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Customers want shiny capsules. Pharmaceutical and nutraceutical gelatin capsules will get dusty during the manufacturing process. Dust should be controlled as much as possible but it is never possible to get it all. This leaves capsules looking a bit dull as they leave the encapsulating machine. Coated pharmaceutical tablets are not usually dusty but the coating my not have the shine customers want to see.
Capsule and tablet polishing machines like revolving pans provide a final step to remove dust and shine up the capsules and tablets.
These are simple machines consisting of two conveyor belts, one above the other. Both belts are covered in lamb’s wool or a similar synthetic material. Each belt is independently driven to allow differential speed between them.
Product is loaded into a hopper at the infeed end of the conveyor. The hopper has a gate to control the discharge rate of the product so that it is never more than a single layer thick. High capacity polishers or difficult products may necessitate a vibratory hopper for more positive and consistent flow.
Product falls onto the lower belt and is conveyed under the upper belt. The height of this belt is adjusted to provide good contact with the product but not so tight as to crush, deform or other wise damage it. The speed of the upper belt is adjusted to be slower or faster (depending on machine design and product) than the speed of the lower belt which is adjusted to meet capacity and polishing time requirements.
This speed differential causes the product to roll and tumble as they rub against the belts. This exposes all sides of the product to gentle rubbing and polishing by the belts.
At the end of the conveyor, product discharges into a bin.
The amount of dust removed in the polisher should be minimal, most of it having been removed in a deduster at the encapsulating machine. There is some, however and if not removed it will eventually build up in the belts and get back on the capsules. Vacuum is required on both belts to remove dust and prevent dust buildup.
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