Pharma Technology Inc.: Auto-Check System

Patented system on PharmaFlex iSeries dedusters eliminates the need for individual test tablets to be placed through metal detection.

Patented system on PharmaFlex iSeries dedusters eliminates the need for individual test tablets to be placed through metal detection.
Patented system on PharmaFlex iSeries dedusters eliminates the need for individual test tablets to be placed through metal detection.

Pharma Technology Inc. (PTI), the global supplier of tablet dedusters and capsule polishers combined with metal detectors and loading systems for pharmaceutical solid dose production, offers a patented Auto-Check system for streamlined metal detection on its line of PharmaFlex iSeries dedusters.

Integrated into Ceia or Lock-brand metal detectors, Auto-Check “de-manualizes” the metal detector challenge process by eliminating the need for operators to put test tablets one by one through the metal detector. The metal detector automatically shuts down the deduster and tablet press should the challenge test fail. For combined deduster/metal detector units with containment, utilizing Auto-Check makes dedicated openings for test tablet introduction unnecessary, eliminating risk of containment breaches.

Test particles never enter the product flow, nor must they be collected from reject jars or tablet drums. Rather, test tablets are replaced by test particles inside sealed tubes and can no longer be lost – a frequent pitfall in tablet testing.

How it works

The Auto-Check system works as follows: Atop a round silicone chute that goes through the metal detector sits a molded, external channel. Inside the channel is a removable one-piece assembly made of three sealed tubes in sturdy transparent polymer. Inside each sealed tube is a specific calibrated captive metal particle (ferrous, non-ferrous and stainless steel) that never emerges from the sealed tubes and thus can never enter product flow.

During normal metal detector operation, the test metal particles are in rest position. Recipes can be programmed to automatically challenge the metal detector at regular intervals with each metal particle type. When this occurs, the three test particles are pushed above the metal detector at high speed using compressed air – all while still inside the sealed tubes.

The test particles are then dropped one by one by gravity and go through the metal detector head still inside their tubes. The detection of each captive test particle by the detector head can be correlated to an opening of the metal detector’s rejection flap.

PharmaFlex iSeries dedusters feature a patented air jet and vacuum concept: circumferential dust extraction on the spiral periphery combines with central air jets for extremely efficient dust removal. In parallel tests where tablets were weighed before and after dedusting, the PharmaFlex Iseries removed 40% more dust compared to traditional stainless-steel spirals with dust extraction through a central tube.

The iSeries dedusters are comprised of segmented transparent Tritan polymer spirals allowing for 360° product viewing – meaning external windows with seals or fastening mechanisms are unnecessary. The Tritan material from which the spiral sections are made is resistant to 6-ft drops, 85°C hot water, common alkaline detergents and prolonged alcohol exposure. The segmented nature of the deduster’s spirals and central stainless-steel modular shaft facilitate easy assembly and disassembly in sections, and allow the height of the spiral to be adjusted incrementally.

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