A company would have a minimum of 24,000-square feet of space to house the soft gel manufacturing operation. This would be efficient for a one- or two-encapsulation machine operation.

Equipment needs to produce soft gelatin capsule include:
1. stainless-steel mixing tanks
2. a cold-milling operation. Used for particle reducing, and evacuation for the removal of air in multivitamin products
3. ingredient-fill holding tanks, about three tanks

4. stainless-steel gelatin heating tanks, about four tanks approximately 600 to 800 kilos each
5. Kathabar system for drying dehumidification
6. trays for spreading the soft gels
7. inspection tables
8. standard polishing pan or a converted Pelligrini machine for the removal of the mineral oil residue that remains on the sof tgel
9. a sizing unit for the removal of any slugs and gel particles and for the removal of any over- and under-fills prior to packaging.

Once the equipment is purchased for a one-machine operation, the manufacturer can then very easily convert to a two- or three-machine operation. Following this, the only purchases other than the machinery would be the gelatin itself.

The typical output of an eight- to nine-inch encapsulation machine is approximately 87,600 soft gels per hour. Most manufacturers run the machines an average of 21 to 22 hours daily for such products such as vitamin E and fish oils.


Downtime includes changing gelatin and changing fill materials. If a company is running machinery under strict cGMP guidelines to produce OTC products, the machinery needs to be shut down for taking full sets of weights and verifying adjustments of ribbons for correct thickness.

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