Process Modeling and Simulation of Tableting : An Agent-Based Simulation Methodology for Direct Compression
In pharmaceutical manufacturing, the utmost aim is reliably producing high quality products. Simulation approaches allow virtual experiments of processes in the planning phase and the implementation of digital twins in operation. The industrial processing of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) into tablets requires the combination of discrete and continuous sub-processes with complex interdependencies regarding the material structures and characteristics. The API and excipients are mixed, granulated if required, and subsequently tableted. Thereby, the structure as well as the properties of the intermediate and final product are influenced by the raw materials, the parametrized processes and environmental conditions, which are subject to certain fluctuations. In this study, for the first time, an agent-based simulation model is presented, which enables the prediction, tracking, and tracing of resulting structures and properties of the intermediates of an industrial tableting process. Therefore, the methodology for the identification and development of product and process agents in an agent-based simulation is shown. Implemented physical models describe the impact of process parameters on material structures. The tablet production with a pilot scale rotary press is experimentally characterized to provide calibration and validation data. Finally, the simulation results, predicting the final structures, are compared to the experimental data.