Sitting down with Jan-Eric Kruse, Fette Compacting’s managing direct at Interphex in New York, he told us that the company started the project roughly three years ago – although it has been in the tablet pressing business for around 60 years.
“When we look into what else we could do … this was the place to go,” said Kruse.
The new machine, the FEC40, builds off of the company’s patented Duplex Concept and its experience developing double rotary tablet presses. According to Kruse, the progression into the capsule filling business was a natural one, with already established contacts and relationships in the industry.
“Any time you start a project like this you have to think, what should we do different?” added Kruse.
For Kruse, differentiation is a huge part of the business. “We are known for handing big outputs,” he said. And while the company’s fastest tablet press reaches around 1.6m tablets per hour, Kruse explained that a capsule filling machine will never reach that.
“Changeover is a critical process in the pharmaceutical industry,” said Kruse – a process which can be extremely time consuming. “Today, many different stations have to be taken apart within the machine [before changeover],” explained Kruse.
To overcome this challenge, the company copied the design of its tablet press, and a station is removed without taking out gears drive, motors, etc., per the company’s patented assembly system. According to Kruse this dramatically reduces changeover time.
“At the end this saves times and gives you better quality,” he added.
Eventually, the company hopes to establish a dedicated capsule filling technology division.
“We have formulated unambiguous growth targets for the Group and for Fette Compacting. We want the LMT Group to achieve sales of 540 million euro by 2020, with a significant contribution being made by Fette Compacting in that we will be developing our leading position in the area of tableting technology while simultaneously tapping new areas of business,” Olaf J. Müller, CEO LMT Group and Division President Fette Compacting said in the company’s press release. “For us, capsule filling technology is a segment in which we wish to get involved and grow over the long term. This step has been considered carefully as we know the customers and their requirements on efficient production of solids.”