Granulators for Pharmaceutical Market – The Story of Pill Formation
Granulators are rotor machines that converts fine powder to granules via a series of physical process. Granulation is process in which small particles are gathered together to form a large permanent mass, which can identify original particles. The granulation has applications in pharmaceutical drug manufacturing for making of tablets, capsules, and other forms of medicines. The granulated material is obtained by size enlargement of primary particles or size reduction from dry compacted material. The multi-particle entities that are formed as a result of granulation creates bond between the particles through compression with the help of a binding agent. Granulation is one of the most important unit operations involved in the production of pharmaceutical oral dosage forms. Furthermore, granulation is carried out with the help of granulators that are available in different technologies. The pharmaceutical drug manufacturing companies choose one of these granulators based on the demand from the drug and its formulation. They help to deliver correct form of dosage and maintain the chemical integrity of pharmaceutical product. The expansion of pharmaceutical manufacturing units and new pharmaceutical players entering in the market are the primary factors responsible for growth of the granulators for pharmaceutical market. For instance, in 2013, the Supreme Council of Health Pharmacy and Drug Control Department of Qatar announced three new domestic drug manufacturers to cut down on drug importing and start production within the economy for a number of drugs and vaccines.
The global granulators for pharmaceutical market was valued at US$ 5,486.44 million in 2016 and is expected to witness a steady CAGR of 5.40% over the forecast period (2017 - 2025).
Figure 1. Global Granulators for Pharmaceutical Market (US$ Mn), by Region, 2016
Several initiatives taken by governmental and non-governmental organization to scale up pharmaceutical manufacturing process leading to number of new and existing players entering the production sector are major factors driving the market growth. The entry of local players in the pharmaceutical industry is accompanied by funding and subsidies provided to these players in terms of facility & equipment set-up helps the companies to start small and mid-sized manufacturing units. Granulators are an integral part of these units, as these are the primary stage unit processors in oral dosage formulations. For instance, according to the provisions of 2015 - 16 Union Budget of India, a national center to develop bulk drugs and facilitate their research was set up in Hyderabad. Automation of drug development procedure involves installation of upgraded automatic instruments, which is propelling demand for pharmaceutical granulators. For instance, in July 2017 Boehringer Ingelheim invested US$ 217 Million to upgrade and expand its manufacturing facility in Fremont, California. Furthermore, in 2012 the new release for GMP upgrade of a production facility for solid pharmaceuticals includes procurement of new production equipment such as granulator and dryer, capsule deduster, and others.
In terms of region, North America dominated the global granulators for pharmaceutical market, owing to presence of leading pharmaceutical manufacturers in the region with huge production plants that involve mass manufacturing and development of oral pharmaceutical drugs. Moreover, the production facility expansion by existing pharmaceutical players and startup of new production plant by emerging market players in the pharmaceutical industry are also contributing to growth of North America region in the granulators market. In September 2017, Fresenius Kabi announced an investment of US$ 250 million investment to establish a pharmaceutical plant in Illinois for aseptic manufacturing of pharmaceutical drugs in the company’s portfolio. In March 2017, Apotex, Inc. a Canadian pharmaceutical company announced an investment of US$ 184 million for expansion of advanced manufacturing and R&D facility in Florida. Moreover, Asia Pacific is expected to witness a significant traction in the granulators market, owing to major investments by global and regional pharmaceutical players for expansion of the production units. For instance, in March 2018, Merck KGaA invested US$ 47 million for expansion of manufacturing plants in South Korea and India to develop biologics and other pharmaceutical drugs. Furthermore, emerging economies in Asia Pacific such as India has a considerable manufacturing expertise and holds a significant position in production of various number of generic drugs and vaccines. According to Indian Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF) 2017, India accounted for around 20% of global exports in generic drugs and has an immense potential for growth. However, high cost associated with these systems, which make them unaffordable for small emerging players due to limited investment capacity is expected to hinder the market growth.
Market players focused on development of innovative products to maintain leading position in global granulators for pharmaceutical market
The key players are developing novel, innovative, and smart products to maintain leading position in granulators market. For instance, in July 2017, Wittmann introduced a new G-Max 23 granulator, which is a flexible, custom-made granulator that consumes less energy and delivers high performance. Moreover, in 2015, Bosch GmBH developed a new granulation unit Granulean, which is a novel pharmaceutical granulator that collectively carries out the process of mixing, granulating, and drying of the pharmaceutical granules.
Key players operating in the global granulators for pharmaceutical market include Bosch Packaging Technology, Alexanderwerk, GEA Pharma Systems, Frewitt Pharma Machinery, Diosna, Fluid Air, Inc., Romako Pharmatechnik GmbH, and Gebrüder Lödige Maschinenbau GmbH.
Granulators are high speed rotor mills designed to convert a particle powder into sizeable granules. Granulation is a process of binding one or two material together making larger particles by using binding agents such as sugars and natural binders or synthetic polymers. Granulation is performed to improve flow properties of powdered active ingredient, it eases compression during tablet manufacturing. Also, it prevents segregation of the powdered substance. Granulation is performed by two methods, wet granulation and dry granulation. The choice of method depends on characteristics of powder and objective of tablet manufacturing. It refers to the process of size enlargement of pharmaceutical ingredients to prevent segregation of constituents in the powder mix. Granulation is commonly used for production of oral formulation of drugs that usually comprises tablets, pills, and capsules.
The granulators for pharmaceutical market is driven by increasing number of new pharmaceutical companies with new manufacturing units, as a result of high demand for medications worldwide. Moreover, the manufacturing unit expansion of existing pharmaceutical giants that invest a significant revenue into R&D for innovative medications is also one of the significant factor driving the market growth. For instance, according to a survey report published by FDA in 2016, the top 15 pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. invested an estimated 20.5% of their pharmaceutical sales back into Research and development to develop and manufacture new drug. Scaling up of pharmaceutical production is thus one of the factors expected to foster growth of the market. However, the high costs of these equipment makes them unaffordable for emerging companies with low capital investments, which is restraining growth of the market.
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