Predictive modeling of die filling of the pharmaceutical granules using the flexible neural tree
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In this work, a computational intelligence (CI) technique named flexible neural tree (FNT) was developed to predict die filling performance of pharmaceutical granules and to identify significant die filling process variables. FNT resembles feedforward neural network, which creates a tree-like structure by using genetic programming. To improve accuracy, FNT parameters were optimized by using differential evolution algorithm. The performance of the FNT-based CI model was evaluated and compared with other CI techniques: multilayer perceptron, Gaussian process regression, and reduced error pruning tree. The accuracy of the CI model was evaluated experimentally using die filling as a case study. The die filling experiments were performed using a model shoe system and three different grades of microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) powders (MCC PH 101, MCC PH 102, and MCC DG). The feed powders were roll-compacted and milled into granules. The granules were then sieved into samples of various size classes. The mass of granules deposited into the die at different shoe speeds was measured. From these experiments, a dataset consisting true density, mean diameter (d50), granule size, and shoe speed as the inputs and the deposited mass as the output was generated. Cross-validation (CV) methods such as 10FCV and 5x2FCV were applied to develop and to validate the predictive models. It was found that the FNT-based CI model (for both CV methods) performed much better than other CI models. Additionally, it was observed that process variables such as the granule size and the shoe speed had a higher impact on the predictability than that of the powder property such as d50. Furthermore, validation of model prediction with experimental data showed that the die filling behavior of coarse granules could be better predicted than that of fine granules.
KeywordsPredictive modeling Die filling Flowability Pharmaceutical granules Flexible neural tree Feature selection
This work was supported by the IPROCOM Marie Curie Initial Training Network, funded through the People Programme (Marie Curie Actions) of the European Unions Seventh Framework Programme.
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