Reduction of tablet weight variability by optimizing paddle speed in the forced feeder of a high-speed rotary tablet press
Peeters, E.; De Beer, T.; Vervaet, C.; Remon, J-Paul.
Drug Development and Industrial Pharmacy 41(4): 530-539
ISSN/ISBN: 0363-9045 PMID: 24502268 DOI: 10.3109/03639045.2014.884121
Tableting is a complex process due to the large number of process parameters that can be varied. Knowledge and understanding of the influence of these parameters on the final product quality is of great importance for the industry, allowing economic efficiency and parametric release. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of paddle speeds and fill depth at different tableting speeds on the weight and weight variability of tablets. Two excipients possessing different flow behavior, microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) and dibasic calcium phosphate dihydrate (DCP), were selected as model powders. Tablets were manufactured via a high-speed rotary tablet press using design of experiments (DoE). During each experiment also the volume of powder in the forced feeder was measured. Analysis of the DoE revealed that paddle speeds are of minor importance for tablet weight but significantly affect volume of powder inside the feeder in case of powders with excellent flowability (DCP). The opposite effect of paddle speed was observed for fairly flowing powders (MCC). Tableting speed played a role in weight and weight variability, whereas changing fill depth exclusively influenced tablet weight. The DoE approach allowed predicting the optimum combination of process parameters leading to minimum tablet weight variability. Monte Carlo simulations allowed assessing the probability to exceed the acceptable response limits if factor settings were varied around their optimum. This multi-dimensional combination and interaction of input variables leading to response criteria with acceptable probability reflected the design space.