I spent part of my recent vacation to visit in-laws in South and North Carolina touring Capsugel's capsule manufacturing facility in Greenwood, SC. My husband, father-in-law and I took got to see the capsule-making process from the raw material to finished capsule.
The company takes granulated material, manipulates it, adds color or logos (if requested by its customers) and then turns it into capsules. We also go to see the different method it uses to create its vegetarian capsules.
Capsugel wishes to keep it's manufacturing practices proprietary, so I couldn't take pictures and I can't say too much, but I can say that I had no idea that how big its operations is. I've toured facilities before, and often ask, "How large is the facility?" This is the first time I got a response in acres rather than square feet.
It was truly interesting to see how much goes into that little delivery device I take on a daily basis to meet my nutrient needs.
After the Capsugel tour, Steve (my father-in-law) saw my interest in food and supplement manufacturing, so he let me tour his work. He works at Hartness International, a Greenville, SC, company that builds packaging machines for the beverages and food industries.
At Hartness, he showed us the assembly lines and machines the company is are building. One machine was running that takes unfolded cardboard milk cartons and loads them into a machine. They were running the machine to learn how they could shave a few seconds off of the process. The video below shows the machine in action. I can't tell exactly what is it designed to do at each step, especially without the product loaded into the machine, but I know it is designed to take the flat cardboard and stack it in a way that it feeds into the rest of the machine (not attached in this video).
Steve specializes in building the "grabbing" parts of machines, the parts that lift, sort and set products into packages. Below is a water bottling machine sorter that he helped develop.
It was great to have my family along for (and lead) tours of manufacturing facilities, especially since they are more mechanically minded than I am. I thank Capsugel and our wonderful tour guide there, Kevin Ashley. Who knows, maybe all of my vacations will soon include stops to supplement facilities?