A calibration model for in-line API quantification based on near infrared (NIR) spectra collection during tableting in the tablet press feed frame was developed and validated. First, the measurement set-up was optimised and the effect of filling degree of the feed frame on the NIR spectra was investigated. Secondly, a predictive API quantification model was developed and validated by calculating the accuracy profile based on the analysis results of validation experiments. Furthermore, based on the data of the accuracy profile, the measurement uncertainty was determined. Finally, the robustness of the API quantification model was evaluated.
An NIR probe (SentroPAT FO) was implemented into the feed frame of a rotary tablet press (Modul™ P) to monitor physical mixtures of a model API (sodium saccharine) and excipients with two different API target concentrations: 5 and 20% (w/w). Cutting notches into the paddle wheel fingers did avoid disturbances of the NIR signal caused by the rotating paddle wheel fingers and hence allowed better and more complete feed frame monitoring. The effect of the design of the notched paddle wheel fingers was also investigated and elucidated that straight paddle wheel fingers did cause less variation in NIR signal compared to curved paddle wheel fingers. The filling degree of the feed frame was reflected in the raw NIR spectra. Several different calibration models for the prediction of the API content were developed, based on the use of single spectra or averaged spectra, and using partial least squares (PLS) regression or ratio models. These predictive models were then evaluated and validated by processing physical mixtures with different API concentrations not used in the calibration models (validation set). The β-expectation tolerance intervals were calculated for each model and for each of the validated API concentration levels (β was set at 95%). PLS models showed the best predictive performance. For each examined saccharine concentration range (i.e., between 4.5 and 6.5% and between 15 and 25%), at least 95% of future measurements will not deviate more than 15% from the true value.