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Frequently Asked Questions

Can this machine make time release capsules?

Yes, it can, as long as they are one of the standard sizes that the machine takes.

Time release capsules are not dependent on the machine but instead require the user to use special capsules that are acid resistant.

With how many sets of tooling does the capsule filler come with? What's their size?

The FACF rage comes with one set of tooling.

We typically hold size 0 and 00 in stock as these are the most popular.

If the customer would like another size then this is definitely possible. They will, however, need to be ordered and fit into a machine we have in stock or a new machine with the correct size will have to be built.

What is the estimated lifetime for the FACF capsule fillers?

The estimated life of the FACF range is 10+ years when maintained correctly. During this time there are going to be a number of key components that will need changing to ensure that this is possible.

  • The bearings that control the tooling on the main turret.
  • All of the gaskets.
  • The tooling.

These are some of the main wear parts, but as they are fairly affordable to replace there is no reason not to.

Does the FACF require binders and flowing agents to make capsules or will I be able to produce capsules with my raw ingredient without these?

Raw ingredients will work it is one of the major benefits to the customer of a capsule filler. It is able to handle products that are sticky, damp or granular.

Some products can still have issues with powder flow. If your product is one of these then flowing agents and anti-caking agents like Firmafill may prove helpful.

Are you able to adjust the weight of the powder placed into each capsule?

Yes. You do this through a section of the machine called the tamping section. You are able to increase the tamping to compact the powders more this then increases the weight of the capsule. You can decrease the tamping to reduce the weight in the capsule.

There is a minimum and maximum weight that each powder will be able to achieve in any capsule size. This will depend on the bulk density of the powder, how directly compressible it is, and what size capsule is being used.

How long does it take to change products on the FACF

If you are changing from one herb say to another and your SOPP does not require a full clean down then it will take 30 mins to just tune up for the next batch. This should only be done when small amounts of one product getting into the next would not cause a major health risk or product quality issue.

If they are not able to go from one product to another without a full clean down then it will take around 4 hours.

Can the FACF split the capsules?

Yes, the capsules that the FACF takes are what are called “two piece capsules” or “whole capsules” you can get separated capsules where the tops and the bottoms come separately but this is a different product.

Could we have onsite training after purchasing this machine?

Yes, we are happy to give onsite training. Normally this would be invoiced for separately. More information can be found on this here: https://www.lfacapsulefillers.com/services

Can we provide custom capsules for the FACF?

Yes, but the minimum order is 10,000,000 and will cost about USD $0.005-0.03 per cap. Depending on the colour, material and if they want it printed.

We are able to offer, different colour capsules, different sizes, we are even able to print a logo right onto the capsule.

If this is something that you are interested in then get in touch.

Can I buy an extra set of tooling?

Yes, we are able to provide you with a second set of tooling.

These are charged for and can be found on the capsule fillers website.

Here: https://www.lfacapsulefillers.com/facf-plates-moulds

Does the machine come assembled? Do you have an installation team?

No, the machine does not come fully assembled. There are a number of steps that need to be taken when you first receive your FACF. Here is a short list:

  • Attach Auger Filler
  • Attach Powder Hopper
  • Wire plug to the extension cable
  • Fit Capsule Hopper extension
  • Connect Vacuum Unit
  • Connect Suction Unit

If you would prefer for this to be done by LFA we are more than happy to provide an installation team. This, however, would have to be quoted separately, More information can be found on that here: https://www.lfacapsulefillers.com/services

Do capsules require a special formulation?

As with all things, it will depend on the product. As you can see from the question above you might not need to use binders and flowing agents. However, if your product has flowing issues or if you would like to get it to perform in a set way then yes you may need to formulate your capsule.

The most important thing will be something called tamping. This is working out how much powder can be pushed down into the capsule. For this LFA will be offering formulation services.

How long does the tooling on a FACF last?

The tooling on a capsule filler is not like that on a tablet press. Because it does not get put under extream forces the life of the tooling is much, much, much longer. It will wear over time but this could be 5-10 years depending on usage.

This is as long as you are looking after the tooling. The worst thing you can do is overtighten the tamping section and cause a collision in the tooling. This will damage the tamping pins.

As long as you never do these two things the tooling will last a very long time.

How long does it take to change the tooling to a new size?

It will depend on the skill of the operator and the size of the FACF. The FACF 1200 takes about 3-4 hours to do a full tooling change from one size of capsules to another.

Here is a video tutorial on changing tooling.

Can you put capsules that are already split into the FACF?

No. You have to use capsules that come in one piece. It is also important to remember that you can not recycle a capsule through the machine. Each capsule can only be used one. Even if it is not filled.

