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What are the right punch dies?


What Is The Right Compression Tooling Equipment To Use

In order to manufacture high quality tablets, it is important that companies choose the right compression tool and communication between the supplier and manufacturer is the key to ensure delivery of the desired product.

Commonly called as “punches and dies”, Tablet compression tooling equipment is the least known area discussed when it comes to tablet production. The tooling equipment is vital as it is responsible for the product’s shape as well as configuration and at the same time is an essential part in making sure that the company’s process goes smoothly. An excellent design of tablets are those with the right tooling, which helps the company not only when it comes to increasing its profit but also in gaining consumer confidence and market share. A poor one, however, would cost the company millions not only when it comes to operating expenses but also with loss of sales.

Tablets that are designed for human consumption are manufactured to be aesthetically pleasing in order to create an illusion of it being easy to swallow. In certain cases, the design of the tablet is influenced by marketing concerns relating to the confidence, loyalty and brand recognition. That said it is crucial that the design of the tablet should be concrete, easily compressed, coated and packaged. It is important that attention to the product be considered to ensure efficiency of the operation.

Team Communication

At the start of developing a new product, communication is important. Department heads of R & D, engineering, marketing, production, packaging as well as tooling supplier should brainstorm in order to exchange ideas.

Common problems that using improper tools or designs cause:

  • Sticking and picking of the tool
  • Capping and lamination
  • Erosion and chipping of the tablet’s edge
  • Coat fill-in and bridging
  • Poor engraving/emboss
  • Premature failure of tools due to extreme compression forces
  • Discoloration of tablets due to ejection force
  • Tool binding cause by sticky products or excessive formulation fines

These are just some of the basic problems that tablet manufacturers encounter on a regular basis. For companies that also manufacture tablets, one can also relate with these issues. These problems can be avoided by timely communication.

What every tool manufacturer should know about:

  • Characteristics: compression, pH factor, abrasive, stickiness
  • Method of delivery: time release, product chewed, time release, dissolution
  • Identification: embossed, engraved, printed
  • Film coating: using solvent solutions, enteric coating shellacs, method of application
  • Demographics: elderly, younger children
  • Press type: production rate
  • Packaging: blister packs, bottles, bulk


Once the tool manufacturers comprehend the final tablet, they would be able to provide details on the right tablet requirements such as the hardness, cup size and shape. An example would be an equipment that has deep cup punches. Here, one would need more compression pressure to compress the tablet than when one is using a regular cup. A cup that has deeper punches requires compression in order to ensure the right hardness features for the tablet. The extra force places the equipment in the position that would result to failure.

A deep cup punch is constrained to the compression force allowed due to its fragile features. A deep cup has more volume and as such, the overall press speed is slower than one with traditional cup. It would also require additional time to let the trapped air out before the final compression of the tablet is processed. Additionally, due to the frequent abrasion along the sidewalls of the equipment, it is prone to tool erosion.

That said, a deep cup has its own advantages one of which is that a deep cup is capable of producing a smaller and much thinner tablet due to its narrow sidewall or band than a traditional cup can. It can also be used for the tumbling process where tablets are film coated; it also reduces thin coat edges and twinning as well as chipping or edge erosion of the product.

Another thing to consider is to avoid embossing or placing engravings at the tablet’s apex especially if the tablet is prone to erosion. This is because the engraving would wear out when it encounters other hard surface or tablets. The eroded particles would then mix in with the coating pan and stick to other wet tablets causing an unaesthetically look for the finished products. Another is that the particles would create dust particles and accumulate at the bottle’s bottom.

Engraving or embossing should be kept to a minimum. Excessive engraving or embossing sometimes happens when manufacturers want to input the company’s or the drug’s information to the tablet’s surface. Excessive engraving would result to a weaker tablet surface, which would, then lead to it eroding and can cause picking or sticking. This can also cause the tool design to weaken due to chipping and fracturing.

Engraving should be kept to a minimum for film-coated tablets as engraving can affect the angle and width of the tablet’s film during the coating process. Incorrect engraving would result to problems such as bridging and excess coating, which can also reduce the legibility of the engravings.

It is important to choose the tool steel equipment as it is crucial in promoting tablet quality as well as affect the overall expenses of the company. As the equipment wears out, the quality of the tablet produced diminishes. The wear of the tool is not determined by the size of the tool but the quality of the tablet. When the punch wears out, the edge of the punch becomes distorted and conforms to the inside of the cup resulting to a sharp burr. This burr is also called as “j- hook” which can cause flashing, lower yields, increase ejection forces, capping as well as increase in the temperature during operation and affect the press’ quality.

In choosing the tool steel equipment, it is important to consider the tablet shape, compression force and the overall product features. Choosing the right one would not only prolong the equipment but would also ensure the tablet’s quality and reduce operational expenses. Nowadays, the tool manufacturer has a variety of equipment, which is still virtually new to tablet manufacturing companies. Communication between the tool and tablet manufacturer would ensure that the right tool selection is chosen.

The tablet manufacturers do not manufacture tool equipment and vice versa. That said, both parties play an important role in ensuring the success of the manufacturing process. One would not be successful without the other part and as both are expert in their selected fields, it is therefore important that both would communicate and impart their expertise to ensure efficiency and quality of the product as well as help both in terms of increasing their customer share. Proper communication between both parties would not only be an excellent time saver, it also helps reduce operating expenses.

No matter the size of the company, a timely communication would ensure that the product would be a success. Communication is the answer to tablet operation and beneficial for all departments to be engaged in. Each one plays an important role to the success of the tablet process.