Continuous Tumbling Improves Drug Manufacture

Achievement date: 

A research group at the NSF-funded Engineering Research Center (ERC) for Structured Organic Particulate Systems (CSOPS) at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, has created a continuous tumble mixing system for processing active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs).


API mixing is currently performed in batches using blenders, double cones, and tumblers. The continuous tumble mixer combines the advantages of a low-shear batch tumble mixer with the advantages of a continuous system. The researchers have also created a novel control algorithm to manage the system. The technology developed from this research can increase the production rates and quality of drugs. A provisional patent has been granted for the apparatus designed by CSOPS.


This project was designed to address the shortcomings of batch API production. Batch systems are used for processing delicate products like APIs because the shear induced by continuous flow systems can alter the chemical and mechanical properties of the product. However, using continuous systems provides advantages in production time, quality, and process control, especially when scaled up for mass manufacturing. The continuous tumbler eliminates the shearing problem and allows for any inconsistencies and errors to be addressed in line. In batch processing, all of the product could be lost. Continuous tumbling provides the advantages of continuous flow along with the advantages of batch tumbling.