Although tooling represents a substantial investment for tablet manufacturers, the importance of proper tooling maintenance is often underestimated. Excessive tooling wear from inadequate maintenance can lead to tablet quality issues, including sticking, capping, and discoloration before or after production.
Fortunately, many of these issues are preventable by training machine operators to regularly perform restorative procedures aimed at maintaining tooling quality. Implementing a polishing and refurbishing routine is an effective and inexpensive way to ensure high-quality tablet yields, reduce production-related costs, and maximize the ROI potential on your tooling investment. Proper maintenance has the potential to extend tooling life by as much as 80%.
Considering the wide range of possible tablet shapes, sizes, and formulations, the ability to optimize tooling to accommodate the unique properties of each tableting job is essential for minimizing problems such as those referenced above.
When optimizing your tooling, the following factors should be considered:
- Tablet and tool design. A fundamental knowledge of tablet and tooling design is important for understanding how basic tablet characteristics (shape, size, weight, etc.) might influence the performance of the tooling during manufacturing.
- Tool composition. Each type of steel used to make tablet tooling has unique properties that can influence tableting behavior. Tooling design should consider potential interactions between tool material and tablet formulation in order to avoid issues with tablets sticking to and/or eroding the tool surface.
- Tool coating. While tool coating can enhance tool lubricity and minimize wear, it is important to select a coating that will not interact unfavorably with the tablet’s formulation.
A pre-emptive approach to tooling maintenance is essential for avoiding expensive repairs and unplanned downtime. Even if there are no existing signs of malfunction or wear, informal daily inspections should still be implemented to help identify problems in the early stages.
Preventative maintenance includes being aware of visual and audible warning signs, such as:
- Excessive wear
- Irregular equipment noises
- Product losses
It is also helpful for facilities to have standardized guidelines in place for routine inspections.
Having a well-trained workforce is essential for mitigating production errors and optimizing employee productivity. However, training programs may often be costly and time-consuming. To help alleviate the financial impact of training, Fette Compacting offers virtual reality (VR) simulations that allow machine operators to receive comprehensive and risk-free training sessions that will not tie up equipment or interfere with normal production operations.
By incorporating gaming elements, the training is designed to be engaging and entertaining. The VR platform also enhances the user experience by accounting for varied learning speeds among trainees and allowing unlimited opportunities for practice.
Fette Compacting Solutions
At Fette Compacting, we lead the tablet manufacturing industry with our innovative and creative solutions aimed at helping our clients achieve the highest possible levels of productivity, efficiency, and employee safety. With our extensive selection of high-quality tooling materials, customizable punches, and coating options, our experienced design team is able to work one-on-one with each client to develop optimized tablet press and tooling solutions that are perfectly suited for each unique application.
We also offer the aforementioned VR training programs to ensure that our customers are sufficiently trained in operating and maintaining the machines. Using a VR platform allows training to be provided in a way that will not interrupt production operations, saving your company time, money, and resources.
Our highly trained engineers and technical staff are available to perform tablet press inspections, repairs, and calibrations. With over 1,500 original manufacturer part types available in our inventory, repairs can be done quickly to minimize production downtime. Preventative maintenance combined with regular servicing and equipment upgrades can dramatically improve the lifespan of your machinery and ensure optimal performance.
To learn more about how our tooling solutions and training programs can help you improve production rates and maximize your tooling ROI, please contact us today.