Dry granulation is an agglomeration process used to produce size-enlarged particles (granules), improving the handling properties of powders such as flowability. In this process, powders are compacted using a roll press to produce ribbons, which are milled in granules used further in the tableting process. The granule and tablet properties are influenced by the existence of different designs of the roll compactors, milling systems and the interaction between process parameters and raw material properties. The main objective of this work was to investigate how different roll-compaction conditions and milling process parameters impact on ribbons, granules and tablet properties, highlighting the role of the sealing system (cheek plates and rimmed roll). In this context, two common excipients differing in their mechanical behaviour (MCC and mannitol) are used. The study is based on the analysis of granule size distribution together with the characterization of loss of compactability during die compaction.
Results show that the tensile strength of tablets is lower when using granules than when the raw materials are compressed. Moreover, the plastic material (MCC) is more sensitive than the brittle one (mannitol). Regarding the roll-force, it is observed that the higher the roll force, the lower the tensile strength of tablets from granulated material is. These findings are in agreement with the literature. The comparison of sealing systems shows that the rimmed-roll system leads to slightly stronger tablets than the use of cheek plates. In addition, the use of the rimmed-roll system reduces the amount of fines, in particular when high roll force is applied. Overall, it can be concluded that roll-compaction effect is predominant over the milling effect on the production of fines but less significant on the tablet properties. This study points out that the balance between a good flowability by reducing the amount of fines and appropriate tablet strength is achieved with rimmed-roll and the highest roll-force used.