The tolerance of the capsules are very small and once they have been through the machine once the chance of them getting stuck of causing a jam dramatically increases.

Can the speed be adjusted in all models? Is that done on the touch screen?

Yes, the speed of the capsule filler can be adjusted. The maximum speed that can be selected will be the number of the machine (the FACF 200 will do 200 caps per min at the maximum speed well the FACF 3800 will do 3800).

This is all controlled via the touch screen.

What is the capacity of the hopper?

There are two hoppers on the FACF. The first is the capsule hopper, this can hold around 5000 - 00 capsules. The second hopper holds the powder, the amount of powder that it can hold will depend on the bulk density of the product but a good estimate is 5-10kgs.

Is there a way to remove dust from outside capsules?

Yes, it is called a capsule polisher and most customers that buy a capsule filler will also want to buy one of these.

You can find them for sale on our website here:

Will the FACF come with a user manual?

Yes, all of LFA’s machine have user manuals. You can download it on the product page.

The long manual will be emailed to the customer in PDF format, along with all of the other technical documents once you have made your purchase.

Do I need an external air compressor?

No, the FACF does not require an air compressor.

How often should the tooling on the FACF be cleaned?

The tooling on the FACF should be cleaned down every time a run is finished. It is really bad for the machine to be left dirty, especially if the customers' products are sticky, hygroscopic, acidic or corrosive in any other way.

Can you use the machine to make liquid filled capsules?

No, is the simple answer. Liquid filled capsules are of a different type of construction.

The soft gels like the omega oil products are made on a different machine.

Does it have CE certificate and follow the right ISO standards? Is there any other certification you provide?

Yes, it has a CE certificate, and it will be compliant with the ISO 22000 rules.

When it comes to GMP certification, it is important to remember that each government, country, state, governing body, qualification all have different rules.

If you want to be sure, you are able to come and inspect the machines ant any one of the tradeshows we attend or in one of our showrooms in the UK, US or Taiwan.

Please get in touch for more information.

How much room should be allowed around the machine in order to ensure the operator is able to monitor and maintain the machine between runs?

We would recommend at least 1m (3.5ft) in every direction around the machine. This would be cramped but would give the operator enough space to run the machine and clean and service it.

Does the machine have a capsule counting option?

Yes, the FACF has a count function. You are not able to tell the machine to automatically stop at a set count but you are able to tell how many capsules you have produced so far.

I was unable to successfully press a tablet on my desktop/rotary press, is this my next option?

Yes, this would be a great next step. Because of the way that the capsule filler works it will be able to overcome some of the problems tablet presses can face, especially: Friability issues, capping, not binding, laminating and flowing issues.

If in doubt, get in touch and we can test your product on one of our machines: https://www.lfacapsulefillers.com/contact/

Is this a noisy machine? How many decibels does it reach during optimum performance?

The main unit of the machine is not noisy. There is however a vacuum unit that is quite noisy. We would recommend installing this outside of the main room which the capsule filler is installed in.

The other item that comes with the FACF is with the vacuum cleaning unit.

This is quite noisy and needs to be close to the machine. We would recommend that people using the machine for long periods of time ware PPE including ear protection.

Which version of the FACF is best for R and D and why?

I would say that the FACF is not suitable for R&D it is too big, too expensive and requires too much product to be effective as an R&D machine. On top of that capsules unlike tablets do not experience a big change in process from a SACF to a FACF.

Can I use custom software on the FACF computer?

Yes, the FACF uses software called WinCC. This is open source and the customer is free to make any changes they like.

We would recommend that they have a copy of our software available first so that if any changes they make do not work with the machine then they can reinstall the original drivers.

Do I need to use different tooling when using granulate, pellets and powder?

No, the tooling stays the same.

What is the minimum amount of power needed to run the machine and how does it change for different models?

The minimum amount of raw ingredient for a FACF would be around 1kg on the FACF 200 building up to about 5kgs on the FACF 3800. This would depend on the flow qualities of the powder.

How do you clean the FACF? What products do you recommend?

Just as with a tablet press or any other piece of equipment is best to start at the top and work your way down. First, do a dry clean, then clean with cleaning products, then sanitise and then make sure it is dried and oiled.

The product that a customer would want to use would depend on the industry that they are in. Most customers of the FACF will be in the food or supplements business. Because of this, they will want to make sure that all of the products that they use are food safe.

What are the Safety features on the FACF? Can extra safety features be added?

The FACF is an extremely safe machine. It has perspex doors that stop the operator from being able to come into contact with any of the moving parts while the machine is in operation.

All of the doors have sensors so that if opened the machine will automatically stop. On top of this, the machine has an emergency push stop which can be used when the operator is working inside the machine.

