An investigation into the impact of magnesium stearate on powder feeding during roller compaction

Jason Dawes, John F Gamble, Richard Greenwood, Phil Robbins, Mike Tobyn
Drug Development and Industrial Pharmacy 2012, 38 (1): 111-22
A systematic evaluation on the effect of magnesium stearate on the transmission of a placebo formulation from the hopper to the rolls during screw fed roller compaction has been carried out. It is demonstrated that, for a system with two 'knurled' rollers, addition of 0.5% w/w magnesium stearate can lead to a significant increase in ribbon mass throughput, with a consequential increase in roll gap, compared to an unlubricated formulation (manufactured at equivalent process conditions). However, this effect is reduced if one of the rollers is smooth. Roller compaction of a lubricated formulation using two smooth rollers was found to be ineffective due to a reduction in friction at the powder/roll interface, i.e. powder was not drawn through the rollers leading to a blockage in the feeding system. An increase in ribbon mass throughput could also be achieved if the equipment surfaces were pre-lubricated. However this increase was found to be temporary suggesting that the residual magnesium stearate layer was removed from the equipment surfaces. Powder sticking to the equipment surfaces, which is common during pharmaceutical manufacturing, was prevented if magnesium stearate was present either in the blend, or at the roll surface. It is further demonstrated that the influence of the hopper stirrer, which is primarily used to prevent bridge formation in the hopper and help draw powder more evenly into the auger chamber, can lead to further mixing of the formulation, and could therefore affect a change in the lubricity of the carefully blended input material.

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