Level Measurement & Control


Smart solutions for tabletting

June 2024 Level Measurement & Control

The manufacturing of pharmaceuticals is considered to be one of the most challenging production environments. It is a highly regulated industry governed by stringent regulations, and each process is part of a validated production system. Accurate and reliable process measurement instrumentation is vital. The safety and quality standards for pharmaceutical products are exceptionally high. The production of tablets and capsules involves a series of processing steps, which must take place in a potentially explosive environment, or must comply with strict production guidelines and environmental regulations. In pharmaceutical production, there is no margin for error.


Parameters such as level and pressure are crucial, particularly in storage tanks and reactors. In the encapsulation process, reliable level measurement ensures a continuous supply of raw capsules and active ingredient pellets to the filling machine. Overfill protection is provided by a level detection system in collecting vessels, underscoring the industry’s commitment to safety and precision throughout the production chain. For that reason, numerous sensors are required to monitor production. In the storage tanks and reactors, it is mainly parameters such as level and pressure that are of interest.

In the encapsulation process, the filling machine stores empty raw capsules and active ingredient pellets above it. Reliable level measurement is crucial to ensure a continuous supply to the process. The capsules are loosely stuck together and can be separated easily by a vacuum, after which the pellets are filled into their lower part. Following the filling, the capsules are transported to collecting vessels through a hose system. In these containers, a level detection system serves as an overfill protection.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers across the globe have opted for VEGA sensors in their production facilities. One manufacturer reported using mainly VEGAPULS non-contact radar sensors and VEGAFLEX guided wave radar sensors on its raw material and waste water tanks. Since the introduction of the VEGAPULS 6X, various manufacturers have started using it in their reactors.


The VEGAPULS 42 compact radar sensor can be used for continuous level measurement in both the active substance reservoir and capsule reservoirs. It is specifically designed for non-contact level measurement of liquids and bulk solids in straightforward to moderate applications. With the optional universal connection for hygienic adaptors, installation effort is reduced and inventory management is streamlined, meeting the strict requirements of hygienic processes in the pharmaceutical industry. Equipped with IO-Link, it provides continuous digital data transmission. This cost-effective solution ensures uninterrupted capsule filling thanks to its reliable measurement capabilities. Its user-friendly design allows for automatic filling through continuous monitoring of storage containers.

The VEGAPOINT 31 is a cost-effective limit switch designed for light bulk solids applications. It features a capacitive point level sensor, making it ideal for monitoring point levels in collecting containers for filled capsules. With its straightforward operation and optical switching display, it offers reliable detection of limit levels, regardless of the medium present. Its compact design is suited to tight spaces, and the optional universal connection for hygiene adaptors reduces installation effort and inventory needs, meeting the hygienic process requirements of the pharmaceutical industry. It can be used without adjustment, and offers continuous digital data transmission via IO-Link.

Pressure transmitters have diverse applications within multi-product facilities, including feed lines for transporting finished products to storage tanks. The VEGABAR 82 serves the dual purpose of controlling production processes and monitoring nitrogen neutralisation. In areas with highly aggressive substances, the VEGABAR 82, featuring a ceramic diaphragm, is paired with PVDF process fittings and FFKM seals. It is capable of measuring pressures ranging from vacuum to 15 bar overpressure. For main storage tanks, typically 8 to 15 metres in height and 2 to 3 metres in diameter, various VEGA-level sensors can be installed to monitor and control a range of products including raw materials, solvents and acids.


Pharmaceutical manufacturing processes face several challenges, including high temperatures, condensation, and vapours arising from chemically aggressive substances. Radar antennae can be prone to dirt deposits and crystallisation, while obtaining precise level measurements can be complicated by obstacles such as process vessels and reactors. The size, shape and installation environment of tanks, and mechanical factors, often pose difficulties for level sensors. Furthermore, surfaces within reactors and mixers are frequently in motion and can be turbulent, adding to the complexity.

Despite these challenges, pharmaceutical manufacturers work with VEGA to consistently achieve reliable and precise measured values. VEGA understands the complexities of pharmaceutical manufacturing, from the precise mixing of ingredients to the final encapsulation. VEGA’s reliable instrumentation and sensors provide manufacturers with the accurate measurements needed to optimise every stage of the process. This translates into greater consistency and higher quality medication for patients.

For more information contact VEGA Controls SA, +27 11 795 3249, [email protected], www.vega.com


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