For more than 50 years, Thomas Processing has spearheaded innovations and improvements in the tablet coating industry. Our commitment to excellence in tablet manufacturing started with our industry-leading ACCELA COTA® tablet coating systems. The Thomas ACCELA Cota®, featuring a fully perforated coating drum, revolutionized the coating manufacturing process when it was introduced in 1969. It continues to set the standard for tablet coating today with unrestricted airflow, thermodynamic efficiency, and flexibility.
Known for designing coating machines from the ground up and making improvements as technology evolves, Thomas improved industry standards again in 1993 by designing and manufacturing the revolutionary FLEX CTC® Continuous Tablet Coater. This machine has a fully perforated drum that achieves the same high performance demonstrated in our ACCELA Cota® technology but in much less time.
Today, Thomas continues to raise the bar in tablet coating with the ACCELA CTC 500, a continuous coating machine that extends the capabilities of the current industry standard, the Flex-CTC.
A smaller version of the Flex-CTC, the ACCELA CTC 500 is equipped with state-of-the-art improvements that benefit the pharmaceutical industry on a larger scale. With shorter drums compared to the Flex-CTC and an impressive throughput of 500 kg/hr, the ACCELA CTC 500 is a perfect fit for high-quantity prescriptions and over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen.
Improved Airflow and Cleanability
Equipped with an advanced design, the ACCELA CTC 500 offers pharmaceutical manufacturers an improved good manufacturing process (GMP) that eliminates material waste and reprocessing during start-up and shutdown.
When determining a machine’s GMP status, ask yourself:
- Is my machine clean?
- Does it follow guidelines that make it easy to clean and stay clean?
Guidelines that must be followed when designing and manufacturing a machine with GMP qualities include using fewer screws, ensuring product isn’t trapped inside their threads, and eliminating blind spots and sharp corners that result in streamlined inspections.
To implement improved GMP into the ACCELA CTC 500’s design, we made it easy to clean and maintain by using fewer screws and removing blind spots and sharp corners to give you open access to the coating chamber. The ACCELA CTC 500 is also smaller in size to reduce production plant GMP space requirements.
Our team of experienced engineers also considered improvements in airflow. The Flex-CTC is integrated with a 10,000-cubic-feet-per-minute (CFM) system while the new and improved ACCELA CTC 500 has a 7,000 CFM system. Its state-of-the-art air plenum design creates uniform airflow control through the tablet bed.
Inline Cooling Chamber
One problem with continuous coating is that there is no area to cool down the tablets after they’re coated.
Once a batch coater completes the process, you can simply turn the spray feature off and run cool air into the machine to cool down the tablets—a continuous coater doesn’t have that feature. A continuous coater works by allowing tablets to flow through the machine and discharging them once coating is complete. But after the coating process, where do the tablets go to cool down before they discharge? Other continuous coating machines require integrating additional cooling systems into the production line so tablets can cool before being discharged.
Unlike any other continuous coating machine, the ACCELA CTC 500 is equipped with a cooling chamber that’s manufactured inside of the coating drum. To cool the tablets, six compressed air nozzles are pointed at them to remove the heat. Compressed air is blown onto the tablets and reduces tablet temperature as much as 15 degrees Celsius.
As industry leaders in tablet coating, Thomas’s ACCELA CTC 500 is the only coater on the market manufactured with an integrated cooling chamber that eliminates the need for additional cooling systems. This reduces the footprint of the equipment and streamlines the coating process.
Thomas’s ACCELA CTC 500 features improved wash-in-place capabilities, such as:
- Multizone systems for full GMP compliance
- Automated recipe control
- Drum and cabinet interior sanitary piping assemblies
- Multi-directional rotating spray nozzles for total wash coverage
- Four individual sanitary zone control valves
Multiple Coating Methods
The tablet coating procedure makes pharmaceutical drugs in solid dosage form more effective and easier to ingest. While tablet coatings have the same general functions, such as masking the odor or taste and ensuring shelf life protection, there are several types of coating materials for tablets that coat surfaces differently and affect the end result of the medication in unique ways.
The ACCELA CTC 500 is capable of using multiple coating methods and a wide range of materials, such as organic solvents, sugar, film, extended-release, and active drug layering.
Material Handling System Integration
The ACCELA CTC 500 integrates material handling into your tablet coating process to provide every system you need to coat high-quality batches of tablets.
Our Material Handling Applications
With the ACCELA CTC 500 material handling system, we integrate your tablet press, tablet bin, conveyor belt for tablet loading, discharge system, and tablet collection bins.
The ACCELA CTC 500 uses the conveyor belt and multiple sensors to fill two tablet collection bins one at a time. First, it fills one bin and senses when it’s full. Then, it diverts the tablets into the second bin while the first bin is being transported to packaging. In the event that the second bin is full and the first bin is in packaging, the system pauses to prevent fully coated tablets from spilling onto your facility floor.
Integrated Spray System
When your machine coats tablets nonstop for five to 10 hours, coating material can create a cloud around the spray nozzle and produce product buildup that results in poor airflow and clogged guns.
Thomas’s ACCELA CTC 500 features a fully integrated spray system and patented spray bar, designed to offer an accurate solution delivery rate, >5% gun-to-gun spray rate differential, and rapid disassembly and cleaning.
