Optimizing Direct Compaction Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Improves Efficiency and Cuts Costs

Achievement date: 
2013
Outcome/accomplishment: 

Researchers at the NSF-funded Engineering Research Center (ERC) for Structured Organic Particulate Systems (CSOPS) at headquartered at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, have developed an integrated modeling and flowsheet optimization algorithm for stochastic simulations. The researchers have applied their theory to optimize a direct compaction manufacturing process, a technique widely used in the production of pharmaceutical tablets.

Impact/benefits: 

When solid particles flow through a production line, the process is subject to perturbation that causes abrupt spikes and inconsistencies. In order to account for this, abrupt and often imprecise changes are needed for optimization. The algorithm developed by CSOPS employs a steady change and has been tested against several well-documented problems in optimization. Their methods are able to produce pharmaceutical tablets at the lowest possible cost, including accounting for off-spec specimens.

Explanation/Background: 

Pharmaceutical manufacturing processes need to reach steady-state operating conditions for effective production. During start-up and shut-down phases, time and potential product are wasted because of abrupt and imprecise step changes. The technique resulting from this research applies gradual ramp changes to minimize wasted material and ultimately minimizes cost.