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Encapsulation: raising the bar

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A case study from ACG Worldwide on tackling a customer’s problem arising from a particularly challenging sticky formulation, Shaikh Chand, DGM – Technical Service explains in detail

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Shaikh Chand

Evolution of the encapsulation process, from manual and semi-automatic machines has now reached a stage of complete automation. Encapsulation today, is at a stage where, machines are being customised to suit varying and dynamic applications. Incremental advancements in technology to realise the 99 per cent yield potential is the requirement of the industry. The expectation from efficient encapsulation still remains high yield and ultimately ‘value delivered’ to all stakeholders, justifying the substantial capital equipment investment.

Conservation of energy

The law of physics states, that energy in one form has to transform into another for balance to be maintained. A similar phenomena needs to be realised in the technology-intensive encapsulation industry. Any incremental advancement in technology or customisation, ideally should translate into “value” to the stakeholder. This value can embody cost savings, a larger top line and/or a healthier bottom line.

ACG Worldwide embarked on this journey of technological evolution, way back in time. For years, ACG has been committed to improving productivity, yield, and cost efficiencies for our partners. The ACG Technical Services team accomplishes this in their regular interactions with their partners. The years of domain expertise enables them to expertly identify, analyse and exploit otherwise, inconspicuous opportunities of improvement.

A sticky situation

A case in point of this expertise are the solutions provided by the ACG Technical Services team to one of our customers to help tackle problems arising from a particularly challenging sticky formulation. To add to the challenge were the rigorous standards of the regulated market, the customer was operating in.

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A problem well-stated is half solved

The ACG Technical Services team approached this case with defining as clearly as possible the problem. More apparent consequences of this situation were low yield, drop in productivity, excessive machine downtime, heavy product loss along the process and excessive wear and tear of the components.

To get to the root of the problem, ACG Technical Services team studied the formulation across multiple batches, machines and in capsules from different suppliers. ACG’s Technical Services team strength lies in process efficiencies thus is able to improve yield in parameters other than those that are process related.

Thinking made visual

The corrective action was thus, restricted to the design of the machine. Customised parts, training of personnel and additional technical support were few of the many improvements incorporated to improve yield and productivity. These changes addressed all machine related complexities arising from the use of that particular sticky formulation. The solutions provided to the customer were for long-term impact. The post change validation ensured that the customised parts were sustainable and integrative in nature. These intangible benefits to the customer made the implementation of changes extremely operator-friendly, thus ensuring sustainability of the optimisation.

Maximising results

The result of this exercise was beneficial multi-fold. Increase in yield to a 98 per cent+ and improved productivity coupled with reduced machine downtime translated into costs saved and profits earned.

On an average, an additional 7 million capsules could be filled per machine after this change.

Ceteris Paribus i.e. all other factors remaining unchanged, this led to an increase in top line by half a million dollars annually, and naturally a much healthier bottom line. In the current industry trends, where continuous technological advancement is a pre-requisite, the one constant that ACG strives for, is adding value to its customers and it is ACG’s Technical Services team that ensures that it is able to deliver this benefit throughout the customer engagement with ACG.

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