Tablet press machine- Ultimate guide

A pharmaceutical tablet press machine plays an integral role in the today’s world where quite a number of drugs are administered in tablet form.

This makes a tableting machine a must have accessory in the pharmaceutical industry.

For days now, I have been searching for a valuable resource that gives complete and comprehensive information about these compression machines on the internet.

Unfortunately, all I get is “choppy” information, which is quite difficult to understand.

It is for this reason that I was motivated to write a complete guide on tablet machine to help both professional and beginners.

This was also driven by my desire to share over the over 20 years of experience I have in the pharmaceutical industry, more so designing and researching about these machines.

For the scope of this article, I am going to focus on the following key areas:

  • Definition of tablet press machines
  • Types of tableting machines
  • Designing of tablet press machines (a few schematics and 3D drawings)
  • Parts of tablet machines
  • Working principle of tablet press machines
  • Features of tablet compression machines (a quick tableting machine buying guide)
  • Standards in tablet machine industry
  • Troubleshooting a tableting machine
  • Future prospects in tablet machine industry (main focus will be on technological advancements)

Of course, by the end of this article, I will provide valuable sources of information you can read to explore this machine.

Let’s go straight to the main subject of this guide:

1. What is a Pharmaceutical Tablet Press Machine?

A tablet press machine is an electro-mechanical device that uses compression force to transform powder into tablets of uniform sizes and thickness.

Depending on the nature of application, you may use it to make cleaning products, cosmetics or pharmaceuticals.

This is an example of a pharmaceutical tablet press machine

The new design of SaintyCo tablet press machine

Normally, the names of these machines depend on their specific applications.

For instance, those that are used to make drugs and other related products are called pharmaceutical tablet press.

Generally, tablet making process involves using die and punches to fuse different powder particles to form a solid substance (tablet).

This makes a tablet press tooling an important process in the machine design.

A section of pharmaceutical tablet press machine

This image illustrates how compression force acts on powder to form tablets

Here is a block diagram illustrating the process of making tablets.

Remember, for the scope of this article, we are only interested in the compression stage.

In those others processes you may require fluid bed granulator or mixer machines depending on the process at hand.

Tablet making process

A process of making tablets in pharmaceutical industry

Over the recent past, a number of pharmaceutical tablet machines have been upgraded to ensure precise user control while guaranteeing mass production.

Quite a number of tablet compression machine manufacturers aim to provide versatile, high speed, automated and easy to maintain equipment.

2. Types of Tablet Making Machines

The available tablet making machines are either single station or multiple stations.

Since I had written a comprehensive article on the classification and type of tableting machines, in this section I’ll mainly focus on a summary of this article.

Here is exactly what you need to know:

 a. Single Punch Tablet Press Machine

Single punch pharmaceutical tablet machines are also called eccentric or single station presses.

They are some of the simplest forms of tablet making machines with relatively low production capacity.

For instance, SaintyCo’s OneTab tablet press is a single punch machine with a production capacity of 60 tablets per minute. Such machines are suitable for R&D or clinical trials.

OneTab pharmaceutica tablet machine

SaintyCo OneTab is a single punch compression machine

Depending on the design, you can opt for manually operated or fully automated with an optional PLC control.

The single station pharmaceutical tablet compression machines are popular since they are:

  • Structurally small, hence, suitable where space is limited
  • Known for high utilization ratio
  • Easy to operate
  • Guarantee low noise level
  • Cost effective in clinical trials and R&D

Like the name suggests, these tableting machines use a single set of station tooling to process powder to the desired compaction and size.

That is, its tablet tooling system consist of a pair of upper and lower punch system and a die.

You’ll learn more about the working principle of single punch tablet making machine later in this article.

For now, let’s focus on the second type of tablet press machine.

 b. Multiple Station Pharmaceutical Tablet Press Machine

Due to the nature of its design, multiple or multi-station press is also called a rotary press.

This machine has a set of dies with both lower and upper punches that are in constant rotary motion.

PrimaTab is a rotary tablet making machine

A section of SaintyCo PrimaTab, which is a rotary tablet making machine

Unlike the single press, this pharmaceutical tableting machine has a complex design and structure.

This allows for machine head to rotate as the punches move up and down, while the fixed cam tracks and controls the compression process.

You’ll learn more about the working principle later in this article.

