Tablets & Capsules


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O Tablets & Capsules April 2014 33 tooling Maintain tablet quality by inspecting these critical points Stephen Natoli Natoli Engineering Inspecting tooling and tablet press components for wear and defects can help you understand and resolve problems with tablet quality. This article focuses on inspection points that are easy to overlook but can cause significant tablet quality issues and limit tooling service life. perators have always needed to inspect the tablet press and compression tooling to ensure tablets met spec- ifications. But it became especially important in the 1950s, and it had nothing to do with poor-quality or non- conforming tablets. Rather, it stemmed from the arrival of a tablet press—Manesty's Drycota—that was rejecting non-conforming tools. The Drycota was a rare machine then and it still is. It has a side-by-side design and uses a single drive shaft to both compress and dry-coat tablets. When it was intro- duced into the USA from England, the press came with cam tracks that conformed to the Manesty standard. Many American operators were unaware of that and con- tinued using standard TSM punches, which often caused the press to seize and crash because the TSM punch heads were larger than what the Drycota required. Back then—with lead times for tooling orders averag- ing somewhere between 4 and 6 months—many tablet manufacturers hired local machine shops to reverse-engi- neer the tooling. They weren't always successful, and ulti- mately operators turned to a punch-head "go/no-go" g-Natoliart_33-35_Masters 4/3/14 2:40 PM Page 33

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