Tablets utilized for medications, small mints, and other similar products come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Even their formulations span over a broad range of properties and physical characteristics. Factors such as compressibility, abrasiveness, lubricity, and corrosiveness have the potential to heavily influence how tablets are created.
With the above in mind, it’s easy to understand how a one-size-fits-all approach to tablet press tooling is unlikely to produce favorable results. Any company employing the use of tablet presses, that manufacture a wide array of tablets, cannot rely on tooling and machinery meant for use in just any application.
The most practical solution to these issues lies in optimizing tooling to suit the products being manufactured. In this way, brands can minimize excessive tableting problems and boost efficiency. Working to create a customized tableting system mitigates issues such as picking, sticking, capping and excessive tool wear.
Factors to Consider for Optimizing Your Tableting Tools
There are three key factors that must be considered as you begin to optimize your tooling. Each is critical to the success of your efforts to streamline the tooling process and produce higher-quality products. Once you understand how these factors influence tableting performance, it’s easier to evaluate existing tooling and tableting processes to identify opportunities for optimization.
Tablet and Tool Design
You should be familiar with the basic principles of tablet and tooling design. This will afford you the capability to better solve tableting problems once you partner with a tooling vendor. Basic tablet characteristics like weight, size, shape, bisects, and logos can impact how tooling or the tablet itself behaves.
Consider how each of these factors may influence the tablet coating process. The more challenging a tablet is to coat, the more opportunity for optimization. Effectively designed tablets can help mitigate problems during compression and downstream from the tablet press.
Tableting tools can be made of various types of steel. Each of these steels has a different set of physical characteristics—levels of toughness, hardness, and compressive strength will vary based on the particular type of steel. These properties have an influence on tableting performance and tooling lifespan.
When it comes time to design your tooling, your vendor should ask a variety of questions to determine how your tablet formulation will behave on the press, and how it may impact the tooling itself. Based on formulation characteristics your vendor will know whether your tablets may adhere to, and/or erode the tool surface (if the product is particularly abrasive). This information, paired with the vendor’s knowledge of steel characteristics, will allow them to select the best steel material for your application.
Specific coatings may improve a tool’s lubricity and wear resistance. Much like tool steels themselves, tool coating choices are extensive and may be difficult to navigate. Coatings that are ideal for one tablet and application may be problematic for another.
It’s best to review your tool coating choices thoroughly with your tool vendor. Always confirm that the coating you’ve selected won’t react negatively with your tablet’s formulation.
At Fette Compacting, we provide a variety of solutions to optimize your tablet press and tooling:
Fette Compacting offers patented Segmented technology with the capacity to increase your machine’s existing output. Some of our clients have reported output increases of up to 40%. Our Segmented technology allows more tablet stations to be integrated into turrets (without changing the “pitch circle diameter”), eliminating the need for conventional dies and die lock screws.
Each FS punch features an optimized head shape with gentle angles, and longer punch “flats.” These seemingly small modifications can result in major improvements, reducing wear and increasing dwell time to boost tablet quality and improve working conditions.
At Fette Compacting, we offer all of the universally accepted North American standard sizes for tablet punches, as well as a range of proprietary styles engineered to facilitate maximum output and flexibility.
Tableting performance hinges heavily on effective tablet design. We work to marry each client’s tablet design with tooling of equal caliber. This ensures our clients enjoy optimal press speeds, and minimal downtime.
Groove and Parallel Key Positions
Key positioning directly influences the efficacy of removing finished tablets from the press. Informed key placement helps lower the chances of broken tablets and serves to improve attainable output rates. A sub-optimal key position can lead to damaged tablets.
Materials—Punches, Dies, and Segments
The lifespan and functionality of tableting tools is directly impacted by the quality of materials used to create them. We only use high-alloy and through-hardened tool steels and offer clients material data sheets in advance, or material certificates on delivery.
Partnering with Fette Compacting
At Fette Compacting, we aggressively pursue the development of innovative tableting tool technology. We strive to help our clients achieve marked increases in efficiency, tooling service life, and worker safety. Our extensive range of high-performance punch materials, outstanding surfaces, and customized coatings are carefully selected to ensure that customers achieve their greatest potential.
For more information about our tableting equipment and related solutions, please contact us.