The Thomas Spray Bar (TSB) is fitted with Schlick 930 or 970 anti-bearding spray guns that result in consistent performance. The TSB has a modular spray manifold, and the number of spray guns can easily be adjusted by adding or removing spray bar sections. The modular design eliminates the need for multiple complete spray manifolds. The TSB is designed to eliminate unnecessary parts from the process airflow path, reducing turbulence and improving spray performance. The solution and compressed air lines inside of the spray bar eliminate tablet entrapment areas and create a smooth profile. In the rare event of a clogged spray gun, the fluid nozzle can be removed and cleaned from the gun while the bar is primed and solution is in recirculation. With the TSB, clearing a spray gun clog takes less than 10 minutes.
Other spray system features include:
- Toolless gun inserts for quick disassembly and service
- Indexable mounting hardware for repeatable positioning
- Sanitary tri-clamp solution feed and recirculation connections
- Sanitary tri-clamp connections with “O” ring seals
- Schlick solution and air delivery components
- Schlick gun components
- Independent pattern air control and fan width
Our integrated spray system is also designed with a recirculation valve to maintain consistent solution movement. During spray pause, the guns are closed and the solution is recirculated back to the tanks to prevent settling of solids. During normal operation, the recirculation valve is closed and the solution is delivered by the pump, supplied to the nozzles, and sprayed onto the tablets.
All Thomas tablet coating systems, including the ACCELA CTC 500, feature the TSB. The solution delivery system is engineered to deliver a consistently better performance compared to conventional manifolds, resulting in easily validated, repeatable tablet coating processes. With the Thomas Spray System and TSB, you get superior spray coverage, uniform coating, and repeatable results.
COMPU-COAT Control System
The ACCELA CTC 500 is designed and manufactured with our powerful COMPU-COAT control system, a user-friendly touchscreen interface for industry-leading tablet coating.
COMPU-COAT meets the precise control and strict documentation requirements of the pharmaceutical industry and complies with the latest FDA guidelines for Drug CGMP Data Integrity and all CFR 21 Part 11 requirements.
COMPU-COAT also expands our control integration to include advanced WIP, material handling, and solution preparation systems.
ACCELA CTC 500 COMPU-COAT control features include:
- Widescreen HMI with easy-to-use graphical touchscreen
- Integrated industrial PC for recipe, report, and security management
- Unlimited recipe and batch data storage
- 30 configurable coating stages
- Multiple user accounts with multi-level access for each user
- Complete 21 CFR Part 11 compliance, including electronic signatures and audit trails
- Reports for all recipes, process data, alarms, and events
- Domain, Data Historian, and MES options for unique customer management
Zero Waste Gun Sequencing
With the ACCELA CTC 500, you never waste materials or products, thanks to our revolutionary zero waste gun sequencing process.
When coating with other machines, it’s difficult to confirm that your tablets are fully coated and uniform. The spray system starts and pushes tablets through the machine, causing some tablets to get pushed to one side without any time under the spray zone, which forces you to throw away the first 50 kg of your product. But with the ACCELA CTC 500’s sophisticated zero waste gun sequencing process, spray guns are turned on and off at different times so all tablets are fully coated evenly.
The goal of the sequencing process is to ensure that some of the tablets are fully coated and the other half have minimal coating. To meet this goal, the process starts by filling the machine with tablets before the spray system turns on. Once the tablets are in the machine, they’re moved from right to left in the coating drum. For the first 40 minutes of the coating process, a protective coating is sprayed on the tablets to prevent damage. The protective coating gives the tablets a .3% weight gain. Once the zero waste gun sequencing process is complete, all tablets meet a 2.5% target weight gain.
Next, the computer controls a sequence of three spray guns, turning them on at a predetermined time. The tablets under the spray bar are coated, which brings their weight gain up to 1.5%. The process continues until all tablets reach 2.5% weight gain and are ready to discharge, resulting in fully coated, uniform tablets. As new tablets are pushed into the machine, the fully coated tablets are discharged and the continuous coating process starts again.
Material Handling and Factory Acceptance Tests
At our new, state-of-the-art facility, Thomas Processing runs full-scale material handling and factory acceptance tests (FAT) in our continuous coating lab.
Our brand new testing facility includes:
- Four test bays
- One for continuous coating testing
- One for production size batch coating testing
- One for clinical/pilot testing
- One for laboratory/pilot scale testing
The test facility has a 10,000 CFM [17,000 m3/hr] air handling unit with electric heating and chilled water dehumidification. The new testing rooms are large and allow for easy access to all areas of the coater. All of the coating systems run on our most advanced control system. The continuous coating test room includes a full material handling system to accurately simulate the real-world functionality of the system.
A Commitment to Excellence
As one of the original innovators in pharmaceutical machinery, Thomas Processing made a commitment to excellence decades ago. The nature of the pharmaceutical industry calls for persistent improvements and upgrades. Thomas uses this motivation to push ourselves toward the highest levels of quality and productivity. You can count on Thomas to always take the initiative and hold ourselves to a higher standard. We’ve stayed true to our innovative values by continuing to set industry standards in tablet coating. The result of our latest efforts is the ACCELA CTC 500. Contact us today to learn more or purchase our latest innovation in tablet coating.