Fabtech’s Think Tank – Making It Possible

February 23, 2022

Fabtech’s Think Tank – Making It Possible

Back during the World War II, several military jargons came to be used in discussions on strategic planning and execution. In tune with the ongoing wars all around, the top decision making authorities then began to be referred to as “Think Tank”.

However, over a period of time, the terminology found its reference broadened as it began to include individuals with expertise and experience in research, innovations, policy formulations, monitoring and evaluation in various sectors viz. NGOs, healthcare, academics, corporates etc. The evolution of the term ‘Think Tank’ is to a large extent justified, as it seems to be about people capable of digging deep and pooling in information like a water tank, and moving on like an army tank. 

Today, think tanks work on a ‘swim or sink model’ with some of the ideas successfully sailing through while some getting drowned or disrupted. But in the end, it takes a skilled swimmer to drift away from the waves so as to survive even in rough waters. 

Talking about think tanks of the pharma technology, it is customary for us to come across many demand driven jobs and arrive at efficient and effective solutions. However, recently, an unprecedented requirement by a Thailand based company came up that seemed to be quite distinct from our regular deliverables.

Contrary to a conventional coating pan, the case in question was to develop a contained auto coater with 4 interchangeable pans. With many of our key competitors giving it a pass citing its non-feasibility, the project did appear to be a complex mix.  Yet despite the uncertainty, there was something that kept propelling us to make it happen. And that’s when our think tanks went cracking on it. 

This time the challenge and opportunity came hand in hand.

While 3 interchangeable panel machines had already found their footing in the market, this particular project seem to be unviable and needed a complete redesigning of the model and starting it from scratch.

We began developing 4 distinct size pans encompassing a single motor and a coupling. These were made to work together to not only stay intact and operational but also be effectively integrated into one single isolator and give the required batch size. Since the requirement was to build an oncology facility, the potency of the drug played a crucial role. The criticality of the project called for manufacturing of a contained auto coater. And as the size of the pan and the capacity of the pan have direct bearing on each other, greater importance was attached to enable easy operation of the isolator, and therefore the size of the inlet and the outlet were also designed to be the same.

Another concern was acquainting the clients with the all aspects of the wet scrubber since they seemed hesitant about its usage.  As we were cognizant of the effectiveness of the wet scrubber, the same were laid down before the client. As a result, fabrication of wet scrubber was undertaken and that only led to strengthening of our mutual trust.

But, for us just reaching the optimal match with the requirement of the client wasn’t enough. With our continued endeavour to provide holistic benefits and not leave room for any uncertainty, we integrated a pass box within the system to ensure safe, effective and contaminant-free transfer of the tablet from one room to the other. 

Where everything fits in, yet everything stands out!

Considering the manufacturing of development batches to production scale, from 3 to 75 kg tablets, the equipment is designed through easily interchangeable pans of 36, 24, 18 & 12 inches. In line with the 21 CFR part 211 compliance requirements, all critical process parameters are duly covered, resulting in achieving critical quality parameters for coated tablets.

The project truly stands unabated and can be regarded as an excellent laboratory automation system that guarantees remarkable performance and user-friendly operation. Its perfect mixing of the cores allows a wide range of batches to be processed in the same coating machine.

This novel innovation serves a demonstratively greater purpose for customers to extensively use the machine for tablet coating along with fulfilling the requirements for functional and non-functional coatings. Its user friendly dismantling and reassembling brings with it an efficient CIP system and promises time saving.

Having said that, at one point of time, we were quite apprehensive of the possible impediments, with the success of the project remaining to be seen even till the final FAT. In hindsight though this technological leap is on way to be installed in Thailand.

Our journey with this client has virtually come as a reminder that “nothing is impossible”.

Stay tuned as we shall soon take you through the facility!

Process

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