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What are capsules?


In 1968, the use of capsules rose within the medical industry as an alternative way of consuming medicines and food supplements without the negative effects of bad tastes and bitterness that often-put people off consuming tablets.

The most popular form of capsule is the hard-shelled capsule, which often contain dry powdered ingredients. These are made in two halves, with a smaller diameter “body” that is filled and then sealed using a slightly larger in diameter cap.


What are capsules made from?

They are typically made from gelling agents, such as gelatin or plan derivatives.

Gelatin is made through a process that involves boiling down certain parts of the cattle. The hoofs, bones, and connective tissue is boiled down until it is a gel like substance, and then allowed to cool and expand in cool water. When the process is finished all that is left is a tasteless, odourless, and colourless substance that can be formed into the gel that are taken every day by consumers.

There are a few main advantages of taking gelatin capsules. Gelatin does have a wide range of health benefits, most notably are the improvements in skin and joint health. They are also generally less expensive than vegetarian capsules.

The alternative to gelatin capsules is vegetarian capsules. They are used by forming vegetable cellulose. The vegetable cellulose used is Hydroxypropyl methyl-cellulose or HPMC for short. Vegetarian capsules are perfect for people who cannot consume gelatin for any religious, cultural or dietary reasons.

To find out more about gelatin vs HPMC capsules, click here.

How do capsules dissolve in the body?

Gelatin capsules contain around 10% water when they are dry, meaning they increase in water content rapidly once they enter a wet environment, allowing it to soften and distort in around 15-20 minutes.

HPMC capsules contain less than 10% water when they are dry, meaning they take a little longer to react to the increased water content, slowly hydrating over 30 minutes and distorting.


How are our capsules manufactured?

Here at Supplement Factory, we have two capsule manufacturing machines that run within our manufacturing facility; a semi-automatic machine and a fully automated machine.

The semi-automatic machine runs alongside a human helper, where our factory associates place the capsules shells within a capsule plate for the size of capsule being manufactured, then placed into the machine for the powders to be sucked into the machine and fill the larger portion of the capsules, before the cap of the capsules is placed onto each capsule and pressed on. This plate is then removed and emptied into bags ready for packing. This machine can create around 10,000 capsules within an hour and is used for smaller runs such as trials, bespoke formulations and new concept products.

The automatic machine runs through all processes on its own, being able to produce over 50,000 capsules per hour. These capsules are automatically pushed into a container, ready to be audited and weighed by a member of the factory team.

Due to being AA grade BRC accredited and GMP compliant, all capsule runs have samples chosen regularly to check for even filling, as well as full closure of the capsule shells.

If you are looking to manufacture high quality private label capsule supplements, contact Supplement Factory today.