Anyone who is planning to sell vitamins or other supplements needs to learn the basics of the vitamin manufacturing process. Whether you’re planning to manufacture your own supplements or outsource them to a vitamin manufacturer, you should be familiar with the steps involved.
Vitamins and Supplements: A Fast Growing Industry
Vitamins and supplements are sold by thousands of brands today, both in retail stores and online. The industry is rapidly growing, with products being created for various reasons, from weight loss to preventing illnesses. Today’s vitamin manufacturer may produce all kinds of supplements, from single vitamins to complex formulas containing hundreds of ingredients. As in many industries, the vitamin manufacturing process has gotten more automated in recent years, making it possible to produce larger quantities of supplements quickly.
The vitamin manufacturing process involves a number of steps, which vary according to the delivery system. For example, different machinery is used to create tablets and softgels. The following are the general steps used by a vitamin manufacturer.
A Guide to the Vitamin Manufacturing Process
A vitamin manufacturer needs quite a bit of expertise and specialized equipment. They need to meet safety and quality control standards as well. The exact process depends on the delivery system, such as tablets, capsules, softgels, or liquids. However, the basic process will be similar no matter what ingredients are used. The following are the basic steps used in the vitamin manufacturing process to make tablets or capsules.
Research and Formulation
Prior to the actual vitamin manufacturing process, it’s necessary to devise the right formula for the supplements. The manufacturer needs to do research and development to come up with the correct formulation of ingredients. While many companies sell similar products, each brand has its own particular formula. A vitamin manufacturer will usually have its own research and development team that creates a unique formula for each customer. They’ll start with a pilot batch and make adjustments to the formula as necessary.
Preparation of Ingredients
The first part of the vitamin manufacturing process is to prepare the correct quantities of raw materials. Most vitamin formulas will contain a combination of active ingredients and fillers, preservatives, flavorings, and other additional elements. Many sellers offer similar nutrients with different dosages. For example, a Vitamin C supplement may contain 250 mg, 500 mg, or 1,000 mg. Based on the company’s research, the appropriate formulation is prepared.
It’s important to ensure that all ingredients used to manufacture vitamins are high quality and safe. A vitamin manufacturer may have its own lab or have a laboratory do the testing. Aside from safety, vitamin sellers want confirmation that products contain the ingredients and dosages listed on each bottle. Vendors typically provide the manufacturer with a Certificate of Analysis, which confirms the purity of the raw materials.
Depending on how materials arrive, certain processes may need to be performed. Ingredients that are not sufficiently granulated will be ground in a mill. For tablets, the materials must be the right size to fit the tableting machine. A wet granulation process, where ingredients are mixed with cellulose and a granulating fluid such as ethanol or isopropanol. The formula is then dried and milled to create tablets of the appropriate size.
When ingredients are ready for encapsulation, they must first be weighed on a scale to create the required weight for each ingredient. All ingredients are then placed in a mixer so the distribution of ingredients is even. Workers will take samples to ensure that the mix meets quality control standards.
Turning Ingredients Into Capsules, Softgels, or Tablets
At this stage, the process and equipment needed depend on whether the final product will be in the form of tablets or capsules. For capsules, the mixture is placed in an encapsulation machine that fills capsules with the proper amount of ingredients. There are several types of encapsulation machines, such as manual, semi-automatic, and automatic. They also vary in their capacity to produce larger numbers of capsules and to produce hardshell and/or softgel capsules.
For softgels, the molten gel is pumped into the encapsulation machine, forming two ribbons of gelatin. Rollers and rotating dye cylinders form the softgel capsules which are then sealed with heat.
For tablets, the ingredients are compressed into tablets of the appropriate size. A tableting machine is used, which has dies that produce tablets in the desired shape, such as round or oval. A coating may be added to tablets, such as film or sugar coatings, to make the tablets taste better or digest more easily.
Polishing and Inspecting Vitamins
Before vitamins are bottled, they are brushed to remove any remaining powder or debris. They are then inspected by workers who look for damage or imperfections. Any vitamins that don’t meet standards are discarded.
Labeling and Bottling
Capsules and tablets are placed in bottles, usually using an automated process. Bottles are labeled, which include the product name, a list of ingredients, recommended dosage, and any precautions. Contract manufacturers usually have a machine that seals bottles, labels them, and shrink wraps them for added protection. The bottles are then placed in boxes and prepared for shipment.
A Private Label Rights Supplements Manufacturer
The vitamin manufacturing process is fairly complicated and requires quite a bit of space, equipment, and knowledge. Aside from the steps needed to produce supplements, quality control measures must be in place to ensure that purity and safety protocols are met. Many supplement sellers work with a company that handles manufacturing and related services for them. NutraPak offers many services for vitamin and supplement sellers:
- Private labeling —Sellers can put their own brand names on supplements.
- Research and development — Create supplements that are effective and popular with consumers.
- Vitamin and supplement manufacturing — All aspects of the manufacturing process for tablets, capsules, softgels, and liquid supplements.
- Order fulfillment and warehousing — NutraPak provides storage, labeling and packaging as well as shipping services.
To learn more about contract manufacturing and other services, contact NutraPak.