Pharmaceutical Blending IBC Blenders

Container blending has long been established as the most efficient method of blending granules and powders during pharmaceutical manufacturing. Faster loading and unloading, reduced machinery and room cleaning times, improved containment and batch integrity have established IBC blending as the industry’s technology of choice.

Efficient Blending

GEA has spent years researching and understanding the science of Intermediate Bullk Container (IBC) blending. An expertly designed blending cage and container geometry ensures homogenous product blending and our unique Prism™ technology is proven to improve blending times. 

Long Working Life

Robust construction ensures a long working life. The clamping cage provides a secure connection to the top and the bottom of the IBC, reducing mechanical stress during rotation and preventing damage. 

Safety First

Air-driven screw jacks ensure that the IBC remains fully clamped, even if machine utilities are lost. Positive IBC detection prevents any un-clamped blender operation and the cage rotation motor is braked, preventing any utility free movement and providing an emergency stop option.

Controls

The user friendly control system makes it simple to load blend recipes and print completed batch information. Blending speed is controlled using a variable speed drive and 21 CFR Part 11-compliant controls are available for electronic records. 

Through-the-Wall Design

The Pedestal Blender is available with the main pedestal housed in the technical area and the clamping cage in the process area. An airtight wall plate is supplied as a barrier between the two rooms. A smaller processing room results in reduced area and running costs, and technicians can access the pedestal from the technical side (without entering the GMP production area).

Swinging Arms

IBC-Blender_SwingingArm

The Swinging Arm feature enables a wider range of IBC volumes to be handled in the same blender. When a smaller IBC is loaded into the blender, the spacer arms are swung out into the path of the IBC, bridging the height difference. The spacer arms maintain the IBC’s position at the centre of the rotation axis and reduce the clamping time.

 

Specialist Technologies are available

  • The blending Prism™  enhances the blending performance, especially when dry powder blending direct compression formulations.
  • The Vibroflow™ prevents the risk of product segregation during discharge from the blending container.
  • All the IBC blenders available from GEA can be fitted with Process Analytical Technologies (PAT) such as Light Induced Florescence (LIF) or Near-Infrared (NIR) systems.

Blending Prism™

Prism

Providing low shear mixing to a rotating IBC, turbulence is added to the tumbling product and the time to achieve a homogenous blend is reduced. When the IBC is loaded into the blender, the Prism™ is orientated at right angles to the rotation axis. As the IBC is rotated, the product is separated by the Prism™ and forced outwards to the corners of the container.

The Prism™ is particularly useful in dry blend processes, when IBC blending is the key process step. For dry blending or direct compression products, powders may be cohesive or flow poorly. Dry powders take noticeably longer to blend compared with free-flowing granular materials (such as the dispersion of magnesium stearate into a granulated batch), which blend easily in a relatively short period of time. The Prism™ is fully welded into the container body, and can be fully cleaned in place with the GEA Wash Station.

Process Analytical Technology (PAT) for IBC Blending

All GEA blenders can be fitted with PAT-compliant technologies such as Light Induced Fluorescence (LIF) or NIR systems. GEA uses these technologies to measure particle movement and in-process conditions during blending, providing a better understanding of powder behaviour, which improves R&D times and enhances process control. In the production environment, new product validation is quicker, and both productivity and containment are improved. 

The technology works by using an NIR or LIF measuring head. Mounted on the rotating blending head with a viewing window on the wall of the IBC, an onboard data analyzer interprets the process data and sends it to a PC. Sophisticated software allows users to monitor the powder movement and detect the process end point.

Power is supplied through a specially designed slip ring, which guarantees a permanent and uninterrupted power source. Proximity switches in the blending head activate the system at the right time to trigger data acquisition.

The GEA “Pedestal” blender range enables IBC blending at volumes up to 3000 L.

The robust design of the clamping cage provides a secure connection at the top and bottom of the IBC, preventing premature mechanical fatigue and damage.

Overview

Pneumatically operated screw jacks provide a fail-safe clamping system that, unlike hydraulic versions, remain in place in the event of utility failure. The main support pedestal is designed to be housed in the technical area: an optional stainless steel design is available  if the entire machine needs to be located in a cleanroom.

Our Single Pedestal machines can accommodate “Size 4” IBCs (up to 2000 L). The Double Pedestal Blender enables “Size 5” IBCs (up to 3000 L) to be used.

The GEA Pedestal Blender boasts a proven and durable design that offers low maintenance and a long working life; the perfect investment for today's pharmaceutical manufacturer.