This machine is popular across many pharmaceutical industries because they are:

  • Suitable for large scale production – over 70,000 tablets/hour, depending on the design
  • Fully automated systems with touch screen HMI (nearly all modern machines have this feature)
  • Cost effective in large scale production
  • Both hardness and weight can be controlled independently
  • Reduces product wastage

In short, depending on your production requirements, you can choose single punch or rotary tablet making machines.

I know there are many tablet compression machine designs, available in the market.

At times, it may be difficult to choose the right equipment by looking at them.

You should request for the product manual to read the machine specifications.

3. Designs of Tableting Machines

The design of tablet press machines plays a pivotal role in determining the efficiency and reliability of the final product.

As a matter of fact, pharmaceutical machine manufactures are at liberty to design a machine that can optimize the production process.

That is, a machine that guarantees optimal performance, reduced downtime, ensures safety, robust and still conforms to the cGMP standards.

Forthrightly, there are many designs of compression machines for tablets available in the market.

I cannot be able to list them here.

However, you can still compare the SaintyCo Smart Plus and SaintyCo PrimaTab tablet making machines.

SaintyCo Smart Plus tableting machine

A technical drawing of SaintyCo SaintyCo Smart Plus tablet making machine

A of SaintyCo Smart Plus machine

This is the actual SaintyCo Smart Plus tablet making machine

Compare the machine above with this:

SaintyCo PrimaTab

This is a technical drawing of SaintyCo PrimaTab

SaintyCo PrimaTab

This is the actual picture of SaintyCo PrimaTab tablet making machine

Clearly, from both the 3D and schematic diagrams, they are completely different.

The Truth is pharmaceutical tablet press manufacturers do a lot of research to establish certain features that can optimize their performance.

It is for this reason that I insist that you must review the technical manual where you can review all design features.

Let’s try to analyze SaintyCo Smart machine as an example of a new tablet machine design.

This machine is popular for its Simple handling, Modular packages, Automated operation, Robust & compact design, alongside Turret change hence the acronym “SMART”.

Furthermore, this one of the few machines with a remote control and monitoring system with 9 password levels.

So, whenever a manufacturer wishes to distinguish itself from the competition, it will introduce unique and patented designs.

All these will still depend on the desired production needs.

I know this may still seem challenging to understand.

Don’t worry you’ll learn more about this when I will be discussing their key design features.

This will after reviewing different parts and the working principle of tablet punching machines.

4. Different Tablet Compression Machine Parts

A pharmaceutical tablet press machine is an assembly of different parts that coordinate to perform a desired function – making tablets.

Therefore, it is important to know the various components that make up this machine, especially if you’re planning to buy a new one.

For the scope of this article, I will focus mainly on the fundamental parts that are common in all tablet machines.

I know there are tablet compression machine manufacturers who have upgraded their equipment, thereby adding more components and functions.

Honestly, we have hundreds of tableting machines in the market.

Therefore, it may not be practical at all to discuss every feature (we may need a whole eBook to do this).

Generally, a pharmaceutical tablet press is made up of a hopper, dies, punches, cam tracks and feeding mechanism.

In this article, these are the main parts of tablet press machine I will focus on alongside others that make them perform their desired functions optimally.

Now, let’s discuss these components in detail:

Parts of a Tablet Making Machine

The key parts of a tablet press machine include:

a.Hopper

A hopper is basically a material feeding section.

This is where you’ll put all the powder to be transformed into tablets.

From this stage, the powder will then move to the next processing stage.

Tablet press loading system

A technical drawing of a pharmaceutical tablet press machine loading system

Depending on the design of your machine, this process can either be automatic or manual.

b.Die Cavity and Punches

It is in the die cavity is where the powder granules are compressed.

Therefore, designing a die is critical tablet making process.

This is a tablet press machine tooling system

Animation showing action of upper punches, feeding mechanism, dies, lower punches until a point where fully formed tablets are ejected. Image source: Wikipedia

There are many factors that determine the shape of a die system and these include tablet diameter, size and thickness, among other features such as logos where necessary.

A pharmaceutical tablet press machine has both upper and lower punches.

The punches help to compress the tablet into a desired shape by exerting a predetermined amount of force.

Normally, die and punches form a critical aspect of tablet press tooling.

Remember, it is a combination of these parts that determine the efficiency and reliability of the final product.

Let’s take an in-depth analysis of these components:

In most cases, tablet machine manufacturers will always refer to a combination of the upper punch, die and lower punch as tool station.

