High-Speed Nutraceutical Production

From Nerea Arcaraz,

The sanotact Group opts to use KORSCH machinery for volume production purposes and is a launch customer for the new X5 high-speed single-sided rotary press.

The sanotact Group is a manufacturer of high-quality dietary supplements and functional confectionery, such as dextrose and mints, that operates globally. Its production facilities are located at the company’s headquarters in Münster. This is where around 1,000 different products are pressed into tablet form around the clock – approximately 5 billion tablets a year. Natural products are often used as raw materials to manufacture dietary supplements, and their properties may vary from batch to batch. A great deal of handling expertise is required to ensure consistent end-product quality. For this reason, the company is reliant on the experience and expertise of its over 200 employees and attaches great importance to basic and advanced training.

KORSCH presses at Sanotact: “simple solutions to complicated problems”

The shortage of skilled workers in Germany has not passed sanotact by. However, the company has had positive experiences in recent years with new colleagues, who came to Germany as migrants without the right skills.  “If we see potential there, we train these new colleagues ourselves on our machinery park. Here KORSCH presses with their intuitive and user-friendly user interfaces are a real help, especially when new operators initially lack the requisite language skills. They visualize machine data superbly and are fully accepted by the team,” says Yossi Sarafraz, Production Manager at sanotact. “In general, our experience with KORSCH presses is that many of them feature uncomplicated designs and provide simples solutions to complicated problems,” he applauds.

Machine reliability lays the foundation for uninterrupted production

sanotact has already been using KORSCH’s XT 600 high-speed double rotary press for four years, and another one is currently being installed. The XT 600 features KORSCH’s hallmark flexibility, good accessibility and cleanability, as well as simple changeover options thanks to its rapid-change design. It is ideally suited for direct compression, an increasingly common process in tablet production. Particularly important is its high level of reliability, which goes hand in hand with long maintenance and cleaning intervals. “Our machines operate in three shifts, six days a week. During this time, the equipment does not stand still, even for five minutes.” Sarafraz continues, adding, “when you consider that the XT 600 has been operating almost continuously since it was purchased four years ago, only taking short breaks for minor maintenance, that‘s quite remarkable. The need for repairs has been virtually non-existent during this period. This is the ideal foundation for high-performance, cost-effective manufacturing.”

Quality standards that even meet ultra-stringent GMP requirements

The high levels of precision and reliability delivered by the machines are also of particular importance for sanotact products that are exported – sanotact now sells in 60 countries. Unlike in Germany, dietary supplements in Asia and the Middle East are considered to be medical products and must therefore comply with GMP regulations for pharmaceuticals. The strict guidelines on “Good Manufacturing Practice” stipulate the quality standards that apply to pharmaceutical production – even minimal divergences are then no longer permitted. sanotact is set to acquire the necessary GMP certification shortly. This means that sanotact is also well prepared for future pharmaceutical production – an area in which the company would like to strengthen its positioning in the future. One of the machines to be used for this purpose is a KORSCH XM 12, which has also been in operation at sanotact for some time. It is used for product-development, scale-up and small-batch production of single- and bi-layer tablets.

Up to 25 percent higher production output with the X 5

In mid-November 2023, sanotact will commission its first KORSCH X 5. This new product is a high-speed single-sided rotary press for pharmaceutical applications delivering significantly increased production output- At the same time it retains KORSCH’s hallmark flexibility and rapid-change system. The machine is easily accessible, ergonomically designed and has a compact design with integrated control cabinet. Even with a conventional turret, the X 5 delivers 20 percent higher production output than most single-sided presses on the market without significantly increasing its footprint. The optional turret with segmented die table even enables production output to be increased by a further 25 percent.

The machine is optionally available in SFP or MFP versions for single- or multi-layer production. The modern operator interface can be intuitively controlled via a smart-touch HMI. A standardized programming language makes the machine Industry 4.0-capable and ensures integration into upstream and downstream process systems. “Purchasing the X 5 means we can once again increase our productivity and meet the high global demand for our products,” Sarafraz explains.

Application-related enhancement in partnership with Sanotact

Proof of the profound trust between the two companies is the fact that sanotact is the launch customer for the X 5. For KORSCH, this involves long-term observation of the press in a real production environment over a period of several months, Jochen Sommer, Global Sales Director at KORSCH, explains. “We are always in close touch with our counterparts at sanotact. Their input is particularly important to us, because we always create solutions through a process of dialog, enabling us to generate application-related innovations.” Each side benefits from the other‘s knowledge during the process – a real win-win situation. “This helps us in particular with fine-tuning: how does the tablet press perform when it has been operating for four to five months, what works well, and where can we make further enhancements if necessary?” Sommer continues.

More than your classic customer-service provider relationship

The key factor in this trust-based working relationship is also the mentality of the companies, which fit very well together, Sarafraz explains. “Although KORSCH has continued to grow in recent years, the special character of a family business has not been lost. You get a sense of that in our working relationship.” He highlights the major importance of after-sales service: “From our point of view, the support provided is outstanding, even by international comparisons. We know that if there‘s a problem, there‘s someone there who knows what to do, is solutions-focused, and is keen on supporting us.” He emphasizes that KORSCH‘s service technicians also take time during routine maintenance work to clarify any other unaddressed problems and questions. “This has really enabled us to forge close ties with each other. We felt a great sense of security right from the start.”

Jochen Sommer also views the working relationship with sanotact as being special. “In product development projects, for example, we look very closely at which partners would be a good fit, even if a solution is not yet 100 percent validated. The interpersonal aspect plays a major role here. We value sanotact‘s hands-on approach. Therefore, it was clear to us relatively quickly that sanotact is the appropriate partner for this project.” Both sides agree that this will continue to be the case in the years to come.

About sanotact

International specialty supplier of nutritional supplements, medical products, and functional confectionery

  • Headquarters: Münster, Germany
  • Branch: Hong Kong
  • 220 employees
  • 5 brands incorporating over 1,000 different products
  • Annual production of 5 billion tablets in different formats
  • Sales in 60 countries around the world

Link to the website:

Nerea Arcaraz
Marketing Manager, KORSCH AG