Gas detectors help with drug tablet coating thickness

Sensitive detectors, from Minneapolis-based Sensor Electronics, monitor ethanol gas concentrations in the exhaust streaming from the coating machine.

09/26/2011


Gas detector (white) looks for leaks inside the cabinet holding the mechanical system operating the sprayer and tumbler. Besides showing actual ethanol levels in LEL percentage, the detector has LEDs that glow green/amber/red, reflecting any increase in ethanol intensity. Courtesy: Sensor ElectronicsSophisticated gas detectors help a pharmaceutical manufacturer, Paddock Laboratories, measure coating thicknesses on drug tablets. The sensitive detectors, from Minneapolis-based Sensor Electronics, monitor ethanol gas concentrations in the exhaust streaming from the coating machine.

While the detectors protect plant personnel, said John Levasseaur, production engineer, Paddock Laboratories, using them to monitor coating thickness is especially intriguing.

Technical engineer John Levasseur inspects mounting for spray head feeding ethanol-based tablet coatings. Duct opening (lower left) carries exhaust gases. Courtesy: Sensor ElectronicsTablet bases are fed into a twirling tumbler where a small-bore feeder sprays a bonding mist of the ethanol carrier, plus a color tint, a lubricant (for easier swallowing), or the drug itself. Depending on the coating, the tablets are tumbled from 30 minutes up to 4 hours, with close monitoring of the ethanol feed, temperature, and humidity.

The ethanol concentration in the exhaust is directly proportional to the coating thickness on the tablets. A too-high ethanol level means a too-thick coating, so the spray mist ratio is decreased. The ethanol proportion in the exhaust then verifies the feeder setting.

Tablet-filled basket tumbles inside stainless-steel housing; ethanol gas carries tin/lubricant/drug coating feeding through arm extending into basket. Depending on coating, tumbling times range from 30 minutes to 4 hours. Courtesy: Sensor ElectronicsThe gas detectors do double duty. Ethanol is explosive, so if ethanol levels in the exhaust duct reach a preset LEL (lower explosion limit), then the detector triggers alarms to warn workers. If the ethanol concentration continues to rise, the gas detection system turns on fans to flood the area with outside air.

Paddock Laboratories concentrates on niche markets for generic drugs. “But with any generic drug—or any drug, for that matter—reliability is the key. Closely monitoring ethanol levels in our coating process helps us maintain that reliability,” Levasseaur said.

- Tom Probst, corporate communications, Sensor Electronics Corp.

www.sensorelectronics.com



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Your leaks start here: Take a disciplined approach with your hydraulic system; U.S. presence at Hannover Messe a rousing success
Hannover Messe 2016: Taking hold of the future - Partner Country status spotlights U.S. manufacturing; Honoring manufacturing excellence: The 2015 Product of the Year Winners
Inside IIoT: How technology, strategy can improve your operation; Dry media or web scrubber?; Six steps to design a PM program
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
Warehouse winter comfort: The HTHV solution; Cooling with natural gas; Plastics industry booming
Managing automation upgrades, retrofits; Making technical, business sense; Ensuring network cyber security
Designing generator systems; Using online commissioning tools; Selective coordination best practices

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me