How Trantec Serves the Pharmaceutical Industry…

Trantec designed and manufactured a range of materials handling solutions for the pharmaceutical process industry. Products include Metering Screw Feeders, Powder Samplers, and augers (typically used in Filling Machines, Pocket Fillers, Powder Samplers, Batch Feeders, and of course, Metering Feeders).

Their strict, unique legislation and the need for sanitary cleanliness requires for certain requirements to be in place. Below are a few examples:

  • Complete containment of product – No bug traps and equipment must be completely air tight. This is to avoid cross contamination.
  • CIP and SIP (Clean-in-Place and Sterilise-in-Place).
  • Strict hygiene standards and regulations to be followed.

Industry Needs…

Due to the unique legislation of the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry, it is imperative that stainless steel is used for the construction of machinery. Any other contact parts will generally be manufactured from stainless or an alternative FDA approved material.

All Trantec pharmaceutical screw feeders are manufactured from 316 stainless steel and are welded with a ground crevice-free or mirror (0.2Ra) finish to ensure a contamination-free process be in place.

Trantec’s Metering Feeders are available with many additional easy-clean features, such as our quick-release option. Our powder feeders are modular in design, offering full customisation of equipment to meet your application requirements, or just to have the latest upgrades! A few examples of the modules we offer are below:

  • Motor drive upgrades – A choice of AC, DC, servo, stepper, or stainless (for the full sanitary solution).
  • Trantec Cartridge Shaft Seals – Manufactured from approved material PTFE-GF, available as fixed, removable, or disposable. High accessibility shaft/drive/seal module also available.
  • Level detection probes – Prevent your powder metering devices from running empty, preventing the risk of damage to your equipment.
  • Easy Clean – Quick-release options available. Strip down your machine in minutes for rapid cleardown, saving precious time and money.
  • CIP (Clean-in-Place) / SIP (Sterilise-in-Place).
  • Metal detectable gaskets.
  • A variety of polish finishes, including ground crevice free, electro-polish, and mirror finish.
  • Integrated safety lock and switch.
  • Integrated Weighing Base & Control System – add gravimetric configurations for loss-in-weight feeding and loss-in-weight/gain-in-weight batching.

All ATEX zoned areas are covered, with ATEX rated machinery available upon request.

Pharmaceutical Augers in Today’s Solids Handling Industry…

Pharmaceutical augers demand the highest integrity along with the greatest overall polish finish.

Fabricated augers can suffer from various defects, some of which will present problems in any application, however, are most impacting with pharmaceutical or medical applications. Pharmaceutical augers will traditionally be manufactured in stainless steel with helicoid flights welded onto a central core. Fabrication does, however, have a few setbacks:

  • The accuracy of the flights is usually reliant on the “eye” of the welder/fabricator and can vary by large amounts. Variations in flight, pitch, and diameter affect the augers action in propelling product. Uneven flow patterns are produced, which affect accuracy. Trantec augers are manufactured using computer controlled machine tooling, boasting accuracies exceeding 0.01mm in diameter and pitch.
  • Two issues are associated with welding austenitic stainless steel augers; sensitisation of the weld heat-affected zone and hot cracking of the weld material.

Stainless steel resists corrosion by forming a thin passive film, known as chromium oxide. Welding produces a heat zone on either side of the weld which creates chromium carbide, resulting in a reduced corrosion resistance in this area.

Click here to find out more about Trantec’s Pharmaceutical Augers.

How Trantec Overcame These Problems…

Trantec manufactured augers, produced through our machining process, do not require any welding and do not suffer from these obstacles:

  • Stainless steels coefficient of thermal expansion is 30-50% greater than that of carbon steels. Welding stainless steel produces larger distortion than other metals.
  • Fabricated augers require additional work to strengthen them which can add to their internal stresses.

Trantec’s augers require minimal post-production straightening and mostly require no straightening at all. This is particularly important with small diameter screws.

Welding flights onto a central core will require a weld on both sides of the helical strip. Even with the most skilful welders, these welds need grinding and dressing to produce a crevice-free finish, as required in any pharmaceutical application.

Our tooling is specifically selected to produce a fillet between the centre core and the flights, which is part of the original metal. Minimal dressing is required, saving you time and lowering costs!

The final process of manufacturing a pharmaceutical grade auger is polishing:

  • Mechanical polishing removes metal to impart the correct surface texture and roughness.
  • Smooth surfaces are essential to help reduce the likelihood of product build up, and subsequently “bug traps”.
  • Smooth surfaces are easier to wipe clean manually, or when using CIP for liquid run-off and debris removal.
Top Quality Sanitary Finishes…

Mechanical polishing is often time-consuming and involves removing metal progressively using a series of finer abrasives. The poorer the starting surface finish, the longer and more laborious the process. Fabricated augers can take many hours to hone into a fine “mirror” finish, mostly due to poor starting conditions.

Using progressively finer cutting tools and cuts, our augers often enter the polishing process at a much later stage (around 240 grit). Finishes of <0.2 Ra µm can be produced in less than an hour. Less production time reduces costs, the benefit of which we pass on to our customers.

Material Testing & Trials:

Trantec understands the importance of comprehensive product testing. We choose to work closely alongside all our clients to ensure that the correct solution is chosen first-time. For further information concerning sending your material to us for testing, please click HERE to be redirected to the relevant page.

four pills on a clear background
An image of a Metering Feeder constructed in 316 stainless steel, front right view.
An image of a Metering Feeder constructed in 316 stainless steel, top view looking inside Feeder body.
A drive shaft on a clear background