Every integrity testing machine for pharmaceutical products is the result of a long phase of study and design, necessary to provide the customer with an optimal solution in terms of reliability, efficiency, durability, and integration in its production line.
The design phase involves more than just the technological and mechanical aspects of automation; great attention also needs to be paid to the choice of materials to be used in manufacturing various machine components. Procuring the right materials is a fundamental step in offering customers products that fully meet their needs, operate optimally, and maintain their efficiency over time.
The choice of materials for a pharmaceutical testing machine depends on many factors.
The first step generally involves identifying the mechanical characteristics required of the machine's material. Calculating the machine’s operating conditions provide a very clear picture of the characteristics and behaviors that the chosen material must have.
Preliminary calculations identify an optimal set of materials that are appropriate for the machine's use, price and working environment. However, many other variables come into play after this starting line has been established. International regulations require that some machines, for example, be manufactured entirely of certified materials. This demand places a whole series of limitations on the choices that can be made during the design phase. We need to consider the need for materials that can also withstand aggressive washing, which can lead designers to prefer stainless steel over other less suitable materials, and so on.
Assessing the company’s specific requirements and compliance with regulatory demands radically influence the choice of one material over another, and this must be considered right from the earliest stages of machine design.
Once the type of material has been chosen, the design process proceeds, defining increasingly detailed aspects, such as the type of surface treatment to be applied to individual machine components.
The parts of the machine that come into direct contact with the product must be polished to prevent friction that could damage the test sample. We also must ensure the product slides through the machine smoothly. Powders such as PTFE can be applied to metal parts to reduce friction on plastic products.
Component surface treatments are also needed to protect certain materials and ensure they stand up to aggressive washing and sanitizing. To solve these problems, each customer's specific needs must be evaluated and addressed. Thanks to our suppliers, options are examined, and the most suitable type of treatment is identified, from nickel plating for aluminum components, to cataphoresis for iron or steel engineering solutions, to hardening treatments on critical elements like machine cams.
Lastly, we need to take great care when selecting materials for machine parts that perform specific functions, such as small components bearing high loads, or large components that need certain dynamic behaviors. In these situations, we often use special alloys, like nickel-chromium-molybdenum steel for shafts that are put under extreme strain, or specially treated Ergal (an aluminum alloy), for its mechanical characteristics protecting it against corrosive agents.
The selection of the best materials is not based solely on a structural calculation: every project is studied in-depth, choosing the materials that are most suited to each task the machine will have to perform and taking our customers’ specific needs into account.
Every Bonfiglioli Engineering machine is designed and commissioned in this way: beginning from the challenges presented by our customers and devising dedicated solutions to create reliable tools that are the fruit of long-term expertise, experience and passion.