Multivariate statistical process control of a continuous pharmaceutical twin-screw granulation and fluid bed drying process

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A multivariate statistical process control (MSPC) strategy was developed for the monitoring of the ConsiGma™-25 continuous tablet manufacturing line. Thirty-five logged variables encompassing three major units, being a twin screw high shear granulator, a fluid bed dryer and a product control unit, were used to monitor the process. The MSPC strategy was based on principal component analysis of data acquired under normal operating conditions using a series of four process runs. Runs with imposed disturbances in the dryer air flow and temperature, in the granulator barrel temperature, speed and liquid mass flow and in the powder dosing unit mass flow were utilized to evaluate the model's monitoring performance. The impact of the imposed deviations to the process continuity was also evaluated using Hotelling's T2 and Q residuals statistics control charts. The influence of the individual process variables was assessed by analyzing contribution plots at specific time points. Results show that the imposed disturbances were all detected in both control charts. Overall, the MSPC strategy was successfully developed and applied. Additionally, deviations not associated with the imposed changes were detected, mainly in the granulator barrel temperature control.

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