In any process, things can sometimes go wrong. Although your process engineers and managers may understand the operation intimately, sometimes outside help is necessary to find out the root cause of the problem.
During the production of a tablet, the quality control engineer found a few tablets with some black flecks in them. Identifying the flecks would help to locate the source and eliminate the problem
FTIR Imaging will produce a set of spatially resolved infrared spectra to use to diagnose the problem. The data set includes spectra of the contaminant as well as the matrix and the contaminant can be located and analyzed without removing it from the tablet matrix. This is a distinct advantage in that cross-mixing of the different components will not occur.
The data that was collected showed that in the contaminant area there were two materials in addition to the tablet matrix. The analysis identified the matrix as the first component although the color of the material was black and not the normal pink. The other component was degraded lubricant used in the production line. The conclusion that was drawn was that the lubricant thermally degraded and agglomerated. It entered the production process as a few small particles and sloughed off enough material to color the matrix and resulted in the small black particle that were discovered.