GEA has been supplying advanced solid dosage processing plants for mixing, blending, granulation, drying, pelletizing and coating to the pharmaceutical industry for more than 50 years. Harald Stahl, the company's Senior Pharmaceutical Technologist, briefly reviews their unrivalled portfolio of market-leading technology and equipment.

Granulation Expertise

Granulation remains one of the most important unit operations in the production of pharmaceutical oral dosage forms. With expertise in a wide range of technologies, including low/high-shear, top-spray, melt, fluid bed, single-pot, continuous and contained granulation, offering both high levels of productivity and versatility — particularly for large volume products and long campaigns — a number of technologies are available from GEA; we’ve long been a pioneer in the development and optimisation of existing and innovative granulation processes.

Significant technical advances have been achieved in recent years, enhancing the performance of granulation technology and allowing optimal solutions to be identified for every product mix and production combination. GEA has been a constant leader in the field, driving these developments and endeavoring to provide the right solution for your granulation application.

From small-capacity R&D systems to cGMP-compliant production-scale plant, our fluid bed processors and high shear mixers/granulators and are known throughout the pharmaceutical, chemical and food processing industries for their engineering excellence and technical innovation. 

Application-Specific Solutions

Whatever your requirement, every granulation, pelletizing or drying plant from GEA is a unique combination of proven technology and application-specific solution. Based on standard components, such as our high shear mixer granulators and fluid bed dryers, we supply plants for cGMP production that are configured to meet your specific needs. Our contained granulation line for R&D, for example, takes the process from dispensed raw materials to finished tablet.  

Continuous Granulation

The pharmaceutical industry is looking at continuous processing to improve production quality in an efficient and cost-effective way and to comply with the increasingly stringent manufacturing acceptance criteria put in place by the regulatory authorities. The ConsiGma™ continuous high shear granulation and drying system is a multipurpose platform that has been designed to transfer powder into coated tablets in development, pilot, clinical and production volumes in a single compact unit. 

The system can perform dosing and mixing of raw materials, wet or dry granulation, drying, tableting and quality control, all in one line. By producing granules continuously, batch sizes are determined by how long you run the machine; and, because of ConsiGma™’s innovative design, the amount of waste produced during start-up and shut down is significantly reduced compared with conventional methods. Quality is measured throughout the process and, as such, drastically reduces the cost per tablet.

Safety and Compliance

For full compliance with national, local and in-house regulations, GEA offers a range of emission control options, including solvent recovery systems, outlet filters and full containment plants. Equipment can be supplied to meet explosion-proof and pressure shock standards as required. Our granulation and drying process expertise is based on many years of experience, expertise and know-how. With plants installed around the world and literally thousands of tests performed, we have established a solid base of expertise related to the needs of the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry.

Agglomeration

GEA agglomeration plants are used as a benchmark in the food, dairy, chemical and pharmaceutical industries because of the superior quality of the end-product. We offer a variety of one- or two-step technology options, all of which meet the strictest product quality, hygiene and plant performance requirements. Agglomerates produced with our equipment have the right particle size, distribution and bulk density, ensuring quick dispersion and dissolution, improved flowability and reduced dust problems during powder handling.

Research and Development

At the heart of GEA’s small-scale and R&D approach is PharmaConnect™, which allows a number of diverse process modules from GEA companies to be docked to one control unit. Based on the company’s market-leading PMA™ and Gral™ granulation technologies, and designed for laboratory through to pilot plant scale, the PharmaConnect™ can process batches from 200 g to 25 kg or more, all from a single control unit.

From Modules to Complete Lines

As well as standalone equipment and fully integrated plants, the company offers a complete engineering service from system design to process integration and optimisation. In addition we have fully equipped test facilities available for process verification and optimisation.    

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