Tablet tooling generally encompasses tablet punches and dies. Tooling stations traditionally consist of an upper punch, a lower punch, and a die, which are responsible for size, shape, and identification markings of tablets while meeting the specified requirements for dosage uniformity, production efficiency, and aesthetic appearance.

Tablet compression tooling follows two standards that are recognized and used worldwide: Tableting Specification Manual (TSM) and Euronorm (EU). It is important to understand the different classifications of tooling as tablet compression machines are designed based on the type of dies and punches that will be used on them. Various specifications of tooling, and their associated sizes, can sometimes have the same name, so being able to tell the difference ensures that the operator uses the correct tooling.

Tooling Classifications

There are two recognized standards for tablet compression tooling:

  • Tableting Specification Manual (TSM). TSM is exclusive in the United States and was written by the American Pharmaceutical Association for understanding tooling, presses, and tablet design even if the press does not follow TSM guidelines. TSM measurements are given in inches or imperial units.
  • EuroStandard (EU). EU is primarily used in Europe but it is globally applicable. EU tooling standard is based on ISO 18084 standards.

Differences in Classification

TSM and EU most commonly have two sizes, B and D, which are also referred to as TSM19 and TSM1”, respectively. The “19” and “1” refer to the outside diameter (OD) dimensions on the
punch barrels; 19mm in the case of B tooling, and 1 inch, or 25.4mm, for D tooling. Each has its own die size, including BB tooling (see below).

  • B Tooling. Dies are classified based on their outside diameter. B type tooling is capable of producing a nominal maximum round tablet size of 16 mm in both EU and TSM. Subcategory BB utilizes dies with a smaller OD than those used with B tooling; however, the punches are the same for both sizes. The resulting nominal maximum tablet size for BB tooling is generally stated as 11mm.
  • D Tooling. D punches and dies are most commonly used with larger tablets, where the requirements call for something in excess of B-tool capabilities. D-type tooling is capable of producing rounded tablets up to 25mm, which matches the OD of a D punch.
  • Dies. B dies have a diameter of 30.66mm; D dies have a diameter of 38.1mm; and BB dies have a diameter of 24mm.

The differences between B, D and BB configurations are important when considering the tablet size requirements. B and D tooling also differ in a number of additional, important measurements, including:

  • Working length. The distance between the outside surface of the punch’s head to the deepest point of the cup
  • Barrel diameter. The diameter of the upper and lower punch barrels, located between the neck and stem of the punch
  • Die diameter. Diameter of the die bore
  • Die height. Overall height of the die bore

Tablet press tooling plays a critical role in the efficacy of any compression endeavor. Utilizing high quality tools with attributes that match certain needs for strength, resistance to product adhesion (via certain coatings, or polishing,) and durability against the effects of abrasive granules will have a direct effect on the quality of one’s finished tablets. By taking the time to carefully select the right tooling, a company can enjoy a myriad of benefits, including higher output, increased machine availability, and reduced maintenance costs.

Custom Tooling With Fette Compacting

While the aforementioned information represents an encapsulation of the most common press tooling standards, Fette Compacting has brought to market highly innovative and totally unique new technologies aimed at increasing machine availability and reducing the time required to go from one product to the next. These options include, but are not limited to:

  • Pmax and segmented turrets – revolutionizing changeover by eliminating the need for individual dies and die lock screws
  • FS12 and FS19 punches – maximizing output and dwell time
  • EU19 FS punches – prolonged tool life
  • “441” tools – optimized dwell time and durability for difficult, large tablets

Our tools offer premium performance and reliability, ensuring smooth and efficient operation during tablet manufacturing. For more information about tablet press tooling, dies, and / or segments, or to request a quote, please visit our website, or contact Fette Compacting America today.

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