How many operators are required to operate the FACF safely and efficiently?

The FACF can be operated safely with just one person.

If LFA was setting up an operating procedure for the FACF it would recommend that if the machine is operated by 1 person then the area would be monitored or they would have a way of contacting help if required.

Can the FACF run on single phase?

Yes, if specifically requested we could set up one of the smaller FACF’s for single phase however this is not recommended as the power consumption would be very high.

Does the FACF require an operator whilst manufacturing the whole time? Or can you set it and leave it to run on its own. If it does require a full time operator, is this a one person job?

The machine should really have someone to watch over it. It is less intense work than a tablet press but in the event that something does jam you will want to catch it quickly.

The main problem is that issues build up fast. If one capsule hole gets blocked then every cycle will through an extra capsule into the operations of the machine. This can Block other holes and increase the issue. Eventually, you can be left with quite a mess. It is better to catch this early.

Is there any vacuum cleaning system with the machine to prevent the powder from getting into the environment/other machines?

Yes, all of the FACF machines come with a vacuum that should be plugged in and run during the operation of the machine. This takes away excess powder and rejected capsules.

As well as this the FACF has fully inclosed perspex doors the contain any fine particles during operation.

How long is the downtime after a batch? / How long does a clean down take?

It takes approximately 4 hours to do a full clean down of a FACF, regardless of its size. To do a full clean down you should start with removing all of the tooling. At this point, you will be able to properly clean down the machine.

You will then have to lubricate the machine and reassemble it. Because of this, it does not take much less time to do a smaller model compared with a larger one.

What capsule sizes can the FACF take?

All of them, we are able to build it to take from size 000-5 a full chart of the sizes can be found here: https://www.lfacapsulefillers.com/capsule-size-chart

If the FACF fails or breaks down will LFA provide troubleshooting services/help?

Yes, as with all of our machines it comes with lifetime technical support. All the customer has to do is call up with their warranty number and we can start to assist them.

If the customer would like us to come to them to fix the machine then this is also a service we are able to offer. This is a charged for service. Please contact us for more information.

Are there any limitations regarding the material the capsules themselves consist of?

No. Most capsules are made of one of two products, gelatine or HVAC (vegetarian) as long as the capsules that the customer wishes to use are of the size of the tooling that they have then there will be no issue with them working in the machine.

What size tooling can this machine be fitted with?

All of them. There are 10 capsule sizes 000, 00E, 00, 0E, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 the SACF can be made to fit any of them with a tooling change.

The machines that we traditionally hold in stock will be a 00 or a 0.

Is there a warranty on the FACF capsule fillers?

Yes, each of the FACF capsule fillers comes with a 12 month warranty on all of the parts, including tooling. This is slightly different to other machines for which the warranty often does not cover the tooling.

How much training will my team need to be able to operate the FACF competently?

It takes 1 day for LFA to train your production team.

This includes an in-depth dive into the machine showing a tooling change, clean down, tuning, greasing and talking them through all of the mechanics.

 

Is there an auto-capsule cleaning process inside the machine? / Do I need to buy a capsule polisher to clean the capsule after capsules have been filled?

There is not a capsule cleaning function built into the FACF. IT is a good practice for the capsules to be cleaned or polished after they have come out of the FACF.

To do this you will need to buy a capsule polisher. We do currently sell capsule polishers, they can be found here: https://www.lfacapsulefillers.com/cp-7000-capsule-polisher

Does the FACF have a tune up time? If so how long does it take?

Yes, there are two sections of the FACF that could need tuning depending on the state the machine was last left in.

The first section is the capsule sowing. If the tooling has been taken out to be cleaned then this will need tuning. To do so can take 1-2 hours.

There have been times when we have done it in 10-20 mins but it was luck.

The problem is that the tolerances on the capsules are so tight something can be off by 0.02mm and capsules will go everywhere. This can take time to get into the correct position.

The second part that needs tuning is the powder flow section. This will take around 30 mins to 1 hour and will need to be done every time that the capsule filler has a new product put into it.

Here is a video tutorial on tuning your FACF

How easy is it to change the tooling on a FACF?

It is in principle fairly easy and takes about 3 hours.

 

Here is a video tutorial on changing tooling: https://www.lfacapsulefillers.com/videos/facf-capsule-filler-tooling-change

Am I able to monitor the FACF remotely via my mobile phone or any other program?

At the moment we do not offer an App or Web App to be able to monitor or control the machines.

This being said the FACF is run on a software called WinCC, this software is open source. As well as this the FACF does have an ethernet cable point so can be connected to a network.

If you would like to try and set a link, we are happy to try and support you but it is not something that we have attempted before and you would have to bring most of the skills to do it.

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