Capsule filling machine Identical twins - cpp - chemical plants & processes

Capsule filling machine

Identical twins

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Fette Compacting presented its first capsule filling machine, the FEC40, at Interphex 2016. With an output of up to 400,000 capsules per hour, the performance of the FEC40 is sending a very clear signal. Thanks to the compact construction of the FEC40, space requirement are not an issue. The machine‘s highlight is the duplex concept – the capsule filling process is built into the machine twice over.

Capsule filling machine

Identical twins
Fette Compacting presented its first capsule filling machine, the FEC40, at Interphex 2016. With an output of up to 400,000 capsules per hour, the performance of the FEC40 is sending a very clear signal. Thanks to the compact construction of the FEC40, space requirement are not an issue. The machine‘s highlight is the duplex concept – the capsule filling process is built into the machine twice over.
Capsules are, after tablets, the second most common form of administering medicines and food supplements. More than 400 billion hard gelatin capsules are produced around the world every year. The yields from the machines used for this purpose until now lie at around 200,000 capsules per hour. The FEC40 has no problem with 400,000 units/hour – twice that of the equipment currently on the market. This means that users can lower their production costs for every 1000 capsules by up to 30 %. Fette Compacting has transferred their experience from the development of double-sided rotary tablet presses to capsule filling. Steps in the capsule filling process that in the past were separate have been merged. The stations that were have been used by Fette Compacting to build the capsule filling processes into the machine twice over, and thus to double the output. Since the filling process corresponds entirely to the established production standards, users can transfer all their familiar process parameters for capsule filling on a one-to-one basis, and optimise them further if necessary.
Familiar design concept
Fette compacting has rigorously implemented the Tri.Easy design concept, familiar from the FE series of tablet presses, to the FEC40 as well. The idea behind this is that efficiency is only possible when the three key aspects of the technology are equally straightforward – operation, refitting and servicing. The Tri.Easy design therefore puts the user in center stage and guarantees problem-free production, regardless of the operator‘s experience and level of qualification.
The FEC40 is available in two configurations. Users can choose between two filling punches or up to four pellet stations. The filling punch stations are changed over with the help of a patented extraction system. This means that changing over between different dosing processes, or between different products or batches, can be done quickly. The user-friendly removal system allows the stations to be dismantled and cleaned outside the machine. The usual changeover cleaning times are significantly shortened by this. If additional, pre-fitted filling stations are used, the FEC40 is ready for operation again in very little time.
The machine has been designed from top to bottom for easy operation. Even when process equipment is attached, the window flaps of the FEC40 can be opened all the way, permitting access from all sides. The capsule magazines are positioned on the central column, and can therefore be reached and examined optimally by the user. The process compartment of the FEC40 contains neither cables nor hoses, and is separated from the drive compartment. The molding and the materials of the whole of the interior of the process compartment, as well as the shrouding, have been designed to make them easy to clean. An RFID system, available as an option, for recognising the matching format parts ensures maximum security when refitting the machine.
The user at center stage
The FEC40 is controlled through a newly developed human-machine interface (HMI), incorporating a 19“ touchscreen and an integrated keypad. The graphic user interface offers the user a complete overview at any time of the relevant process and quality parameters of the machine and of the connected process equipment. The fundamental operating concept follows the logic familiar from the tablet presses of the FE series. Experienced users will find that they can transfer their knowledge easily to the operation of the FEC40. All formulations, including the process parameters, are stored in the database of the FEC40, and can be accessed up at any time. An automatic check of the consistency of the inputs is provided by the formulation check. All the filling levels of the capsule and product containers are measured and processed continuously in the controller during production. Appropriate user instructions are displayed visually on the HMI. In addition, any and all batch information is monitored, logged and stored – operation of the FEC40 is therefore child‘s play.
The FEC40 also includes comprehensive rights management, allowing the user to assign particular functions to the various user groups. The stored event logs make it possible to specifically evaluate individual production steps and to identify potential for optimisation. To simplify refitting and maintenance for the user, interactive operating instructions are stored in the HMI. All the necessary working steps are displayed there visually. Users can also create and save their own SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures).
The FEC40 is also configured so that it can be connected to Fette Compacting‘s service portal. Users anywhere in the world can thus get round-the-clock support from the secure platform, which is certified by TÜV.
After the prototypes, Fette Compacting is installing the first machines in the Competence Centers in Schwarzenbek (since May 2016) and Rockaway (September 2016), where they are available to users for comprehensive testing.
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A brief portrait of the FEC40 capsule filling machine

At a glance

At a glance
A brief portrait of the FEC40 capsule filling machine
  • In spite of the higher performance, the cleanroom requirement is unchanged. With the FEC40, two complete capsule filling processes are integrated onto the same floor space as conventional machines. Fette Compacting have done this by transferring the principle of the double rotary press – the Duplex Concept known from tablet presses – to capsule filling for the first time.
  • Under the drive and control concept of the FEC40 (patents pending), every movement is generated by its own motor. Synchronization is achieved through an entirely electronic controller. By being able to adjust every process step separately, users have numerous options for optimizing the processes.
  • The FEC40 is convincing when it comes to changeover cleaning and servicing. Both the tamping pin stations and the pellet stations can be removed very easily and cleaned outside the machine. This means that changing over between different dosing processes, or between different products or batches, can be done quickly. The times between one batch and the next batch are markedly shortened.
  • Operation of the FEC40 is particularly simple and intuitive, and uses a touchscreen and an integrated keypad. The user has a complete overview at any time of the relevant process and quality parameters of the machine and of the connected process equipment.
  • The FEC40 includes a database, from which all the user‘s formulations, including the process parameters, can be accessed at any time. The FEC40‘s integrated formulation check automatically examines the inputs for consistency. All the filling levels of the capsule and product containers are continuously measured and processed in the controller during production. In addition, any and all batch information is monitored, logged and stored.
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