It is the number of tool stations will determine the production capacity of a pharmaceutical tablet press machine.

Tablet press tolling system

An illustration of a pharmaceutical tablet press machine punch and die system

PS: Shapes of Punches and Dies

Depending on the types of tables you want to produce, punches and dies are precisely machined to certain specifications.

Most manufacturers do everything possible to ensure the die and punch shape or design maximizes the life of tablet compression tooling.

These shapes may range from simple to complex, but still ensure high product yield, efficient and consistent operation.

Of course, this will only be possible depending on various measures the tablet compression machine manufacturer has put in place.

For instance, the manufacturer may:

  • Adopt stringent quality control measures
  • Use systematic performance and quality testing mechanisms based on both the American and European standards.
  • Incorporate different treating systems to improve performance and reliability of the tool.

In short, at any given time, the die or punch shape should increase efficiency in the production output and decrease waste.

Having said all these, here are the possible types of punch and die tool designs:

Types of dies for a tablet press machine

Different types of dies for a tablet making machine

  • Round shaped punch and die sets for producing normally round tablets. You can produce concave or beveled tablets too.
  • Capsule shaped punch and die for producing tablets whose shapes resemble that of capsules.
  • Oval shaped punch die sets for producing tablets with an ellipse shape
  • Geometric shape tooling system for producing tablets with different shapes such as rectangular, square, rhombus, triangular or square.
  • Irregular punch and die designs for producing completely unique designs depending on the specific requirements of clients. These are mainly custom made punch and die sets.
  • Core rod punch and die set for producing hollow tablets

Apart from these, you can opt for sealed punch and die sets.

These are special types of tablet press tooling that reduces granule contamination during the tablet making process.

The idea here is to reduce the number of rejected tablets and they are mainly designed for specialized applications.

Remember, the choice of a particular tableting punch and die set tooling will determine the shape and size of the tablet.

Furthermore, the choice of a particular material for a tablet tooling will depend on:

  • Condition of the tablet press
  • Compression force
  • Physical and chemical properties of the product
  • Cup depth
  • Turret speed

Clearly, you can see that the design process is quite challenging.

This is the reason why you have to source for a tableting machine from trusted manufacturer with the know-how in this industry.

At times, you may need to treat the tablet press tooling to enhance performance.

Such treatments may include plasma nitriding, hard chrome plating, electro less nickel and cryogenic treatments, just to mention a few.

c. Classification of Punch and Die Tooling

To ensure consistency and reliability in the production process, tablet compression machine manufacturers adopt either the Tablet Specification Manual (TSM) or Euro Standard (EU).

From these two distinct classifications, you may have B or D tablet press tooling.

These two tooling systems can further be classified as BB and DB.

The main features here are variations in the dimensions of each set of tooling.

You will learn more about this when I’ll be discussing the different standards in the pharmaceutical tablet press machines later in this article.

d. Cam Truck

During the tableting process, cam truck guides the movement or position of the punches for an optimal compression force.

Tablet press machine parts

These are sections of the tablet press machine cam track

Some machines may have lower cam trucks that guide the lower punch.

This overfills the die cavity, making it easy to adjust its content accurately.

e. Feed Paddle

This is a common feature in rotary tablet presses that help to feed granules in the die system.

f. Compression System

Depending on the design of the machine, you may have pre-compression rollers and main compression system.

Normally, the pre-compression rollers subject the material to the first compression force and this removes any trapped air that exists within the die cavity.

Compression stage of a tablet press machine

This is part of the compression stage of a tablet making machine

The main compression applies a final force that transforms the powder into tablets of desired size.

g.Tablet Ejection System

Normally, these machines have a system that facilitates ejection of tablets from the die cavity by guiding lower punch upwards.

The ejected tablets are then deflected into the take-off blade before going into the discharge chute.

h.Tablet Press Turrets

A rotating turret is an essential part of the rotary tablet press machine in the pharmaceutical industry.

It is precisely machined to ensure both die pockets and punch guides are fully aligned for optimal tablet making process.

A high speed rotary turret of a tablet press machine

A section of rotary turret of a tablet press machine.

In most cases, pharmaceutical tablet press machine manufacturers can choose either stainless steel or cast iron grade as the primary material for the tablet press turret.

The modern the design of most compression machines is that you can easily change the turret.

This reduces downtime and commissioning time.

Other parts of tablet making machine include force feed system, drive mechanism, motor, PLC control panel, pressure system, lubrication component, overload protection, touchscreen HMI, impeller, digital display, batch data printing and hand wheel, among others.

