Pharmaceutical processing equipment includes typically low capacity spray dryers designed for specialty powders for continuous operations performed under strict hygienic standards.
Pharmaceutical powders are often classified as follows:
Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API)
API's are typically obtained by extraction or by chemical syntheses. Following purification e.g. crystallisation, the material is mechanically separated and then dried. These steps can often be replaced by spray drying which can control the humidity or residual solvent content, as well as create powders with a tailor-made particle size distribution.
Finished Drug Products
Finished drug products are produced by mixing/blending API with excipients (polymers, fillers, binders, etc.) and solvents according to a specific formulation, after which one or several process stages follow until the final dosage form is reached. Spray drying can often replace several of these steps in a single continuous process producing material with tailor-made powder characteristics e.g. Particle Size Distribution (PSD), density, flowability, crystalline or amorphous form.
For many materials produced by biotechnological methods, spray drying offers very economical alternatives to freeze-drying. Spray drying also offers the possibility of increasing the stability of sensitive materials by spray drying with a polymer or other stabilizers/enhancers for protection at the same time.