L.B. Bohle: Product Innovations for Continuous Manufacturing

The continuous manufacturing field has huge potential, according to the industry-leading company L.B. Bohle.

L.B. Bohle has significantly increased its investments in product development, employees and infrastructure over the last five years in order to accelerate operations in this sector.

For the world-renowned agile automation and intralogistics solutions company L.B. Bohle it is clear that “by introducing continuous production processes, our customers increase their process, user safety and, above all, general product quality”, states Executive Director Tim Remmert.

QbCon® 1: the ideal start to continuous production

The general public was first introduced to QbCon® 1 at Achema 2018. Since then, the unit has been successfully deployed in practice and has provided companies with valuable insights into research and development over the last two years. The advanced version of QbCon 1 transforms the traditional pharmaceutical manufacturing processes of continuous wet granulation and drying, commonly used in production until now.

Dr. Robin Meier, Bohle’s Manager Scientific Operations says:

 “QbCon 1 enables a truly continuous granulation and drying process for the first time. Our patented fluid bed drying system guarantees the material flow from the raw material to the dried granule in a closed continuous operation.”

Dr. Robin Meier emphasized the advantages over competitors adding:

“The fully automatic cleaning of the filter during the drying process is possible for the first time.”

QbCon® 1 guarantees gentle and uniform drying through gentle fluidization and conveying for the first time. (Credits: L.B. Bohle)

QbCon® 1 offers users further advantages in terms of process quality and handling:

  • Gentle, consistent drying through gentle fluidization and conveying
  • Uniform conveying of the granule from feeding to discharge
  • Very short residence time of granules in different particle sizes
  • Fast development of new products – secured scale-up
  • Convenient handling and maintenance

Superior granule drying with the BCD continuous fluid bed dryer

Until recently, available dryers on the pharma market did not meet the requirements of continuous drying. Bohle’s BCD continuous fluid bed dryer enables the implementation of a true continuous process with no interruptions. The results from the laboratory scale are also easily scalable to production size.

Focusing on the second innovation Dr. Meier states:

“Constant and continuous drying must be guaranteed to seamlessly connect to continuous wet granulation. With the BCD continuous fluid bed dryer, L.B. Bohle now enables the continuous drying of granules for the first time. “Previous dryers” only form sub-batches. However, in the BCD, we implement a truly continuous process without interruptions.”

Wet granules are continuously produced and fall gravimetrically into the dryer without the need for any additional transport actions, where they are dried in a continuous process. The constant conveying of the wet granules from the dryer inlet towards its outlet is achieved by a controllable movement. This guarantees gentle and exceedingly uniform drying.

Since the movement is so gentle, virtually no back-mixing occurs, and all granules (even those in different particle sizes) are dried for the same period of time. Innovative product filters ensure days of operation without having to interrupt the continuous granulation process. As a consequence, even for finely micronized drugs, there is no loss of quality.

Executive Director Tim Remmert:

“The BCD fluid bed dryer is the ideal tool for the continuous manufacturing of high-quality products on a laboratory and production scale.”

The implementation of Process Analytical Technology (PAT), for example for the constant in-line determination of granule moisture content and for feedback control of the process, also ensures the highest process and product quality. The BCD can be used within the QbCon® 1 laboratory machine for throughputs of 0.25-2.5 kg/h or for production sizes up to 25 kg/h. It is available in different sizes to make production more efficient and improve quality.

 No formation of sub-batches: the BCD is the only fully continuous dryer on the market. (Credits: L.B. Bohle)

Advantages of the BCD continuous fluid bed dryer:

  • Groundbreaking fully continuous drying without the formation of sub-batches 
  • Easy set-up and convenient operation
  • Exceedingly long service life of the product filters without process interruptions
  • PAT probes only in contact with dry product – no unwanted product adhesion
  • Very short mean residence times and narrow residence time distributions 
  • Small in-process volume 
  • Selective rejection of “bad product” possible
  • Four degrees of freedom to control the drying process
  • Uniform drying across all particle sizes
  • Gentle drying process: No formation of fines in the process, even for highly porous granules
  • Extremely fast execution of experimental designs with minimum product expenditure for rapid product development

For more information please contact L.B. Bohle today at info@lbbohle.de or complete the Quick Contact form.