Cre­ative minds in search of the per­fect cap­sule solution

Mod­u­larity in pro­duc­tion plays a spe­cial role at the Argen­tine phar­ma­ceu­tical com­pany Gador. For the filling of cap­sules, even with extra­or­di­nary filling media, they rely on Harro Höfliger’s Modu‑C.

As one of the largest phar­ma­ceu­tical man­u­fac­turers in South America, Gador, with head­quar­ters in Buenos ­Aires, has an exten­sive product range. “This includes a wide variety of cap­sules – depending on the appli­ca­tion, we fill them, for example, with tablets, ­pow­ders or pel­lets,” says Eduardo Sar, Pro­duc­tion Man­ager at Gador.

It was because of its flex­i­bility that Gador became inter­ested in Harro ­Höfliger’s Modu‑C cap­sule filling machine in 2016. Eduardo Sar about the advan­tages: “Due to the diver­sity of our cap­sule prod­ucts, rapid changeovers between dif­ferent dosing sys­tems are impor­tant for us. The most con­vincing aspect of the Modu‑C is that the dosing sys­tems are mounted on trol­leys, which means that we can easily exchange them.”

“Due to the diver­sity of our cap­sule prod­ucts, rapid changeovers between dif­ferent dosing sys­tems are impor­tant for us.”Eduardo Sar, Pro­duc­tion Man­ager at Gador

For Gador, a trolley with a dosage sta­tion for microtablets was the first step: It enabled exact and product-­pre­serving filling of tiny tablets into hard gela­tine cap­sules. “Grad­u­ally, we then expanded our port­folio to include addi­tional trol­leys for other filling media.”

Solu­tions for niche applications

The intro­duc­tion of a new com­bi­na­tion product cre­ated a spe­cial chal­lenge: a cap­sule filled with three dif­ferent types of indi­vidual tablets. Each cap­sule had to con­tain a total of five tablets. “Right from the start it was clear to us that we wanted to auto­mate the process,” recalls Eduardo Sar.

Janina Pah­meier, Project Man­ager at Harro Höfliger, looks back on the project: “At that time we did not have a suit­able dosing trolley for this niche appli­ca­tion. We there­fore exam­ined var­ious possi­bilities in order to achieve fast, clean and hor­i­zontal stacking of the tablets into the hard cap­sule. Finally, the solu­tion was to modify Gador’s microtablet sta­tion. We installed addi­tional tablet buffers and adapted all format parts so that instead of the mini tablets, larger tablets could be filled too.”

Gador has been relying on the flex­i­bility of the Modu‑C cap­sule filling machine from Harro Höfliger since 2016.

Until then, there were quite a few chal­lenges that had to be over­come: “The tablets are fed to the cap­sules in free fall. In order to ensure that they end up well stacked, any cap­sule rota­tion must absolutely be avoided. To guar­antee this, we car­ried out numerous tests and proof-of-prin­ci­ples.” 3D printed parts were used in the early stages of devel­op­ment. This has the advan­tage that the parts are avail­able in record time and can be tested and adapted. That way the spe­cial­ists finally found the optimal format parts and parameters. 

Eduardo Sar is very sat­is­fied with the result: “By inten­sive testing and research, Harro Höfliger’s experts not only found a reli­able solu­tion for our extra­or­di­nary product – but also a very cost-effi­cient one by mod­i­fying an existing station.”

About Gador

The Argen­tine phar­ma­ceu­tical com­pany Gador was founded in 1940 and has about 1,000 employees today. In addi­tion to their head­quar­ters in Buenos Aires, the com­pany has four addi­tional sites. Quality, price and care­fully selected active ingre­di­ents are the key fac­tors that enable Gador to supply their prod­ucts to 1.5 mil­lion patients each month.

Mod­ular dosing trolley system

Dosing trol­leys sim­plify and speed up the changeover of dosing sys­tems. Whether for powder, liquid or solid filling media: The appro­priate trolley is easily inte­grated into the basic machine. The basic prin­ciple of cap­sule filling is always the same: The empty cap­sule is opened in the cap­sule turret of the Modu‑C, then it has to pass one or sev­eral filling sta­tions before it is closed again.

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Photos: Gador, Helmar Lünig