- The continuous flow process is a technique where products are manufactured nonstop using one process at one facility without break times.
- Batch manufacturing in pharmaceutical tablet production lines involves developing tablets in groups using multiple steps.
- One downside to batch manufacturing is processing costs can increase because the process is slower than continuous flow.
- Manufacturing processes that use certain materials like titanium require the batch manufacturing approach.
- The continuous flow process increases productivity due to manufacturing more products in less time.
- Batch manufacturing allows you to develop multiple products using one machine.
Explaining the Continuous Flow Process
The continuous flow process is a technique where products are manufactured nonstop using one method at one facility without break times. During the continuous flow process for a pharmaceutical tablet production line, tablets move through the manufacturing process individually. Then, manufacturing experts identify and correct tablet defects and other manufacturing problems early on in the process. That way, by the time the tablet is ready for packaging, products are uniform and high quality. Finding tablet defects sooner using a continuous flow process reduces correction time and allows experts to fix the product before it’s gone through the entire manufacturing process.
The FDA believes that using a continuous manufacturing process boosts product quality, reduces medication shortages, and improves efficiency.
Explaining Batch Manufacturing in Pharmaceutical Tablet Production Lines
Batch manufacturing in pharmaceutical tablet production lines involves developing tablets in groups using multiple steps. During batch manufacturing, subsequent tablet batches must wait until the current batch is complete before production can move forward. Then, the entire tablet batch goes to the final manufacturing stage together. In some batch manufacturing facilities, materials are shipped to another location between steps, resulting in weeks or months between production times.
Continuous Flow Processes vs. Batch Manufacturing
The main difference between continuous flow processes and batch manufacturing is the number of products produced. Because batch manufacturing involves processing multiple batches at once, it’s more difficult to assess quality control. This often results in defect identification after the process is completed.
The continuous flow process makes locating and fixing product defects easier. Because products are completed individually during continuous flow, examining the first product and adjusting strategies if necessary ensure defect prevention early on in the process.
The Problem With Batch Manufacturing
The problem with batch manufacturing in pharmaceutical tablet production lines is that if a tablet defect occurs during step two of the manufacturing process, but the issue wasn’t identified until step five, then the entire tablet batch is defected and requires reworking.
Another downside to batch manufacturing is that because the process is slower than continuous flow, processing costs can increase. Batch machinery can also increase energy consumption during start-up and shut down.
Continuous Flow Process Roadblocks
The continuous flow process is a superior solution for a wide range of applications. However, manufacturing processes that use certain materials like titanium require the batch manufacturing approach. Continuous flow can increase the risk of material contamination, but contamination risks can be mitigated with proper process implementation and monitoring.
The Benefits of Using a Continuous Flow Process
For many applications, the continuous flow process has a variety of benefits like:
- Reduced or zero-waste operations
- Increased productivity due to manufacturing more products in less time
- Improved quality by identifying and fixing defects early on
- Increased stability
- Reduced lead times
Using the continuous flow process also creates a work environment where your employees can get in the zone and focus, allowing them to accomplish manufacturing goals more efficiently. There are minimal work-stopping problems with continuous flow because your team members don’t have to stall or wait around for the next completed batch. Problem-solving is also more seamless with the continuous flow process. Your employees can locate minor manufacturing issues before they become costly problems that affect your bottom line.
The Benefits of Using Batch Manufacturing
Batch manufacturing also has a variety of benefits like:
Batch manufacturing allows you to develop multiple products using one machine. The batch manufacturing approach enables product customization, allowing you to make minor process changes as needed. You can also scale your batch sizes depending on product demand with batch manufacturing.
Multiple Product Variations
Using batch manufacturing also allows you to create large quantities of products in different sizes and colors. Offering multiple product variations means you are able to cater to a broader customer base while retaining an impressive throughput rate.
Manufacturing batches of the same product is more cost effective than developing them separately because bulk materials and labor are cheaper, the process is more efficient, and batch equipment is less expensive.
Thomas, a Continuous Flow Process Supporter
Whether you’re new to the continuous flow process or are scaling up your operation, Thomas Processing is here to help you learn more about innovative tablet manufacturing at this year’s CCP Summit in Boston from March 23-24, 2022.
This year’s agenda includes:
- A comprehensive 360-degree view to develop your own continuous manufacturing program in 3 days
- Finding partners in the increasingly complex continuous landscape
- Modern, technical, and strategic advancements of this past year to inspire your future continuous journey
Learn more about this year’s summit by checking out the full event guide.
As an industry leader building on the tradition of innovation, Thomas designs and manufactures high-quality tablet coating systems. It’s our mission to deliver innovation to the pharmaceutical industry, value to our clients, and quality equipment for the tablet coating process. Thanks to our efforts, we’re on the cutting edge of tablet coating advancements like continuous coating, interchangeable drums for production-size coaters, and fully perforated, side-vented coating drums. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you improve your tablet coating process.