Continuous Mixing Technology: Characterization of a vertical mixer using residence time distribution

Continuous powder mixing technology (CMT) application during continuous direct compression has emerged as a leading technology used in the development and manufacture of solid oral dosage forms. The critical quality attributes of the final product are heavily dependent on the performance of the mixing step as the quality of mixing directly influences the drug product quality attributes. This study investigates the impact of blend material properties (bulk density, API particle size distribution) and process parameters (process throughput, hold up mass and impeller speed) on the mixing performance.

Mixing of the blend was characterized using the Residence Time Distribution (RTD) of the process by trending the outlet stream of the mixer using a near-infrared (NIR) probe after the injection of a small mass of tracer at the inlet stream. The outcomes of this study show that the RTDs of the mixer with throughput ranging between 15 – 30kg/hr; impeller speed ranging between 400 – 600 rpm and hold up mass (HUM) ranging between 500 – 850 grams can be described by a series of two ideal Continuous Stirred Tank Reactors (CSTRs) with different volumes, and correspondingly, different mean residence times. It is also observed that the mixing is mainly occurring in the lower chamber of the CMT and the normalized RTDs of the mixer are similar across the range of process conditions and material attributes studied.

The results also showed that the formulation blend with different API particle sizes and bulk properties, like bulk density and flowability, provide insignificant impact on the mixing performance. The CMT allows independent selection of target set points for HUM, impeller rotational speed and line throughput and it shows great robustness and flexibility for continuous blending in solid oral dose manufacturing. More on continuous mixing technology

Article information: Kai Lee, James Kimber, Giuseppe Cogoni, Jenna Brandon, David Wilsdon, Hugh Verrier, Sally Grieb, Daniel Blackwood, Ashwinkumar Jain, Pankaj Doshi. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2021.

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