Remove The Boot
So the first thing you want to do when replacing your TDP die, is really try and make the area as accessible as possible. So we're going to start by taking off the TDP 5 boot, which really just gets in your way when trying to change a die. As you can see, this is quite a well used desktop tablet press. Your dies will often blow, or go, or break, or however you want to describe it. They'll probably do it around the half million tablet mark. You'll probably need to change motors around the five million tablet mark. So we're just in the scenario that either we just want to change our branding, or just want to change what we're producing, or maybe our die has, unfortunately, had its time.
Remove the front bolts
So yeah, just about to change the die. Here we go. So get that shoot out of the way. Once you've got that shoot out of the way, you want to loosen off these front two bolts. Find the right sized Allen key. There we go. Just loosen these off. You don't have to take them all the way out, but a good amount can be helpful. Get this one loosened off, as well. There we go. Now that should enable us to be able to eject this punch die center ring.
Ejecting the centre ring (of the punch die set)
One of the best ways that I've found of doing this, without completely taking the machine to pieces, is to loosen off this side nut and adjust your ejection height all the way up. There we go, adjust it a little bit more. So that when it gets to that stage, just starts to pop it up and out for you.
Just maybe adjust it a bit more. Just really change that up until you can start to see the thing that you really want to be able to see. Just spin this one down, get a little more height on it. The thing that you really want to be able to see, is that line just there. Now, if you take an Allen key, or maybe a screwdriver is probably better for this job, a flat head screwdriver like so, just pop it in under the edge of the rim. Start to work it out. Sometimes it can be done by hand, sometimes you need to continue to use that good old ejection height trick. Get this completely out of the way here. Out comes the center ring.
Removing the lower punch die
So that's the first section that you need to get out. You need to get out your center ring. Getting that out is really quite important because, obviously, you won't be able to get out the lower punch die first. Now, it's a good thing that we've adjusted the ejection height up really, really high, because that means now when we got it to the highest point in its motion, that means that our pin is right at the top. So if you get a monkey wrench, or a pair of pliers, adjust it down until it's nice and tight, and you should be able to get a good grip on that. Ease it a little, twist the machine until it's into its lowest position, and pop. Out comes the lower punch die.
Now, the difference between the upper die and the lower die, is that the lower die has this little groove just here, that you can see, that's cut out of it. And that's so that the bolt that goes in through the bottom can hold it into position. The next thing that you need to do, is you need to get off this lower punch die. So to do that, if you wind it down, you'll be able to see that there's a nut on there. And if you get in with a pair of pliers, you should be able to get that nut just going. You need to make sure that when you're loosening this nut off, that you are actually loosening off the nut, and that you're not actually increasing the punch pressure. So to do that, you need to hold this top bolt. So you've got that off or loosened up, just finish it off.
This top nut will be done up particularly tough because of the fact that it has to hold in the whole upper punch die. To loosen it off, you have to move it to the left of the machine. To tighten it up, you have to move it to the right there. There we go. Just work that nut down there. It doesn't matter if it falls into the hole at this point. Just move that up to get that up and out of the way. Okay, pull it out. That's that section out. And then, as you did with the lower punch die, you just want to tighten up a pair of pliers, or in this case, a monkey wrench, until it sits tight. And what I find is quite a good trick, is if you roll it up a bit, sitting quite high, and you just take a hammer. That's why a monkey wrench is a little bit easier than a pair of pliers in this point, because monkey wrenches, you can tighten up and then move your hand away. There we go. That's just often one of the better ways of just loosening it up. And what I'll do, is I'll just show you a side by side difference of the two dies. The upper die is the one with the much shorter neck, and the lower die is the one with the groove cut out of it. So that's how you can tell the difference.
Reinstalling the TDP Punch Dies
So to pop the dies back in, just do exactly the same thing, but in reverse. So take your punch die, top punch die. Sometimes it's nice to have this oiled up, but it doesn't necessarily have to be. Just sometimes it can make it a little bit easier to get it in and out. Pop your top punch die into position. All the way up it goes. Make sure it's all the way up inside there, nice and tight, buff it up, and pop your bolt over the top of it. Just start it off by hand, if you can. Get a wrench in there to hold it in position. There we go. Just started that off by hand, nice and easy. Get it wound up a little way so that you can then go to work with another monkey wrench. Now, getting this top die on and tight is really, really important. You don't want it moving about during the punch process because if you're turning out 6,000 tablets an hour, just a small amount of difference in the space of a couple of minutes can really put a fair few hundred tablets out, and then that can all become wastage if you're not careful. So it can be very, very problematic.
So you really do want to get this very tight. I mean, these machines are so simple. I sometimes go out and do repairs on machines in the UK, and I find that sometimes when I turn up, it is often down to things that haven't been tightened properly. Things not tightened properly, or things not lubricated properly, that is the only way that this machine can really go wrong, because it is just that basic. We just had our top die fall out, so hopefully we'll be able to just slide it back in there until this thing will hold it maybe. It would be easier if we just had a screwdriver in there, holding it into position.