Hard gel capsule

Preparations - Hard gel capsule

In contrast to soft gelatine capsules, hard gelatine capsules are filled with solid goods, for example powder or granules and small tablets. The capsule shells themselves are often made by contract manufacturers and are available in eight different sizes, transparent or opaque in a wide range of colours. The vast majority of capsules are made of gelatine or vegan alternatives and coatings where appropriate. The advantage is that the coating can be enteric-coated so that the active ingredient is absorbed in the intestine. A wide range of colours and prints can also be used, which enables the producer to make the drug easily recognisable to the consumer.

Object-specific challenges

Product features

The two halves of the capsule are formed and the bottom of the capsule is loaded with the drug filling material using various processes. The top of the capsule is then plugged on, often giving the two parts mechanical stability by having grooves or cams in the capsule to increase adhesion to each other.

Because of this step, there may be differences in the length of the capsule produced. Also, two capsule tops can sometimes be hidden from each other. And in addition, residues of the often white filling material can occur on the shell and packaging, which must be detected.

Recommended system for the inspection of capsules

For the inspection of basic hard-gel capsules, scanware recommends Colour Product Inspection SPECTRA CL. In case of print on the shells, the largest software package available is required. For post-seal inspection or or if the product-foil combination causes strong reflections, the high-resolution inspection system SPECTRA HR is required. Transparent capsules with heterogeneous contents can also be inspected with this inspection system, where applicable 3D inspection can also be suitable.


Highlights of the inspection system

  • Outstanding speed based on real-time operating system QNX®
  • All parameters can be applied simultaneously – at the same high speed
  • The automatic teach-in enables a fast transition to production. Object position, blister geometry and product colour are detected automatically.
  • The illumination is homogeneous, reproducible and adjustable in 16 brightness levels
  • The system can be upgraded at any time to the high-resolution product inspection SPECTRA HR in order to inspect special applications.
  • Lane and pocket-specific fill statistics for optimising production and analysing faults in the feeding process. The visualisation of the statistics makes the detection of serial defects particularly easy.

Inspection criteria

  • Colour
  • Presence
  • Size
  • Shape
  • Circumference
  • Position
  • Fragments
  • Overfilling
  • Surface defects
  • Consecutive error

Advanced inspection tasks

Gelatine capsules with print

The inspection of hard gel capsules with print is a challenge, especially in aluminium blisters, as the black print and the blister often have the same colour values. Here scanware has developed an algorithm for calculating the envelope curve, with the help of which the colour of the print can be attributed to the product and not to the background. In this way, the tolerances can be kept small. This functionality is included in the largest software package and offers your company the highest level of security for this product group.

Transparent hard gelatine capsules with heterogeneous contents

In the case of transparent capsules with heterogeneous fillings such as powder, different positions of the filling material can occur, depending on which quantity of drug is distributed and how. scanware uses X-Y measurement here, with which the gelatine capsule is measured and the filling material can be localised. The 3D system can also be used to determine the amount of powder in the transparent capsules.

Two-coloured gelatine capsules in aluminium blisters

In the aluminium blister, the coloured capsule part may cause colour reflections that make detection difficult. In this case, it is advisable to use SPECTRA HR, as the separation of product and blister can be optimised thanks to the higher resolution.

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Further preparations from scanware

Inspecting the presence, integrity and quality of the ampoule's ring code.

Inspection of the presence and colour of the cap and the presence of the label.

Three-dimensional inspection excludes missing layer and offers highest safety.

3D inspection for powders in very small quantities with specially developed algorithms.

The coating is often subject to chipping, which is detected with high evaluation accuracy.

Solutions for every conceivable product and film combination as well as product shape.

Inspection of the active ingredient patches to check size, position and packaging.

Solutions for the optical inspection of fragmented and broken lozenges.

Special algorithms for position at high oblongs increase productivity.

Inspection before or after sealing, reflections are compensated.

Software based on artificial intelligence for the inspection of syringes.

Inspection of cap and presence of label, also in mixed blisters.