Tablet compression tooling in the pharma industry refers to the dies and punches used in a tablet press machine. They give the tablets the desired physical parameters such as shape, size, and hardness. Without tablet tooling, it is impossible to produce tablets.
Tablet compression tooling is an integral and critical part of a tablet press machine. After the product’s chemical composition, tablet tooling is the major contributor to the tablet’s output specification. If not properly selected, designed, or used, it will destroy and alter the entire specification of a pharmaceutical product.
Importance of tablet compression tooling in the pharmaceutical industry
Let’s discuss some importance of tablet tooling in the pharmaceutical industry
The entire physical properties of a tablet depend upon compression tooling. If the tooling is accurately tailored to the requirements, the tablet press will produce the tablets with the desired specifications. On the other hand, if tablet tooling is not designed accurately, it will negatively affect the tablet output, even if the formulation is accurate.
Tablets are also used for tablet branding in the pharmaceutical industry. Compression tooling marks tablet with a company logo or other identification. It also acts as anti-counterfeiting to ensure authenticity and protect tablets from counterfeiting.
The desired logo or identification mark is carved on the tablet tooling for branding. During compression, the mark is permanently engraved on the tablet.
Components of tablet compression tooling in the pharmaceutical industry
Following are the components of tablet compression tooling pharmaceutical industry
The punch is the long metallic part that presses the powder in a die. There are two punches – one from the upper side and another from the lower side, and they both press against each other. Punch is divided into various parts that perform multiple functions.
The parts of punches include the following.
Head: The head is the upper part of the punch, used to fix the punch in the cam of the tablet press machine. This part receives the force from the compression roller. Cams are mechanical guides in a tablet press machine to guide the punches throughout the machine revolution. Both upper and lower punches remain intact with each machine through the punch head. There are two types of heads – Head flat and Doomed head.
Head Chamfer: Its basic function is to ensure smooth and restriction-free movement during the operation of a cam. It does so by having minimum edges.
Neck: It is the part that connects the head with the body. It facilitates punch fitting in the bore and allows easy movement.
Head Degree: It is the angle of tilt from head chamfer to neck. Its degree depends on the cam configuration, and its primary purpose is to facilitate smooth movement.
Body: It is used to connect the neck and tooltip. This is the part responsible for holding the punch n the bore of the compression machine.
Tip: The tip is the part which directly impacts the tablet’s properties. The powder takes the form of a tooltip and comes in direct contact with it.
Key: The key is used as a safety mechanism to prevent the misalignment of the upper punch with the die. It is a small metallic part that fits inside the spacing of the upper punch to fix the upper punch. It helps to prevent accidents during the machine rotation.
Tip: powder gets filled into the cavity of the tip which is then converted into the tablet.
It is a small block with an appropriate hole in it. Powder fills the die, and the upper and lower punch moves forward into the dies from both upper and lower positions. The upper and lower punches compress the powder against each other.
The punch presses each other for a specific time, known as Dwell Time. A die is placed inside the turret base, which continuously rotates.
After compression, the upper & lower punch comes out of the die, and an ejection mechanism ejects the tablet.
Types of tablet compression tooling in the pharmaceutical industry
Commonly, tablet compression tooling is specified according to the TSM ( Tooling Specification Manual) and EU. The EU specification is based on ISO 18084 standard. According to these specifications, tablet compression tooling is divided into the following
- B – type
- D – type
The selection of tablet compression tooling types depends on the tablet’s properties.
B – type has long and thin body characteristics, with smaller tip specifications, and can tolerate less pressure. As a result, these types of tooling cannot produce tablets with greater hardness values. Its smaller size allows large punches in a compression machine, increasing the overall yield.
On the other hand, D – type tooling has a flat physical profile. This allows the punch to tolerate high compression force, so tablets with more significant hardness can be produced. With D – type tooling, the output yield is reduced because more significant physical profiles reduce the number of punches on the turret.