We all want a tablet compression machine that guarantees optimal performance with minimal downtime, exhibits the highest level of consistency, accuracy and safe to operate.

You can only get such a tableting machine if you have an in-depth knowledge of the various technical specifications.

Well, I know a tablet press has so many components and parts. Therefore, we may not cover every aspect in this tablet machine buying guide.

Smart S with a control panel/tablet compression machine

The Smart S tablet press machine

However, my main focus will be on key specifications that directly affect the tablet quality or tableting process.

That is, the key technological advancements and innovations that will reduce possible tablet compression problems such as:

  • Capping; it is a problem that results from air that is entrapped in the tablet compression chamber and expansion of the tablet after ejection stage.
  • Lamination; it is due to air entrapped in the tablet press tooling system and turret moving at extremely high speed.
  • Chipping; this is due to incorrect setting of tablet compression machine.
  • Cracking; it occurs when tablets expand rapidly more so when the machine uses deep concave punches.
  • Sticking; due to poor formulation of the material
  • Picking; occurs due to improper drying and problems with punch tips.

Generally, these are annoying problem which will increase the cost of producing tablets.

The good news is that you can avoid all these problems by paying utmost attention to what I about to discuss in this article.

Let’s go straight to the theme of this article:

What are the critical tablet machine specifications that affect the quality of the tablets?

1. The Model/Series of Tablet Compression Machine

This is the first thing you need to know whenever you’re buying a new tablet compression machine. Basically, it will determine the production capacity, type of tablets, compression process, etc.

It is important to ask yourself this simple question:

Why is model “A” better than “B”?

This is actually clear when SaintyCo upgraded its machines. Here is the case study: Case Study on the Upgraded SaintyCo Tableting Machines.

saintyco tablet press machine

These are different types of SaintyCo tablet compression machines.

Depending on the rate of compressing tablets, you can go for either:

  • Single station tablet press machine, which is also called single punch tablet press machine or the eccentric tablet press machine

Or,

  • Multi-station tablet press machine also called rotary press machines

Here is a good article where you can learn more about Types & Classification of Tablet Press.

Furthermore, you can also choose single sided rotary tablet press machine or double sided tablet press machine. The design of these machines will depend on the production capacity.

Ideally, this forms the fundamental aspect from where you can start searching for an appropriate tableting machine.

Normally, the design if a single rotary tablet press machine is such that its die table produces one tablet per tablet for every revolution. On the other hand, double sided tablet press machine come with a multi station die table that produces two tablets per station for every single revolution.

In short, what I am trying to say is that:

Even before you focus on other features of the machines, you need to define your pharmaceutical tablet production requirements.

It forms the foundation for choosing a good tablet compression machine model and design.

2. Evaluate the Tablet Press Turret Specifications

Turrets play a fundamental role in tablet press machines. This is a key component that holds all essential tablet press tooling systems.

This is how a turret looks like:

A turret of a tablet compression machine

A turret of a tablet compression machine

The truth is, a turret plays and integral role in rotary tablet compression machines. It is this section that supports all the tablet press tooling system alongside other components.

What Exactly Forms Part of Tablet Compression Machine Turret?

A turret hosts many tablet press parts and some of them include:

  • Dies

Tablet press dies are located in the turret. It is these dies that determine the type and size of tablets, besides the overall production capacity.

Different types of tablet press tooling

Different types of tablet press punch and die system

Currently, we use segmented technology. This allows us to have a changeable die system to fit different tablet making requirements.

  • Filling cams

They guide the punches to precisely compress material in the die cavity. The design of filling cam will depend on the type of tablets you would like to compress.

These may include double or single layer tablets. Again, the type of filling cam depends on the nature of material.

Types of tablets

Different types of fully compressed and packed tablets.

Ideally, interchangeable turrets allow companies to use the pharmaceutical tablet press machine to perform a range of tasks.

Always remember that only qualified and fully trained individuals should open the tablet press tooling system.

Which Materials are Suitable for Tablet Press Turret?

Turrets are precisely machined from any of the following materials:

  • Special graded cast iron with high tensile strength
  • Tool steel
  • Stainless steel
  • Steel

A good turret should ensure a high quality tableting process with superior die and punch alignment. Additionally, the turret may feature other treatments such as corrosion and wear resistance.

Apart from the tablet press turret design, another critical aspect you should evaluate is the driving mechanism. In most cases, the tablet compression machine may feature an induction motor that is coupled to the turret system via the timing belt or gears.

Therefore, before you budget for a tableting machine, it is important to know every aspect of the turret.

Another important tablet press specification aspect is the automation and control systems.

3. Automation and Control System of Tablet Press

Technology has evolved over time with table press manufacturing companies striving to incorporate features that guarantee optimal tableting process. At SaintyCo, we are not left behind in this too.

Currently, producing high quality tableting machine is not just about adopting SIEMENS PLC system, but customizing it to meet specific production needs.

