other specific requirements.
Note the power requirements such as the maximum voltage and power failure requirements like if it is manual or auto start.
Write the environmental requirements of the capsule filling machine.
Here indicate the humidity as well as the temperature of the area that you are going to install the capsule filling machine.
Note the safety requirements, such as the proper handling of the capsule filling machine.
Here include the safety gear that one needs to have while operating the machine.
If any other requirements facilitate the proper working of the capsule filling machine, you can note it here.
· Compatibility and Support
There are various aspects that you need to include here. First, check on the utility.
Utility involves noting the available source of power that the capsule filling machine is going to use when operational, for instance, fuel or electricity.
You need to also indicate the Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) requirements and any other specific requirements.
Availability of the capsule filling machine is another aspect to note.
Here, include how long the machine will be operating like will it be continuous, working in shifts or for specific hours.
Another consideration is the supporting documents.
You need to include the operating manual of the capsule filling machine, the circuit diagram, change part list, the warranty, and the spare list.
Under this section, include all the acronyms that you have used in the URS document.
The importance of this is to facilitate the reader in understanding the document.
On the reference part, you need to include all the books, journals, and articles you have used in coming up with the URS.
Apart from appreciating these sources of information, the reference will act as a guide in case of further reference.
On the last part of the URS, you need to have a list of people who approve the URS.
You may divide this into the person who prepared the URS, the one who checked the URS and the one who passed the URS.
If possible, indicate which department they work in your company, their signatures and the date of signing the document.
SaintyCo Capsule Filling Machine
As you already know, there are quite a number of Capsule Filling Machines in the market today.
Because of this abundance in variety, choosing the right machine and supplier can be challenging.
For this reason, we encourage that you seek professional assistance in choosing the best machine for your encapsulation needs.
You also need to work with a reputable supplier for best encapsulation results
SaintyCo is one such supplier that is trusted and proven to supply top quality Capsule Filling Machines.
The company supplies top of the range encapsulators in the following categories:
SaintyCo capsule filling machines
SaintyCo Automatic Capsule Filling Machine
These are fully automated machines that include;
· PrimaFill CF-12
If you’re looking for an encapsulator with highly advanced features, then this is the right machine for you.
The PrimaFill CF-12 runs on 5 stage tamping technology with a maximum production capacity of between 3000-8500 pieces per hour.
The machine comes with additional technology such as the Siemens PLC for easy operation and a touchscreen HMI.
All these guarantee you a highly precise and accurate operation.
· PrimaFill CF-25
Designed in conformance to WHO, CE, and cGMP standards, the PrimaFill CF-25 fulfills the demands of large volume production.
The machine offers a maximum output of 3,000 to 17,000 pcs/hr. for pallets and 6,000 to 25,000 pcs/hr. for powder
About quality, SiantyCo packs this fully automatic machine with Siemens PLC and easy to use HMI technologies.
Other than these, the PrimaFill CF-25 comes with 10 stations and 3 segments.
Meaning, with this machine, you can fill a wide range of capsules ranging from #0 to #4.
· PrimaFill CF-50
Like the CF-25, this PrimaFill CF-50 is also designed for large volume applications.
It beats the previous model in terms of maximum output as it has the capability of filling 9,000 to 34,000 pcs/hr. for pallets and 18,000 to 50,000 pcs/hr. for powder.
For easy operation, this machine comes with both a precision capsule segment and dosing disk.
The dosing disk uses operates the 5 stage tamping capsule filling technology-this guarantees greater accuracy.
· AdvantaFill CF-75
SaintyCo’s AdvantaFill series of capsule fillers are known to be the best choices for high production capacity industries.
The CF-75 in particular works better than most machines in its range.
This particular model comes with 10 segments and 9 bores with an ability to fill a wide range of capsule sizes.
That is not all.
Thanks to an enclosed turntable, vacuum cleaning system, and an enclosed dosing system, the AdvantaFill CF-75 filler allows you to reduce downtime while guaranteeing a low maintenance operation.
· AdvantaFill CF-90
The AdvantaFill CF-90 automatic Capsule Filling Machine comes with filling speeds of up to 90,000 capsules per hour.
It is fully operational and provides excellent precision and accuracy.
For Nutraceutical and supplement products, this is the right machine.
· MagnaFill CF-150
This machine makes various sizes of capsules ranging from #0 to #4 with options for #00 and #5 available.
The filling is possible through exchanging of parts.
The MagnaFill CF-150 is used for various applications including in pharmaceutical productions.
This machine can dose both powder and pellets.
For powder, the production rate is 24,000 to 95,000 capsules per hour.
For pellets, the capacity ranges from 48,000 to 150000 cap/hr.
· MagnaFill CF-210
MagnaFill CF-210 automatic capsule filler processes products for optimal productivity.
Output capacity is up to 150,000 caps/hr.for powder and up to 210,000 caps/hr.for pellets.
The machine features low-maintenance operation, minimal downtime, and overall dependable production.
These features make the MagnaFill CF-210 suitable for dynamic and mass production applications.
· UltraFill CF-300
The UltraFill CF-300 is a cGMP compliant capsule filling machine.
It features innovative and flexible design options to meet a wide array of capsule filling needs.
The maximum capacity for this machine is 5000 capsules per minute; thus it is suitable for high production pharmaceutical applications.
· UltraFill CF-450
SaintyCo’s UltraFill CF-450 fully automatic machine boasts a maximum capacity of 450,000 caps/hr.
It is the only model in its series that comes with 12 stations and 54 segment bores.
The machine note uses the 5-stage tamping pin technology for optimum accuracy and consistency during encapsulation.
SaintyCo’s Dosator series of capsule fillers are feature high-level technology, making them suitable for large-scale pharmaceutical applications.
The machine can produce a range of capsule sizes at a rate ranging from 40,000 to 180,000 caps/hr and depending on the model.
Additional features include unique technologies such as double row Dosator structures for high quality and consistent capsuling.
· ProCap II
The ProCap model of automatic capsule filler doses a wide range of capsule designs and shapes.
Its production capacity starts from 60 caps/min and can fill capsules models000, 00, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, A, B, C, D, and E.
SaintyCo Semi-automatic Capsule Filling Machine
Some of the top brands of semi-automatic capsule filling machine include:
· SF 25
This is an advanced model of semi-automatic Capsule Filling Machine that guarantees a quiet operation with a noise level of 70dBA.
You can modify this machine depending on capsule sizes by adjusting the rotation on the doing discs.
· SF V 25
This is another semi-automatic encapsulator that guarantees quiet operation.
Its noise level specification is 63dBA, which makes it a suitable alternative to models that use portable air compressors-the later tends to be quite noisy.
Finally, we have come to the end of our guide today.
I hope that every information you’ve read is useful to you in one way or another.
Whether it is to familiarize yourself with the workings of capsule filling machines.
Or, to buy the right unit of Capsule Filling Machine for your application.
If there is something you believe I have missed or failed to explain to your satisfaction, please feel free share below.
Also, if you have a concern or inquiry, you can share in the comment section, contact us directly.
Our staff will be happy to help.