FlexLink launches two new conveyor chains - one with a flat friction top for high-speed applications and another with a goosebump surface for handling wet products.

The flat-top friction chain ensures safe handling of lightweight products, such as blisterpacks or small boxes, at high speed transportation. It also allows conveying of products in up to 30° inclines or declines, without the need for cleated links.

The goosebump chain is especially developed for applications with small, light products in wet or greasy environments. The uneven surface prevents the products from sticking to the chain.

FlexLink has developed a platform for efficient manufacturing based on pallet systems, and RFID solutions for track and trace and efficient production flow.

FlexLink presents pallet-based production logistic systems suitable for automation of various machining operations and optimisation of production flows. The system is equipped with RFID solutions for track and trace capability of individual products, and a CO² laser-marking system. The system can run mixed flows and customer order-initiated production. Moreover, it is based on FlexLink standard functions and components.

The standard pallets are equipped with RFID tags for identification, line control to give the product its given route and to record process data to the product status. The conveyor system, locating stations, diverters, mergers etc are equipped with RFID readers for the identification of the products and communication to the line control and manufacturing execution system.

With the integrated CO² laser-marking system, it is possible to write any marking on the individual products. The line control keeps track of the products and ensures that it gets its specific marking. This laser system is easy to integrate into FlexLink lines and is simple to adapt to customised applications.

The line design is compact and allows flexible routing via the line control, and diverters and mergers for the pallets / product carriers. This allows easy line balancing and operations flexibility

The Vaisala INTERCAP® Humidity and Temperature Probe HMP50 is a new small-size humidity instrument for OEM applications. The HMP50 measures relative humidity between 0% and 98% RH and temperature between -10°C and +60°C (+14°F to +140°F).

The HMP50 is among the smallest humidity instruments on the market in size and power consumption. The HMP50 has a durable IP65-classified metal housing. The cable can be detached from the probe with a quick connector to allow flexible installation. The replaceable Vaisala INTERCAP® Sensor eliminates the need for recalibration. Several output and cable options are available. Further customization for volume applications is also possible.

The HMP50 is the latest generation of small Vaisala humidity instruments, pioneered by the successful Vaisala HUMITTER® probe.

In the last years, the market of the food and nutraceutical supplements has had a remarkable development in the sales. The research for new products and the optimization of the existing ones have pushed the producers to more and more complex and peculiar formulations. It was born the need to create nutritional complements able to resist to the gastric juices with the setting up of enteric coatings. With these methods the stomach is protected from irritant substances and, at the same time, the full effectiveness of the active principle is assured. Nevertheless to mask unpleasant smell, coming from stomach, of products containing garlic, fish oils, such purpose crashes with the absence, or nearly, of coating products for food and nutraceutical use admitted by the authorities, able to confer such properties to the product.

Inside this wide nutritional field, one of the most appreciated forms, under the commercial point of view, is represented by softgels, which allow to formulate semi-solid and liquid preparations.

The request for enteric coated nutritional products has pushed us to study a biopolymer for coating film water based, constituted by a modified starch, rich in amylose, which we found suitable for soft gelatin.

Literature shows that softgel coatings are made using a coating solution with organic solvent, to avoid that water absorption causes damage to the softgels. The hydrophilic nature of the shell is the matter that mainly interests during the coating process with aqueous dispersion, because a certain amount of water can be absorbed by the shell, causing problems of softening and swelling of the softgels.

They have been therefore prepared softgel of different sizes, and once standardized on dimensions and gelatin shell composition, they have been covered using a laboratory coating pan and a premixed dispersion made with starch and other different excipients. Standard formulations for softgel capsule base have been set up for their influence on the shell characteristics and on the long-term stability of the softgel itself.

The softgel has been standardized in terms of hardness through a measurement device for flexible materials hardness determination. While applying opportune process conditions, particularly referring to core bed temperature, to coating bed rotating speed and to spraying amount, sticking problems between the softgels or adhesion to the coating bed walls have not taken place.

In order to avoid an excessive water absorption of the softgel, we had made an under coating on the softgel with volatile oils, waxes and, more generally, lypophilic material, in order to waterproof the softgel, before proceeding with the real coating.

Moreover the introduction, into the spray suspension, of materials sensitive to pH, concurs to reduce the process times, obtaining however optimal gastro resistance results.

In order to optimize the coating process for each product, new mixtures and parameters are always under development.

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