Different parts of a tablet press machine

These are five different parts of a tablet press machine

Remember, knowing every component of the pharmaceutical tablet press machine is critical, more so when you’re plan to troubleshoot, maintain or purchase new equipment.

Quite a number of today’s tablet machine parts are made from the FDA approved materials.

Again, to understand some of the factors I have highlighted above, it is important that you review the product manual.

5. How Does Pharmaceutical Tablet Press Work

The working principle of pharmaceutical tablet pressing machine is based compression force.

That is, the machine compresses powder or granules into a desired solid substance (tablet).

This depends on the shape or design of the punch and die.

As I had mentioned earlier, forming tablet is a combined action between punches and dies.

This is a die and punch system for SaintyCo Mpress tablet making machine

This is a punch and die system for SaintyCo Mpress tablet making machine.

At the moment, the technology in the tablet making process has evolved, featuring advanced tableting machine designs.

This is the reason why we have machines that can produce over 100,000 tablets per hour.

Generally, the working principle of pharmaceutical tablet press machine is based on the fact that:

  • Dies are filled with a predetermined amount of powder or granules
  • A predetermined amount of force is then exerted on the dies through the punches
  • This compresses the powder to a desired shape and size

Well, I know there are many pharmaceutical tablet machines available in the market.

Irrespective of their complex designs, the working principle of tablet making machine still revolves around the above three points.

Now, let’s look at each of these stages in detail:

The Process of Tablet Making in Pharmaceutical Industry

First, fill the machine with an appropriate material – a mixture of powder or granules.

You’ll place all these materials in a feeder or hopper system.

With the material in place, the cam below the tablet machine feeder systems will then lower the punches.

As a result, the material will then fill the die ready for compression process.

Tablet making process

This is an illustration of a tablet making process.

A good pharmaceutical tablet press machine should be such that the material in the die is more than its capacity.

This is basically over dosing the die cavity.

The excess material will be removed to the next die cavity.

Second, the compression process begins as the dosing unit lifts the lower punches to appropriate height.

The upper cam then lowers the upper punches until they are inserted in the dies.

Tableting process

The arrows show how the powder moves – from the time it enters the system through compression to ejection stage.

Both lower and upper punches are guided through the pre-compression stage where they are inserted a little in the die.

This forms slug and removes air that may be trapped within the material.

The punches, then pass to the main compression rollers where a predetermined amount of pressure acts on them, resulting in a compact solid – tablet.

That is, a tablet with desired weight, height and size.

Third, after main compression, it moves to the ejection stage.

Here, the upper cam pulls the upper punches to their initial position.

The lower punches move upwards until the tablets are ejected from the dies.

These tablets will then move to the discharge chute.

You can see a practical illustration of this process in this video:

As you can see, this is a simple process that involves different machine parts, coordinating together to produce the desired tablets.

6. Key Features of a Pharmaceutical Tablet Press Machine

So far, you’ve learnt quite a lot on pharmaceutical tablet press machines.

However, it will be unfair to ignore the key features of this tablet compression machine.

As I stated earlier when I was discussing pharmaceutical tablet press machine parts, there are many designs available in the market.

Therefore, you should expect hundreds of features too.

For the scope of this section, we may not be able to capture all these.

Still, I will focus on universal features that are common in most tableting machines.

Technical drawing showing different features of tablet making machine

A technical drawing showing dimensions of SaintyCo SamertPlus tablet making machine.

I will categorize these features based on a wide range factors as follows:

Design that is cGMP and CE Compliant

As I mentioned earlier, a pharmaceutical tablet press machine is an electromechanical accessory.

Therefore, it has hydraulic, mechanical and electrical parts.

This makes it prudent for the machine to be CE compliant.

It is a critical standard, especially for machines that are sold within the European market.

Parts of tablet press machine

Different parts of tablet press machine are made from stainless steel

Again, every tablet compression machine must be cGMP compliant.

This ensures the machine is safe and hygienic.

Such compression machines are made from stainless steel (316L for contact parts).

This prevents any possible contamination.

Furthermore, they have advanced dust handling capability, with a design that is easy to clean.

These are vital aspects when it comes to cGMP compliance.

Guarantee Optimal Performance

It makes no economic sense to include a feature that does not contribute to the overall performance of the machine.

