Pharmaceutical Guide: How Are Capsules Manufactured

Posted by Michael Griffin on February 12th, 2020

The capsule is one of the most common forms of medicines available in pharmacies. However, many people don’t know what they are and how they are made. Capsules are solid forms of medication. It consists of two main parts, a shell and a stuffing. The shell is made of a digestible film usually made of gelatin or non-gelatin materials. The shell is filled with the main medicine. The medical stuffing may be powdered or granulated with the help of a Quadro Comil or available in gel form. Various machines and processes are involved in the capsule manufacturing process. Here is the manufacturing process in brief:

Capsule Manufacturing Process
The capsule manufacturing process can be classified into two based on the type of capsules they produce; hard and soft. Hard capsule manufacturing is used for hard medicines in forms of powder, tablet or granules. Soft capsule manufacturing is generally used for soft medicines in the form of liquid or gel.

1. Hard Capsule Manufacturing Process

Hard capsules refer to capsules that consist of two parts: capsule body and cap. The capsule body is the part that is filled and the cap seals the capsule keeping the contents inside. Here’s how they are made:

i) Dipping
A plate consisting of pins dips into a reservoir that contains the material that will form the capsule.

ii) Drying
The pin plate rises above the reservoir slowly and an air dryer blow-dries the shells.

iii) Stripping
A jaw plate removes the shells of the desired size from the pin plate.

iv) Trimming
A stationary knife trims that shells into proper sizes.

v) Joining
The capsule cap joins the capsule body.

vi) Polishing
A polishing machine cleans the pills.

vii) Filling
A capsule filler is used to fill the pills. The process can be divided into five basic stages:
a) Feeding: Here the manufacturers pour the pills into the filler which places them into individual slots.
b) Opening: The cap is removed and moves parallel to the pill
c) Dosing: The filler fills the pill body with the medicine (usually powder, granules or tablets made with Quadro Comil).
d) Closing: The machine caps the pill and seals it.
e) Discharging: The machine discharges the pills.

2. Soft Capsule Manufacturing Process

Unlike hard capsules, soft capsules are one piece that contains the gel or liquid. The capsule may also contain powder. Another difference between the two processes is that the soft capsules are generally made at the same time that they are filled due to which they can be produced more quickly than hard capsules. Here are the three types of soft capsule manufacturing processes:

i) Plate Process
It’s a semi-automatic process in which a warm sheet of soft material used to make capsules is placed over a plate with die pockets. A vacuum machine pulls the sheet into the die and a filler fills the pockets with gel/liquid medicine. Then a die press cuts off and seals the pills.

ii) Rotary Die Process
It is an automatic process. The machine consists of two tanks, one for the substance used to make capsules and the other for the medicine. The machine has two rotary drums that draw the material from the capsule tank to create two halves of the pill and join them into one. The pill is filled with the medicine before the halves are joined with the help of an injector.

iii) Accogel Machine Process
The accogel machine is the only machine that can successfully fill soft capsules with solid materials due to its high precision. The process is somewhat similar to the rotary die process except that the filling tank is filled with powder that is injected into the pill with extreme accuracy.

After the pills are discharged by the used capsule filler to produce them, they are evaluated by the manufacturer. Then, only the pills that meet the set standards are packaged and transported. The rejected pills may be used as samples or disposed of.

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Michael Griffin

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Michael Griffin
Joined: May 16th, 2018
Articles Posted: 174

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