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Eliminate the Chances of Powder Caking in the Pharmaceutical Industry

pharmaceutical powder caking

Eliminate the Chances of Powder Caking in the Pharmaceutical Industry

December 19, 2019

It’s vital that the process of manufacturing medicine is done seamlessly, and doesn’t run into problems such as powder caking. This can be a challenge, and while the pharmaceutical industry’s processes may seem a little esoteric, once the correct measures and controls in place, the process becomes efficient and straight-forward. 

Pharmaceutical manufacturing is based on the necessity for extreme accuracy in measurement, weight and size in their product development. There must be no room for error when it comes to dealing with manufacturing with a medicinal mindset; exact figures are essential to ensuring the end product is in a perfect condition, and are both safe and effective.

But what does the pharmaceutical manufacturing process entail? This article looks at the different stages, what problems pharmaceutical caking can cause, and considers what potential solutions could improve the overall quality of the end product, as well as the efficiency of the manufacturing process.

Caking in The Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Process 

The pharmaceutical powder caking process is fairly similar to some elements of confectionary manufacturing, in the way that a powdery material is used, pressed and shaped into small, condensed shapes. However, a key difference with pharmaceutical production is ensuring a precise uniformity in weight and size, while confectionary manufacturing allows a small margin for manoeuvre, differing from the absolute rigidity of pharmaceutical manufacturing.  

The powdery material used to create the product is extremely hygroscopic, which means they’re going to absorb moisture if it’s present in their surroundings. They want to reach an equilibrium with the moisture in the atmosphere surrounding them; this is an 80% relative humidity (80%RH), as the UK is one of the most humid countries in the world.

When the powdery material interacts with a moisture-laden atmosphere, it slowly soaks in that moisture, resulting in the product sticking together, causing a much more solid texture. This is called caking.  

Why is Pharmaceutical Powder Caking a Problem?

In an industry dominated by (very necessary) accuracy, health and safety measures, every stage of the pharmaceutical production cycle has to be rigidly controlled to an extreme standard. 

Issues with the process, such as caking can start even before production begins when the materials are in their raw form. If caking takes place in the initial stages, the whole process will be impacted. 

What Solutions Are Available?

To eliminate the chances of pharmaceutical powder caking, you need to reduce the relative humidity (RH)- in the pharmaceutical industry, humidity levels as low as 10%RH are often required.  Desiccant dehumidifiers efficiently remove moisture from the atmosphere so caking does not take place, elevating the quality of the product. 

Conclusion

The rigidity of the pharmaceutical process is essential for the health and wellbeing of most people, so having the right solution in place to eliminate issues such as caking is vital, and so is protecting the integrity of the raw materials before production begins.

 

For more information on how Dehum can help with pharmaceutical caking, please visit https://www.dehum.com/applications/healthcare/ or call us on 01926 882624.

For over twenty-one years, Dehum (Sorption Wheel Services Limited) has been a major supplier of humidity control systems. We are a true Engineering Company, designing, supplying and coordinating installations of equipment alongside complimentary services. Our global client list spans across all industries, including food & drink, pharmaceutical, nuclear, automotive, aviation, chemical processing, ice prevention/cold storage, car storage and archives.

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Using our engineering expertise and skill base, we are able to design unique applications, based on calculated psychometrics, to achieve and maintain optimum relative humidity levels (RH%) or accelerating drying. 

We have been behind extensive improvements in productivity across a multitude of industries.

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