Tablet Counting Machine. The Ultimate Buying Guide

A tablet counting machine is a piece of versatile industrial equipment used in counting a wide range of pharmaceutical products during packaging.

However, since it is relatively multipurpose, you can use it in counting other different products apart in other industries.

Ideally, this guide looks into various elements and serves as a guideline to enable you to select a suitable machine for your tablet counting demands.

Let’s get started:

Types Of Tablet Counting Machine

tablet counting machine

tablet counting machine

Usually, different types of tablet counting machines are often classified based on mode of operation and type of model.

Of course, knowing the types of this machine is vital for every user, particularly from a technical perspective.

Based on mode of operation, tablet counting machines are classified as follows;

Manual Tablet Counting Machine

This is the pioneer type of tablet counting machine in the market, and it incorporates conventional technology.

However, this machine is among the recommended ones since it complies with the relevant cGMP standards.

You can use this equipment to count various sizes and types of tables, such as capsules.

Even so, the efficiency and reliability of a manual tablet counting machine depend on the operator.

Some tend to be relatively straightforward and include handheld devices, which are effective for counting tablets manually.

manual tablet counting machine

manual tablet counting machine

On the other hand, some are a bit technical and share a few features with semi-automatic units.

Nonetheless, a typical manual tablet counting machine is are easy to operate, relatively accurate and somewhat quiet.

Semi-Automatic Tablet Counting Machine

It is a type of machine that uses integrated manual and automatic transmissions.

The operational basis of this equipment streams down to the functions that need human interventions to work.

On the other hand, others would occasionally occur within the machine.

Hence, on a few occasions, human intervention would be required when operating.

Ordinarily, this is an ideal machine to use and guarantees you desired results.

Some unique features have PLC system with an integrated Human Module Interface (HMI).

It also has a device facilitating automatic infeed and discharge of bottles.

semi automatic tablet counting machine

semi automatic tablet counting machine

Besides, semi-automatic tablet counting machine has excellent filling accuracy and a photoelectric system of scanners to count the tablets.

Therefore, it is a suitable equipment for counting pharmaceutical products since it has better technical features.

Complete Automatic Tablet Counting Machine

This type of equipment features the latest technological advancements making it the most efficient alternative in the market right now.

As the name indicates, this equipment is fully automated; hence most of its operations hardly require any form of human intervention.

Automatic tablet counting machine

automatic tablet counting machine

The technological solution in this machine allows it to count tablets via a designed special algorithm.

It integrates technology from various aspects of optics, electronics, mechanical and computer engineering.

Of course, the essence of the entire integration is to guarantee excellent counting techniques.

Even so, it doesn’t entirely eliminate the scope of human input since it requires aspects like data entry and setting performance parameters.

One salient feature is this machine is its advanced hi-tech image processing ability. This allows it to count tablets accurately, even in bulk processing.

It is also super-fast when counting tablets and can easily count several thousand per minute.

This equipment is fully computerized and utilizes a highly PLC system in the entire aspects of its operation.

Moreover, it comes with a colored touch screen HMI where you can easily use to control different operating parameters.

Besides, this equipment automatically ejects tablet bottles with inappropriate filling levels together with uneven tablets.

It also features auto-self clean and anti-dust systems, which are essential when operating in a dusty setting.

So how does semi-automatic and full-automatic units compare?

Ordinarily, there is a slight difference between these two types of tablet counting machines based mainly on capability.

Nevertheless, the notable differences between these two machines revolve around the following elements;

Production Throughput

Ideally, a fully automatic unit counts a large volume of tablets within shortest time than what semi-automatic can do.

Precision

Of course, a fully automated tablet counting unit is integrated with more sophisticated technology. Thus, it has higher precision of close to 100%, which is quite significant compared to what semi-automatic option offers.

Capital

Generally, a semi-automatic unit requires lesser initial cost to purchase and set up compared to fully automatic option.

Labor costs

Often, full-automatic unit barely depends on supervision since almost all parameters are computerized hence requiring less labor cost.