Here are fundamental aspects you need to consider:

Tablet Press Machine Automation Software

First the automation software is such that it is easy to use and understand. Therefore, the technicians do not have to go through the back-breaking training processes.

Part of modern tablet pres machine

Remote control panel for a tablet making machine

Second, quite a number of tableting machines use SIEMENS PLC, which is efficient and safe.

Furthermore, adopting remotely controlled tableting press machines has also improved productivity in this industry.

Good examples of tableting machines that use remotely controlled systems are the SaintyCo Smart Plus and SaintyCo Smart S.

Last, there are those tablet press machine automation software that allow for different levels of security. That is, once you configure the machine, no one can change certain fundamental settings or configuration without authorization.

Tableting Machine Automation Hardware

The controlled system is accurately integrated with various components of the tablet compression machine to perform desired functions. To make it easy to operate, these machines come with a touchscreen human machine interface (HMI).

A PLC control terminal for OneTab table press machine

A Panasonic HMI panel

This makes it easy for tablet press machine operators to observe and adjust various parameters of this computerized system.

With the control system, you can monitor and control many essential parameters such as:

  • Main and pre-pressure values
  • Weight of tablets
  • Access graphic interface
  • Weight adjustment
  • Tablet hardness and thickness
  • Punch penetration, etc.

In short, automating tablet making machine with the right control software and hardware will eliminate most human interventions. This implies that you can achieve the desired degree of accuracy and consistency through the tablet compression process.

4. Robust & Compact Design of Tableting Machine

We cannot talk about increasing tablet compression capacity without discussing the overall structure of a tableting machine. Tablet compression machines must be cGMP compliant, with proper dust handling capability.

A structural design of tablet compression machine

A technical drawing of structural design of tablet making machine.

It should have very few parts that are in direct contact with the product. Also, parts that are in direct contact with the product should be stainless steel.

The robust, compact and modular design all contribute to increasing efficiency and reliability of the machine.

A good and reinforced design will make the machine more stable at all times, thus, improving productivity.

Remember, tableting machines with reasonable sizes and designs save a lot of working space hence adored by many individuals. Also, some have their control cabinets attached to the main machine while others are separate from the press.

Still, in the two scenarios, the main goal is to optimize the tableting process. This is either by creating space for more components or reducing the size of the machine.

5. Safety of both Technicians & Machine

A computerized tableting machine focuses on safety, optimizing operation and quality. Well, you can’t achieve all this with a machine that does not guarantee safety.

OneTab Tablet Press Machine

OneTab tablet making machine with ass moving parts enclosed with a transparent solid polycarbonate sheet.

Let’s look at some essential features to look for:

  • Moving parts and electrical components of a tablet press system must be fully isolated and interlocked. Quite a number of machines have the turret section fully enclosed in a solid polycarbonate cabinet. You cannot access these areas when the machine is ON.
  • Double mechanical locking mechanism
  • Pressure and motor overload to protect tooling systems
  • Service area and compactions areas are separated
  • Closed punch bellow prevent contamination of tablets

In addition to these, the tableting machine also features an alarm to warn the operator of any impending danger. Basically, every machine features high safety and security standards.

6. Tooling System of Tablet Compression Machine

When I was discussing tablet press turret in section #2 above, I did mention die and punches. Well, the two form an integral part of tablet compression machine specification.

In case you haven’t seen the die and punch system, here they are:

Tableting process

You can see the die and punch system of a tablet making machine.

Basically, the tooling system of a tablet making machine determines the shape and size of every tablet.

Generally, in this industry, we use either the Tablet Specification Manual (TSM) or the Euro Standard (EU) tooling. However, the latter is widely used across many industries.

Ideally, the difference between these types of tablet press tooling is the dimensions. Therefore, depending on the task at hand, you may choose a machine with any of these tooling systems:

  • “B” diameter is 1.1875 inches (30.16mm)
  • “BB” its diameter is 0.945 inches (24mm)
  • “D” its minimal diameter is 1 inch (25.4mm)

Remember, the type of tooling will solely depend on the key features of the tablet you intend to compress. Some of these features may include shape, size, thickness or logos.

The punches and dies come in a wide range of shapes such as oval, capsule, round or irregular shaped.

I know this can be overwhelming at times. The best thing to do is to discuss this with the tablet press manufacturer.

Apart from all the 6 tablet press specification aspects I have highlighted above. Other specification criteria include total power consumption of the machine, size of machine, type of motor, drive arrangement, capacity of the feeder, lubrication system, sensors and weight among others.

Conclusion

In short, whenever you are buying a tablet compression machine, you need to consider structural design, turret, die & punch type, automation technology, safety and machine configuration or model. By considering all these, I am quite certain that you will easily increase productivity hence a high chance of realizing reasonable profits. .

Again, as a rule of thumb, always request for a product brochure to review every aspect of the machine.

Here at SaintyCo, we have 9 different series of tablet press machines, manufactured to the cGMP standards, for clinical trials, R&D and mass production.

Feel free to contact us for any questions or inquiries about tablet making machines.

Further Reading