Ever since moving to their current premises two years ago, contract manufacturer for nutraceuticals Aviz Laboratories has upgraded their 3000m2 manufacturing and packing facility in line with Pharmaceutical Standards, and succeeded in growing its effervescent manufacturing by meeting customer demands and enabling more flexibility. Subsequently, with the event of a new product using effervescents packaged in sachets instead of the usual capsules, the R&D has been hard at work to solve the problems associated with the effervescent reactions of the dry powder triggered by heat and free water while still in the sachet packaging.
Since the sachets cannot be packaged with a desiccant to absorb free water as is done with the original capsule packaging, the laboratory at Aviz needed to find another approach to this problem. To do this, Avis loaned the Novasina LabMASTER water activity meter from Labotec to determine at which point the stability and integrity of the new product was kept intact, and if, in fact, this would be the answer to the production problem they were encountering. After extensive testing, it was found that relative humidity of the room and the water activity of the product needed to be at very specific levels before, during and after manufacture and packaging to alleviate this problem.
The Lab Master –aw is the only instrument in the world that enables measurements under precisely controlled temperature conditions, selectable in the range 0°C to 50°C while using different probes for high precision water activity (aw) values between 0.03 and 1.00 aw. After repeated testing, the core exact aw values ideal for manufacture were ascertained. The loan unit at Aviz has since been replaced with a permanent model by Labotec after findings of how important the water activity and relative humidity measurements were in controlling and preventing an effervescent reaction from taking place. . So in effect, just by monitoring and controlling this variable and the relative room humidity at various stages of the production process, the new effervescent can be successfully packaged in a sachet, and no reaction will take place.
The laboratory also has future plans in mind for the Novasina LabMaster-aw. This includes testing the microbial growth stability in liquid formations and utilising the information in quality management and product optimisation. Another application plan is to correlate water activity with moisture content of hard tablets, and monitor how it will affect the total hardness and quality thereof. All products produced at Aviz Labs are tested against their label claims, market acceptance, safety and stability, and water activity levels is now an integral part of that testing.