On the other hand, a semi-automatic unit requires some level of human interventions thus may require slightly higher labor costs.

Technically, from the aspects mentioned earlier, it is quite clear that a fully automated tablet counting equipment is more efficient than a semi-automatic unit.

Nevertheless, the ideal choice between the available options is mainly dependent on your tablet counting demands.

Therefore, a semi-automatic unit can still come in handy in several incidences and applications.

To say the least, it is integral to select a specific tablet counting equipment based on your production needs and, of course, your budget.

Based on the models, here are the various types of tablet counting machines available;

  • 8-channel
  • 12-channel
  • 16-channel
  • 24-channel
  • 32-channel

Primarily, these are the main types of this machine available in the market based on the categories mentioned above.

Why You Should Consider Investing In Tablet Counting Machine

Remarkably, tablet counting is quite popular in different pharmaceutical and other related industries.

Of course, the advantages are mostly in line with the benefits this particular machine offers in the application.

Besides, there is a need to eliminate common errors and other issues related to counting tablets during packaging.

Hence, this machine offers different benefits making it a worthwhile investment such as the following;

  • Fast and efficient – This machine is highly reliable, effective and exhibits high performance.

It rarely breaks down or encounters unnecessary downtime hence quick output.

  • Relatively compact and sturdy – It exists as a single unit, which is vital since it makes it easy to operate and hardly requires part changing during recount.
  • Cost-effective – In the long run, tablet counting machine reduces running costs and allows you to save a significant amount of money.
  • Accuracy – Using this machine guarantees a higher accuracy level of about 99% since it features advanced design construction and technology.
  • User-friendly – The PLC system makes optimization of several operating parameters of this component quite easy and simple to use.
  • Available in multiple models – You can find it in different models, and this is vital since it broadens your choice options depending on your demands.

Main Applications Of Tablet Counting Machine

This equipment is primarily used in pharmaceutical industry, where production of tablets and related products is quite common.

However, since it is a versatile machine, it means you can also use it in other industries where product counting is vital.

Thus, some areas where you can use this equipment include the following;

Food Production

Nowadays, food products come in form of different designs like gelatins and capsules among others.

Of course, such food products carry essential nutrients, including vitamins, protein etc.

Hence, this machine comes in handy when counting such food materials and fillers to maximize counting during.

Health Sector

Most health care products, particularly bottled ones, usually use tablet counting machine.

Of course, such products require accurate counting to avoid incidents of overdose or under-dose.

Chemical Engineering

Often, chemical substances highly depend on in-depth analysis.

Insignificant amounts of such elements could cause a devastating impact on the general substance composition.

Hence, you need to wholly depend on this machine to attain such levels of accuracy when counting the product.

Quality Standards Of Tablet Counting Machine

In the recent past, the demand for tablet counting equipment has risen in the market.

Hence, in some instances, it can make it difficult to buy the ideal one during your shopping.

Nonetheless, making the right decision requires you to consider the quality specifications of the available options.

The core quality specifications to look into when buying a tablet counting machine include the following;

  • Check whether the conveyor design construction meets the required AISI 304 standards.
  • Motor and gearbox of this equipment should be CE certified.
  • Modular design of the machine should be cGMP compliant
  • The optimum noise level of the equipment should never surpass 70DB level
  • Electronic and electrical components must be CE Certified
  • Fully functional anti-dust system
  • Conveyor construction material should be AISI 304 compliant
  • All contact parts of the machine should be FDA and SS AISI 316 compliant
  • Efficient and reliable HMI system and control panel.

Notably, some tablet counting machines may lack a few quality standard certifications depending on the region and country of origin.

Thus, it is always advisable to inquire from your local standardizing agency to establish the specific certifications required.

It is important since it prevents you from purchasing counterfeit or substandard equipment.

Nonetheless, it would be ideal to go through the machine’s catalog and figure out the specific standardization for the particular machine.

