Effect of speed, loading and spray pattern on coating variability in a pan coater


A. Dubey, D. Brone, F.J. Muzzio, K. Saranteas, R. Hsia, T. Misra




Chemical Engineering Science



A computational study using the discrete element method was performed to study the effect of pan speed, fill level and the design of the spray pattern on the coating variability of tablets coated in a rotating pan. The method simulates the movement of tablets in the pan and calculates the residence time of each tablet inside the spray zone, which is directly related to the amount of coating received by the tablet. The computational method was experimentally validated using a Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy based analytical method. The simulations showed that the axial mixing was the most critical parameter affecting the coating variability. Although axial mixing was found to be better at higher pan speed, it did not affect the coating variability significantly. Lower variability was obtained when a 100% fill level was used as compared to 67% fill. Four spray patterns were used, two idealized (full surface spray and a symmetric band spray) and two realistic (5-ellipse and 5-circular spray guns). The full and band spray showed similar results while the ellipse and circular patterns were similar to each other (and much worse than the other two patterns) at all speeds and fill levels.


Computer simulation, dem, LIBS, Mechanistic process modeling, Pan coating, Tablet coating variability

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