- Film coating problems can be categorized into several groups, but the most common issues are related to visual defects.
- The most common coated tablet defects are twinning, cracking, picking, and the orange peel effect.
- A few ways to optimize your pharmaceutical coating process include paying attention to your tablet coating spray gun parameters, using a level sensor, considering the right tablet shape and size, adjusting your load and discharge approach, and using machine optimization services.
Tablet Film Coating Problems
Before optimizing your pharmaceutical coating process, it’s crucial to understand the different types of tablet film coating problems that can occur during the process.
Film coating problems can be categorized into several groups, but the most common issues are related to visual defects like:
- Coating quality
- Performance and functionality
- Product stability
- Manufacturing costs and process efficiencies
Types of Coated Tablet Defects
During the pharmaceutical coating process, there are a variety of coated tablet defects that can occur and impact product appearance, including:
Twinning refers to two tablets sticking together. This coated tablet defect usually occurs during the pharmaceutical coating process when tablets are aligned along flat surfaces and have a sticky coating formulation or poor suspension evaporation.
Cracking is another common coated tablet defect that can occur during the pharmaceutical coating process. In the pharmaceutical industry, cracking can happen when the tablet’s internal stress exceeds the film coating’s strength, resulting in microscopic or macroscopic cracks along the tablet’s surface.
Tablet picking happens when two adjacent tablets stick together and break apart because constant motion occurs within the tablet coating system, which removes pieces from the tablet surface. The most common cause of picking is over-wetting due to the fluid delivery rate exceeding the drying capacity during the pharmaceutical coating process.
Solutions for Optimizing Your Pharmaceutical Coating Process
While tablet defects related to coating are possible, here are a few solutions for optimizing your pharmaceutical coating process to prevent them.
Pay Attention to Tablet Coating Spray Gun Parameters
If your tablet coating spray gun is too close to the tablet bed, your tablets can become too wet, resulting in surface defects. To prevent excessively wet tablets, pay attention to your spray guns and adjust them manually if necessary. You can also invest in a tablet coating system equipped with a fully integrated spray bar that provides quality coating versatility and external gun positioning to prevent surface defects.
Use a Level Sensor
During the pharmaceutical coating process, foam can end up in your coating suspension, resulting in tablet defects. You can prevent foam in your coating system by placing a level sensor in your tank and connecting it to a switch. When the suspension is no longer in contact with the sensor, the system’s agitator turns off automatically, preventing foam from impacting your tablet quality.
Consider Tablet Size and Shape
You can also prevent tablet defects during the pharmaceutical coating process by considering the size and shape of your tablets. For example, tablets with a flat profile are more likely to stick together, resulting in twinning. To avoid this common defect, try to prevent manufacturing tablets with a flat profile.
Use Process Optimization and Equipment Maintenance Services
The final way to optimize your pharmaceutical coating process is to use extensive tablet coating system services like process optimization and equipment maintenance. Process optimization solutions include a tablet coating expert visiting your facility to improve your machine’s coating process. Equipment maintenance like calibration and multi-point inspections can improve long-term tablet coating success, resulting in an efficient, high-quality pharmaceutical coating process.
Optimizing Your Pharmaceutical Coating Processes
The experts at Thomas Processing know how to optimize your pharmaceutical coating process. From equipment maintenance to tablet coating spray gun solutions, we provide everything you need to improve your coating processes and prevent tablet defects. When you choose Thomas as your tablet coating machine partner, you get:
- Improved Efficiency
- Improved Coating Uniformity
- Improved Tablet Appearance
- Reduced Tablet Defects
- Reduced Process Times
- Reduced Cleaning Times
Contact us today to learn more about how to optimize your pharmaceutical coating process.