Main Parts And Components Of Tablet Counting Machine

Typical tablet counting equipment consists of different components integrated together to carry out accurate counting.

It also has several parts designed to ensure the machine functions appropriately and attains accurately counting the respective products.

However, the specific parts and components of this machine often vary based on the particular type of equipment.

Besides, the positioning of the components may also vary depending on the particular manufacturer and market demands.

Here are the core parts and components of this particular machine;

Vibrating feeder

It is relatively a larger segment of the machine, which consist of several parts such as the following;

  • Tablet hopper
  • Vibrator
  • Feeding track of the tablet
  • Dust cap unit

vibrating feeder

vibrating feeder

Counting Unit

Ideally, tablet counting machine consists of track conveyors and a system of droppers.

Counting unit, in this case, is made of the following sub-components

  • Counting heads
  • Dropper
  • Guide plate

Feeding system

It also forms a significant section of the machine and comprises several units.

Most of these machines have a bottle feeding unit located beneath the tablet dropper.

The components that make up the feeding system include the following;

  • Transmission section
  • Conveyor unit
  • Bottle hold bar

Control unit

This components comprises various elements, including the following;

  • Electronics
  • Electrical devices

Most control devices are stored inside control box or in the cabinet.

Cabinet

It is a component consisting of the following parts;

  • Cabinet casing
  • Adjustable pillars
  • Screws on pillars

parts of a tablet counting machine

parts of a tablet counting machine

How Tablet Counting Machine Works

Different types of tablet counting machines often have various functional features that often determine various aspects of the working principle.

However, the primary function of this machine is relatively same irrespective of mode of operation.

Here are the concepts surrounding the working principle of a typical table counting machine

  • Tablet feeding – Get the batch of pills you want to count and put them on the hopper and make the necessary parameter adjustments.
  • Once you switch on the machine, it produces a vibration, which shakes the tablets inside a rotating glass. Note that each single disc can count coated and uncoated tablets and hard or soft capsules.
  • Delivery chutes then direct the pills from the counting disc to filling tubes with numerous sizes to fit inside different containers.

The pills pass through an infrared beam as they get into the container and the photoelectric sensors count them as they drop.

  • Once the tablets fill in the container as set, they move into the collector, which enhances dustless packaging of the tablets.

It is as simple as such and even more straightforward when using an automated unit since you will hardly need to make frequent parameter adjustments.

Technical Properties Of Tablet Counting Machine

The specific technical specifications of tablet counting machines often vary based on the particular type.

For instance, a manual unit has relatively basic features, whereas an automatic unit features relatively sophisticated properties.

Even so, the general technical properties of this machine include the following;

  • Vibration and multi-feeder for complementing tablet counting process
  • Dual-channel counting capability
  • Minimal noise
  • PLC system integrated into HMI module
  • Excellent filling accuracy
  • Infeed glass rotary table for auto-bottle supply
  • Automatic infeed and discharge of bottles
  • Superfast tablet counting
  • Anti-dust system
  • High production output

Common Tablet Counting Machine Problems And Solutions

Ideally, this equipment, especially the automatic and semi-automatic units, are quite reliable.

It means you will rarely encounter any troubling recurrent issues when operating it.

However, occasionally, you are likely to experience some issues, which ideally are easy to fix, such as the following;

Counting Error

Mainly, this error often arises due to inaccurate counting and end time.

The ideal way of solving this issue is by adjusting the channels and photoelectric gate time.

Faulty Counting Sensor

Often caused by dust accumulating on the sensor; thus, the suitable way of fixing it is by cleaning the sensor.

Tripping Bottle When Passing The Hold

It could be due to a delay in opening of bottle holder.

The best way to fix this issue is by altering the bottle and passing time through parameter setting page in the control unit.

Jamming Pills

Ordinarily, the common cause of this problem is high speed.

Therefore, you merely need to control the vibration of vibrator and feeding track.

Noisy Alarm

They can be quite several reasons why the machine’s alarm becomes noisy.

