Dry Granulation And Particle Agglomeration

Agglomeration equipment for dry granulation creates free-flowing granules without the need to add binders or wetting agents. This facilitates the instantaneous, continuous compacting of fine powders into densified briquettes or corrugated ribbons, which can be precision granulated to desired mesh sizes. Among other advantages, dry granulation represents an uncomplicated step in a simple tablet manufacturing process that is experiencing a revival in popularity, particularly within the pharmaceutical industry, due to potential cost savings.

Improved Flow Characteristics, Precise Particle Sizing and More

The technology enables users to specify and control key characteristics of an active powder blend, such as particle size and density, facilitating the transformation of a polydisperse mixture into more uniform granules. By improving powder flow and compressibility, while reducing segregation potential, carefully selected particle size and density parameters enhance the efficiency of subsequent processing steps.

Roller compaction is the most common form of dry granulation. This method has no impact on the uniformity of an upstream powder blend, but it will generally help maintain uniformity during subsequent processing. For this reason, agitated feed systems (or mixing) is used to improve blend uniformity before conveying the mixture into the two counter-rotating rolls of a dry granulator.

The Dry Granulation Process

While some manufacturing processes emphasize particle size reduction, the goal of dry granulation is often to increase the particle sizes of resulting granules. In the pharmaceutical industry, for example, active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and excipients must be blended uniformly, then resized through dry agglomeration and subsequent roller compaction, before final encapsulation or tableting in later steps.

The carefully blended powder is drawn between the rolls where user-specified force is applied, causing the powder to compact into a briquette or a continuous ribbon. The resulting compaction is often then milled in-line with an integrated machine, or off-line in a separate processing step. Featuring fewer process stages than wet granulation, dry granulation excels at increasing particle sizes within powder blends, which enhances its ability to be formed in subsequent steps into suitable tablets, or encapsulated, for consumption.

Pharmaceutical Tablet Manufacturing and More

The agglomeration/dry granulation process is an important technology within the pharmaceutical industry, as a significant majority of drugs are sold in tablet form. The United States Food and Drug Administration notes that these widely manufactured (and prescribed) dosage forms offer several advantages over other forms, including portability, ease of use, enhanced ease of storage, and consistent, reliable dosing. Of course, tablet sizing is important. Patient compliance correlates with relatively compact tablet or capsule size.

Dry granulation technology is also used extensively by industries such as food, nutraceuticals and fine chemicals, among others. On the manufacturing end, roller compaction is an agglomeration technology that excels at dust control, adjustability of flow properties, bulk density control, and optimization of particle characteristics, such as hardness.

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