How Are Gelatin Capsules Made?
Every day more and more people are learning about the benefits of gelatin capsules and naturally it begs the question, just how are gelatin capsules made? The quick answer is that they’re made with natural ingredients, using time-tested and safe methods. Keep reading and learn more about how this amazing but simple product has come to be a part of the lives of nearly everyone.
One of the main benefits of gel capsules is that they are literally food. In fact, gelatin capsules come entirely from natural substances. Historically, the gelatin comes from an extract of beef bones and purified water. In modern times new types of gelatins exist and there are alternatives like vegetarian gelatin capsules. These help to ensure the specific dietary needs of vegetarians, people with food allergies to products like soy or wheat, as well as those who follow Kosher or Halal diets.
The process starts with lab workers wearing “rabbit suits” doing safety tests on the basic ingredients to check for bacterial infections or other impurities. They put samples of the gelatin into Petri dishes, and then put them into a special oven which stimulates any bacteria that may be present to grow. Next, the samples go into a spectrometer that burns the gelatin and analyses the gases and “smoke” for any impurities. It’s an extraordinarily exact science and the results tell the lab workers whether a particular lot of gelatin is safe to use.
After verifying the quality and safety of the gelatin, the next step is to turn it into a useful state. Using an industrial-strength blender, they simply whip up the ingredients like anyone might make a cake. The mixture now goes through a heating process until it reaches around 80ºC (or about 176 degrees Fahrenheit.) The gelatin solution is now ready to use and goes into holding tanks that keep the gelatin around 60ºC(140ºF) to keep it from prematurely setting.
The gelatin then goes to the manufacturing area and goes into a capsule manufacturing machine. Capsule shaped dipping pens lower into the gelatin solution to begin production of a capsule. When they come out, the gelatin coated pins spin around and cool air blows over them to spread the gelatin uniformly. The gelatin pins then begin a period of drying that lasts several hours.
After thoroughly drying, the next step is to remove the caps from the pins. A set of special levers strip the capsule parts from the pins and set them on holding devices, known as collets, which come in different sizes and control the overall length. Knives then trim away the excess gelatin, which goes into a vacuum and begins a recycling process.
The finished capsules then pass through mechanical sorters which detect and remove any defective capsules. Further testing by automatic machines then scan each capsule for holes, pinches or dents and those that don't pass the test go into the recycle bin.
After the rigorous safety and quality testing are complete, the gelatin capsules are ready to buy and ship! The next part of the process is completely up to the people who choose how to fill the empty capsules. How will you use them?