In the pharmaceutical industry, tablets remain the most commonly produced oral dosage form. As most fine powders require further processing to improve their flowability and handling properties before tableting, granulation, which allows primary powder particles to adhere and form granules, is the most important unit operation in drug manufacturing.
A number of different granulation and compression technologies are available to pharmaceutical manufacturers, all of which have individual strengths and weaknesses depending on the specific application. However, the theory of granulation is often poorly understood and the selection of a particular machine and granulation method is frequently made on the basis of tradition and the company's experience, rather than by using strict scientific or cost-benefit criteria.
Given the importance of granulation for operational excellence, Dr Harald Stahl, GEA’s, Head of Application Development and Strategy, compares the available technologies and the factors that should be considered before selecting a particular method.