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Solving Encapsulation Issues Caused by Sticky Formulations

Close Up Of Encapsulated Pills Graphic

During capsule production, are you noticing capsule defects such as body dents or cap dents? Are you seeing nicks and scratches on dosing bores or rounded noses and/or deep scratches tamping pins? A sticky product formulation might be the culprit! We asked our encapsulation expert, Jon Carlisle, to put together a guide that will walk you through the common issues seen when dealing with sticky product formulations, as well as systematic step-by-step solutions to these common encapsulation issues.

A sticky formulation is one of the most common causes of encapsulation issues during capsule filling. A capsule filler requires tight tolerances between the machine’s tooling components, including the dosing disks, tamping pins, and sealing plate, as well as between the capsules and the segments’ bores, which hold the capsules during filling. Friction between the formulation and these tooling components during high-speed operation can cause a sticky formulation to cake and glaze onto the tooling surfaces, restricting the components’ movement and leading to inconsistent capsule weights, capsule splits, non-separation, and even machine crashes. All of which can lead to costly downtime while repairs are made.

Manufacturers often hope for a silver-bullet approach—one single solution that will fix every sticky formulation issue—but the solution is rarely that simple. Several factors often combine to cause a material to stick, and the problem is best solved using a systematic approach. Sticking problems are common in encapsulation processes, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Often a combination of solutions is required.

This guide provides a best-practices approach to troubleshooting capsule-filling problems when handling a sticky product formulation. Following the suggestions discussed in this guide will help to eliminate many of the common root causes of sticking and increase your odds of successfully encapsulating sticky formulations.

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