However, solving it includes ensuring the machine has containers.

Also, ensure to put out light and clean the sensor to remove any dust particles.

Pills Spilling Outside The Container

Mostly, it arises from a wider distance gap between filler dropper mouth and bottle mouth.

Always make sure the filling dropper’s height matches the distance between the filling dropper and bottle mouth.

Cost Of Purchasing Tablet Counting Machine

The price of tablet counting machines usually varies based on different fixed and prevailing factors.

Often, different manufacturers determine the pricing for their respective brands depending on a wide range of elements.

Hence, you will find some brands a bit more expensive than others.

Also, the exact type of machine you are purchasing influences the precise cost you pay for it.

Of course, automatic units are more expensive than manual options since the latter have superior technical and functional features.

Moreover, the number of tablet counting machines you are purchasing may influence the ultimate cost.

Normally, most companies often provide reasonable discounts when purchasing more units than buying a single machine.

In the end, you’ll save a significant amount of money if you consider the first option.

And importantly, the precise features of the specific machine you are buying is another fundamental cost-determinant element.

Any tablet counting machine with extra valuable features, whether custom, will cost higher than one with basic features.

In a nutshell, there is no fixed amount of the machine since it depends on the above mentioned elements among others.

Selecting The Most Suitable Tablet Counting Machine

Whenever you are shopping for this type of machine, it is advisable to choose one that can meet your production needs.

While at it, you must ensure you consider several aspects to ensure you get the most suitable one in the market, including the following;

  • Technical features – make sure you look into the particular features of the equipment.

Check the size, weight, production volume, power supply, speed, accuracy etc.

  • Material – You need to ensure the tablet counting machine is made of sturdy, durable and safe materials that are easy to maintain.
  • Spare parts – Since some parts of this machine are likely to damage or wear out, it is vital to ensure you can easily source replacement parts.
  • Production throughput – Ideally, if you are counting tablets at a small scale level, it would be ideal to go for a manual unit. For relatively higher output, an automatic unit would be more suitable.
  • Budget – Since this machine is available at different rates, you need to ensure you choose one that fits within your budget.

Best Maintenance Practices For Tablet Counting Machine

Maintaining this machine is important because it increases its overall performance, efficiency and longevity.

Ordinarily, you can use several maintenance practices on this machine, such as the following;

  • Lubricate all the contact parts since it minimizes friction and enhances the efficiency of the unit.
  • Use the correct diagnostic devices and software to troubleshoot and fix all the programming errors accordingly.
  • Always clean the machine and remove dust from different components like sensors to prevent unnecessary downtime.
  • Ensure you replace any worn-out components parts of sensors since this improves the overall continuity and efficiency of the equipment.

Importance Of Factory Acceptance Test When Buying Tablet Counting Machine

Carrying out a comprehensive Factory Acceptance Test is quite significant in many aspects of tablet counting machines.

Some of the reasons this test is fundamental include the following;

  • Both parties involved in the deal can easily resolve various concerns arising regarding the mechanical and operational state of the equipment.
  • You can easily figure out through FAT if the machine can endure operating in relatively unfriendly environmental and mechanical conditions.
  • FAT enables you to save a significant amount of money, resources and time because it looks into any possible mechanical issue in the machine beforehand.
  • You are certain of safety and quality of the equipment since this test factors all the minimum requirements for the same.

Hence, never underestimate the essence of conducting FAT whenever you are buying tablet counting machine.

Limitations Of Tablet Counting Machine

They are relatively a few and include the following;

  • Some designs come with advanced features, which can be quite challenging to use hence would require further in-depth training.
  • The automatic unit has several sensors that easily cause errors when dust accumulates excessively on the machine.
  • You can find them in several design options with different operating procedures that may be problematic if you are not accustomed to them.

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Conclusion

Technically, this machine is one of the most important ones in pharmaceutical production setting.

Thus, it is fundamental to understand all the information detailed in this guide so you can make the correct purchasing decision.

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