 
Models

SP1000SP1500SP2000DP2500DP3000
PedestalOne Drive PedestalOne Drive Pedestal and one Support Pedestal
IBC SizeSize 4Size 5
IBC Footprint1125mm x 1325mm1350mm x 1590mm


Weights and Volumes

SP1000SP1500SP2000DP2500DP3000
IBC Range      
(without Swinging Arms)
700L-1000L900L-1500L1600-2000L  2500L3000L
IBC Range*       
(with Swinging Arms)
---700L-1500L700L-2000L1250L-2500L1250L-3000L
Max. working load**900kg1250kg1600kg2000kg2500kg
Drive Motor4.0 Kw5.5 Kw7.5 Kw11 Kw15 Kw   

* Smaller IBC's can be blended by adopting a "Bottle in Frame" design for the smaller IBC.
** Maximum load calculations are based on weight of the IBC plus a worst case bulk density of 0.8 Kg/L and a 80% product fill ratio.

Control Systems
SP1000SP1500SP2000DP2500DP3000
SiemensS7 Series PLC, TP Series Color Touch Screen, Danfoss VLT Series
Allen BradleyFlexLogix PLC, PanelView Plus 700, Danfoss VLT Series

The GEA blender range is further extended with a range of post hoist blenders, combining a number of features and benefits into one flexible blending solution.

The Post Hoist Blender provides users with the added benefit of being able to elevate the IBC after blending and directly discharge the contents into a downstream process. IBC-to-IBC milling and roller compaction, for example, are common applications for which the Post Hoist Blender provides a combined blending and handling solution.

Modular Lifting Carriage Design

The design of the Post Hoist Blender range is based entirely on our robust and proven post hoist design. The lifting carriage module of the post hoist is replaced with a blending head carriage; the remainder of the column design is the same as the standard post hoist range.

R&D and Pilot-Scale Blenders

At the smaller end of the scale, our hoists can be used in R&D and pilot scale facilities. The PLB300 and PLB700 allow the use of 600 L (Size 2 and 3) and 1400 L (Size 4) IBCs, respectively. 

 
Features
PLB300PLB700PLB1200
Powered Lift
IBC SizeSize 2/3Size 3/4Size 4
Max. IBC Size600 L1400 L2000 L
Max. Load (IBC+Product)300 kg700 kg1200 kg
Column Height2.5 m2.5 m2.8 m
Fixingfloor onlyfloor onlyfloor only (without slewing)
floor and ceiling (with slewing)
Reach1500 mm1700 mm1800 mm
Lifting Limit Switchesupper and lower over travel (positioning by encoder)
Control SystemSiemens S7 Series PLC, Siemens TP Series HMI
● standard           ○ optional          -- not available


Optional Features
PLB300PLB700PLB1200
Additional height up to 7 m


Manual slew

-
Powered slew


Variable speed lift● 
● 
● 
External vibration○   
Butterfly valve actuation


Buck® valve control system integration

● standard           ○ optional          -- not available 

Specifications
PLB300PLB700PLB1200
Electrical power220-240V 3 Ph 60 Hz  or  380-415 V 3 Ph 50 Hz
Lift motor power2.2 kW2.2 kW3 kW
Slew motor0.12 kW0.12 kW0.12 kW
Blend motor2.7 kW2.7 kW4.0 kW
Pneumatics6 bar/g supply pressure
Pneumatics for slew position lock5 L/operation5 L/operation5 L/operation
Pneumatic for external vibration10 L/sec10 L/sec10 L/sec
Pneumatics for butterfly valve actuator3 L/sec3 L/sec3 L/sec

The SP30 Laboratory Blender has been specifically designed for small-scale research work with dry powders and granular material.

A laboratory scale solution is available for 3-30 L volume blending, allowing for easy and repeatable scale-up to production scale. The Lab blender is available for both purchase and rental.

SP30 Laboratory Blender

The SP30 allows containers ranging from 3-30 L to be tumble blended at a variety of speeds for variable times and/or revolutions. The unit can easily be manoeuvred within an R&D facility with the addition of a mobile trolley.

Plug & Play Container Range

A range of interchangeable 3-30 L laboratory containers is available, allowing complete scale-up to our range of pilot-scale and production-scale containers. All of the containers feature a removable Blending PrismTM that allows the improved blending efficiency to be fully evaluated.

 

SP30 NIR Laboratory Blender

The SP30 NIR uses Near-Infrared technology to measure actual powder movement inside the IBC during the blending process. Real-time data acquisition provides a better understanding of powder formulation and behaviour, reduces the need for sampling and analysis and results in faster research times and improved process control.