For example, to realize a maximum production of 390,000 or 630,000 tablets per hour, like in the case of the SaintyCo AdvantaTab Plus, you need robust and advanced features.

SaintyCo OneTab tableting machine

This is SaintyCo OneTab tablet compression machines designed for R&D and clinical trail applications.

The truth is, to achieve this kind of production capacity, your pharmaceutical tablet machine must:

  • Have between 45 to 75 tablet press stations
  • Both punch and die must conform to the international standards – B, D, DB or BB
  • Specify the precise tablet diameter size
  • Specify pre-pressure, main pressure, power and filling depth

Basically, you need a company that pays attention to strict quality control and details.

For instance, tableting speed and fast part changeover are critical aspects when it comes to mass/fast production.

But still, the machine must have accurate sensors to ensure the tablets meet the right specifications.

Again, all these must not compromise the safety of both the machine and technicians.

Focus on New Technologies of the Pharmaceutical Tablet Press Machine

We cannot achieve high production of about 200,000 tablets per hour without an appropriate technology.

This is why you need to consider a machine that features the modern technologies.

Nearly all machines come with a touch screen HMI and Siemens PLC system.

An appropriate automation eliminates human intervention, hence it becomes easy to maintain production consistency and accuracy.

A PLC control terminal for OneTab table press machine

A PLC control terminal for OneTab tablet machine

With the right technology, a machine will guarantee high overall equipment efficiency (OEE), while ensuring the lowest cost of ownership (TCO).

For instance, most pharmaceutical tablet press machines have the following:

  • An advanced PCC control system to optimize operation
  • Frequency converter; it is a feature that maintains continuous control over motor and production speed, hence consistent production.
  • Two compression systems; a pre-compression and main compression system with adjustable pressure systems
  • Batch data printing and display
  • Auto lubrication system
  • Remote monitoring and control system

In short, the modern pharmaceutical tablet making machines have evolved over time to feature some of the best technologies that guarantee optimal and consistent production.

What are the Main Safety Measures?

In most modern pharmaceutical tablet press machines, all the moving parts such as turrets and tooling systems are isolated.

This to ensure that one cannot access the machine during operation.

Furthermore, to prevent apparatus or punches from damage due to mechanical overload, you need a mechanical buffer system.

It is a must have feature in any tablet press machine.

Drive system of a tablet compression machine

The motor drive system is fully sealed to prevent unauthorized access.

Normally, in case of an overload, such a machine will stop automatically.

This will prevent any possible damage to the tablet press tooling system.

Apart from these, safety interlock is a critical feature in electromechanical accessories such as pharmaceutical tablet press machine.

For example, in the SaintyCo MiniPress, the upper and lower guards are interlocked, protecting the machine from any inappropriate operation.

In short, before you buy any tablet compression machine, the manufacturer should highlight the basic features put in place to protect both the machine and users.

Evaluate Accuracy and Precision of the Machine

Accuracy and precision are integral aspects in today’s pharmaceutical industry.

You need a machine that guarantees high yield and produces tablets to the desired weight and size.

Therefore, you should evaluate all critical aspects such as pressure function, tooling system, feeding mechanism, etc.

Consider Ease of Cleaning and Maintenance

In the pharmaceutical industry, hygiene is an important aspect of the entire process.

It is for this reason that all pharmaceutical tablet press machines are made from stainless steel.

This material is easy to clean and conform to the cGMP requirements.

Furthermore, the machine should have few product contact parts to reduce cleaning effort.

Parts of tablet press machine

These are various parts of tablet compression machine that enhance improve performance and reliability.

Apart from these, you need to consider if the company brings anything new in the market.

That is, whether the company blended their own patented technologies and existing ones or they only copy what exists in the market.

For instance, at SaintyCo, we use our patented closed punch bellows.

It is a critical technology that prevents tablet contamination.

Again, before you buy a machine, it is important to be specific about the exact place where you intend to use it.

For instance, a pharmaceutical tablet press machine with between 8 to 24 press stations is only suitable for R &D and clinical trials.

You can’t modify or use such a machine for mass production.

In short, you need to evaluate every aspect of the machine, from its robust design to efficient auto control mechanisms.

Again, by review the technical manual of the machine, you’ll get to know the intricate details about the machine.

At SaintyCo, all our upgraded tablet press machines come with easy to understand manual.

We also offer exemplary technical support to all our clients, besides assisting in maintenance and advising accordingly on any technical issues.

