The nutraceutical industry is a relatively new one that focuses on prevention, promoting nutritional supplements and functional food rather than drugs. Its aim is to promote optimal health and therefore a good quality of life that will result in longevity.
The word nutriceutical (also spelt nutraceutical) is a combination of nutrient and pharmaceutical, and was officially coined by the New York-based Foundation for Innovation in Medicine in 1989. The Foundation defined the name as any substance that could be considered food or part of a food that provided health or medical benefits. They were formulated as a result of biomedical research to both prevent and treat disease, and it was anticipated that ongoing nutraceutical research would result in a new generation of foods.
According to the original concept of nutraceuticals, they could be dietary supplements and specially formulated diet foods, isolated nutrients, processed products including beverages, soups and cereals, herbal products, and genetically engineered “designer foods.” In general, they were – and still are – regarded as a powerful instrument for maintaining good health and guarding against acute and chronic conditions and diseases that are so often induced by bad nutrition.
Equipment for Manufacturing Nutraceuticals
The equipment used to manufacture nutriceuticals is the same and/or similar to that used for both pharmaceuticals and food in general. Contamination must be minimized and equipment must be set up with instrumentation that can be used to verify quality and correct formulations. Other important factors include the size of machines and tanks, functionality and productivity, as well as any services available with the equipment chosen.
Specific equipment for manufacturing, storage and quality control (QC) checks of nutriceuticals include:
- Vertical flow stations that incorporate efficient air filters and are operated using touchscreen controls.
- Environmental test chambers with humidity, temperature and vibration chambers.
- Manual or automated adjustable-shelf desiccators with stainless steel racks and anything from one to ten chambers.
- Vacuum dry evaporation systems that may be used instead of more traditional centrifugal systems. These machines use vacuum together with heat and a whirling vortex movement to speed up evaporation.
- Homogenizers for sampling.
- Infrared moisture analyzers.
- Hot plates and stirring hot plates as well as compact magnetic stirrers with microprocessor controls.
- General laboratory refrigerators and freezers, as well as combination units.
Packaging Equipment for Nutraceutical Supplements
In addition to quality production and inspection equipment, the right packaging equipment is required for the nutraceutical products produced. This of course depends on the type of product. For instance, a company manufacturing supplements in the form of gummies rather than capsules or tablets will need straight-sided packaging with a wider mouth than usual. Straight sides make it easier to pour the gummies out, and a wider opening makes it easier for consumers to pick them out with their fingers. While packaging could be printed, brightly colored gummies look great in clear polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is good for marketing. If the contents of the package or bottle are not attractive, it’s preferable to use opaque PET or high-density polyethylene (HDPE) containers.
Light-sensitive items, like effervescent tablets, need to be packed in sealed foil packs with four sides. This means a heat-sealing machine will be required to stop the fragile tablets from splitting or breaking.
In general, automated and robotic systems are more flexible and they ensure a highly precise operation.
Our customers pride themselves on the healthy solutions they provide, including Mazza Innovation’s extraction of high-value plant bioactives.
If you are also in the market for quality used equipment for processing and packaging nutriceuticals, contact SMB Sales to see how we can help.
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