The SP15 NIR Blender features a Zeiss Corona Near Infrared (NIR) system that has been integrated into the blender.
The system is able to identify different materials with different NIR absorption spectra, then track changes in the spectrum during the blending process. Monitoring these changes can indicate the degree of homogeneity within the container and can give a blending end point without the need to stop the process to take samples, according to Buck Systems.
Unlike non-integrated systems, the SP15 NIR provides a permanent power supply to the Corona head and removes the need for batteries to be mounted on the rotating frame. This eliminates the potential for the battery voltage to affect the process measurements and extends the running time of the machine indefinitely, says the company.
In addition to the standard Corona system, Buck Systems has also developed an extended range version using an InGaS spectrometer that is capable of measuring wavelengths up to 2200 nano meter, which enables detection of an even wider range of actives, excipients and lubricants.
The whole spectrometer and radiofrequency communication system is fully enclosed within the body of the blender which makes the whole system much more robust and easy to clean. In addition, the SP15 also features the company's recently introduced DN50 Buck HC Valve. This allows the powder to be sampled during processing without any risk of contamination.
After processing, it is possible to discharge the blended powder through the DN50 to a further process, again without risk of contamination. The Buck Valve technology is also used on larger production plant so using this technology during R&D, making scale-up to full production easier.
An additional feature of the Buck systems blenders is the removable blending prism. The prism can improve blending times by acting as a low-shear mixing blade as the powder is tumbled within the IBC. The prism does not need to be removed for cleaning, which would compromise the containment, but may be removed to investigate the benefits that can be obtained from using the prism.
Current investigations into the blending process include the use of positron emission technology to visualise the blending process in 3D. Papers on this will be presented later this year, said the company.