7. Standards for a Tablet Compression Machine

Standardization is an important aspect in the tablet manufacturing industry.

It is for this reason that pharmaceutical tablet press manufacturers adhere to some standards to avoid incompatibility problems.

Today, we can decide to use any of the following internationally recognized standards:

  • Tablet Specification Manual (TSM); it is mainly recognized in the United States
  • Euro Standards (EU); an internationally recognized standard that is widely used in the tableting industry.

As you’ll see shortly, these standards mainly emphasize on the specific dimensions of both punch and die systems.

In fact, even the custom made tablet press tooling, must follow these standards.

Comparing the TSM and EU Tablet Press Tooling Standards

Let’s compare the two standards in a tablet tool specification below:

Tool SpecificationsIndustry Standards
EU ToolingTSM Tooling
Length of the punch0.01″ greater than TSM tooling0.01″ inches shorter than EU tooling
Configuration of the head punchDomed headAngled head
Thickness of the headSmaller than TSMGreater than EU
Head angle for “B”30°37°

 

I am sure you can see the difference.

However, this alone is not enough, there are other critical issues I want you to know about these types tablet press tooling.

In the pharmaceutical tablet press industry, we have four different types of tooling:

  • B type
  • D type
  • BB type
  • DB type

Still, I want you to note that the “B” and “D” type tooling are the main tooling standards in this industry. Now, let’s compare the dimensions of these tablet press tooling types:

Type of Tablet Press ToolingDiameter of the Punch Barrel in (mm)Outer Diameter of the Die in (mm)
B19.030.16
D25.438.10
BB19.024.00
DB25.430.16

Clearly, you can see the difference in terms of dimensions.

I know this may seem so complex a subject, just feel free to contact our technical team.

We will advise you accordingly depending on your tablet making requirements.

8. How to Troubleshoot a Pharmaceutical Tablet Press Machine

I want to take you through another segment of this article – troubleshooting tablet making machine.

Under normal circumstances, there are situations where your pharmaceutical tablet press machine will develop some problems.

This may hinder its optimal performance.

This section will explore various problems and possible solutions.

Still, don’t disassemble or assemble this machine if you’re not an expert in tablet machines.

By doing so, your warranty may become invalid.

PLC control for tablet press machine

You monitor faults via the PLC terminal display

 

Below are some of the most common problems and how to fix them:

Excess Material on the Frame Spills in the Die Cavity & Scrapper

Whenever you experience this problem, it is advisable to consider the following:

  • Material could be moving faster into the feeding system. Therefore, you need to lower the feed chute to reduce speed at which material flows.
  • Check the feed frame and consider re-leveling it. Alternatively, the feed frame could be bent so you should straighten it.
  • The feeder could be moving too fast so reduce its grid feed gate or peddle (depending on your pharmaceutical tablet press machine design)

Abnormal Variation in the Punch Depth

Obviously, when there are variations in the punch depth, your tablets will vary in size and compactness.

This will cause high rates of capsule rejection, hence high cost of production.

Here are a few things you should do:

  • You should rework sets of die and punches together.
  • Check if you’re using the right dimensions of tablet press tooling (both punch and die sets)
  • Tooling system may be worn out, so you should consider replacing

Lower Punches of Tableting Machine are Sticking

It is a common problem when you use a pharmaceutical tablet press machine for a long time without cleaning.

This is what you need to do:

  • There could be material build up around the tips of the punch. You should check and clean it.
  • Either the sockets or punches could be dirty. You should adopt a realistic cleaning procedure after using the tablet making machine.

No Sufficient Material Flow into the Die Cavity

Whenever you have misalignments or worn out components, there is always a possibility of insufficient material flowing into the die cavity.

This may cause inconsistency in the production process, hence, high rate of rejecting tablets.

This is how to fix this problem:

  • Material may not be flowing freely into the system. Therefore, you need to raise the feed chute to increase material flow.
  • Check the material you plan to transform into a tablet. The size of particles could be an impediment to the free flow.
  • Increase the speed of the feeder. Alternatively, you can raise the pin grid to allow more particles to flow into the die system.

Abnormal Vibration or Noise

A tablet press has moving parts that are assembled together using bolts or any other tightening mechanism.

Here, you need to lubricate all moving parts and check if there are any loose bolts.

Tighten the bolts.

Also, you need to check whether the driving mechanisms are in the correct positions.

That is, gears are meshing properly and conveyor belts are accurately fixed.

Broken of Jumping Tablets

This is an aspect that can lead to significant losses in the tablet making process.

In such a situation, you need to inspect the ejection system and ensure it is clean.

Alternatively, you can adjust the ejection clearance (simply adjust the lower punch).

The Weight of the Tablet is Inconsistent

It is a common phenomenon that may lead to a lot of wastage.

This is why I recommend that you sample and measure the weight of tablets during the production process.

This is a problem due to loose lower punch.

You need to check the lower punch and tighten it.

Also, the problem could be due to segregated powder.

You need to adopt a proper cleaning procedure.

Remember, powder will segregate whenever you’re running the feeder system too fast.

Damaged or Rough Tablets

First, you need to check the tool systems of the pharmaceutical tablet press machine.

The punch and die could be worn out, dirty or damaged.

Also, the tablet could be sticking on the tablet press tooling system.

You should check the material you plan to form into a tablet.

It should contain only the right ingredients. Also, the material could be wet.

NOTE: Don’t use a wet material in a pharmaceutical tablet press.

Tablet Press Tooling Get Damaged Faster

First, this could be due to improper installation of various sections or components of the tooling system.

Or, you may be using wrong specifications of the tool system.

Check the tablet press turret. A turret plays a pivotal role in the pharmaceutical press machine and if it is damaged, you’ll definitely get low quality tablets.

I want you to remember the following whenever you’re operating a tablet making machine:

  • In case the machine or any of its parts is damaged, don’t use it until it is repaired as required. Repair and test it before resuming any bulk production.
  • Pharmaceutical tablet compression machine has moving parts. Therefore, do not operate the machine while wearing loose clothes (have the appropriate safety gear).
  • Never remove or touch the rotating component of the machine when the equipment is on.

In short, proper and regular inspection of every component of the tablet press machine is important.

This should include visual inspection, cleaning, tightening loose bolts, replacing worn out components and lubricating moving parts.

Again, remember every component of the tablet compression machine must be installed properly.

For instance, the top sections of the dies wear out faster due to improper installation.

NOTE: In case you don’t have proper training on the tablet press machine, do not make any adjustment.

This is because you need to understand the impact of every adjustment you are making.

Now, I believe you have learnt all the vital aspects about tablet press machine.

But before I conclude this article, let’s have a quick review of the technology and future of tablet making industry.

With this, you’ll get to know why I recommend tablet press machine for any pharmaceutical industry.

9. The Future Prospects of Pharmaceutical Tablet Press Machines

A tablet is one of the most popular and cost effective solid dosage form in the pharmaceutical industry.

This implies, investing in a high quality and effective pharmaceutical tablet press machine will still guarantee a high ROI.

It does matter whether you need:

  • Immediate release tablet
  • Delayed release tablet
  • Chewable tablet
  • Buccal tablet
  • Sublingual tablet or,
  • Effervescent tablets

You’ll get a suitable tablet pressing machine that meets your unique specifications.

Types of tablets

These are examples of fully processed tablet. Image source – Wise Geek

With the modern tablet making machines, you can reduce the cost of production significantly.

This is because the modern tableting machines are fully automated, cGMP compliant, accurate, easy to clean and guarantee low maintenance.

Technology Breakthrough in Tablet Press Machines

Since 1990s, this industry has gone through a remarkable metamorphosis with tablet machine manufacturers adopting technologies that optimize performance and accuracy.

Part of modern tablet pres machine

Part of remote control system for SaintyCo SmartPlus tablet making machine

For instance, here at SaintyCo, we have updated all our tablet press machines.

We have improved in all aspects such as:

  • Material feeding system
  • Pre-compression and main compression
  • Accurate punch and die tooling system
  • PLC control system
  • Remote control application
  • Robust, durable and functional designs

This quite evident in all our tablet machine designs such as AdvantaTab Plus, AdvantaTab, MagnaTab, MiniPress, Mpress, OneTab, PrimaTab, SmartPlus and Smart S.

It is through innovation that we’ve been able to achieve high production capacities such as over 200,000 capsules per hour.

This has been through our own patented innovative technologies besides improving the existing ones.

Conclusion

This article has covered all the critical aspects of pharmaceutical tablet press machines.

These include definition, types, working principle to quality regulations, among other aspects.

I believe with this information, you can easily make an informed decision when buying a new tablet press machine.

For questions or contributions, feel free to send us an email.

Further Reading