Tackling Common Problems in Tableting and Tooling

The tableting science anti-research (TSAR) project seeks to understand why certain formulations stick to tablet tooling.
Mar 01, 2013

This article provides an overview of I Holland's tableting science anti-stick research (TSAR) project, which the company is conducting in collaboration with the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom. The TSAR project seeks to understand why certain formulations stick to tablet tooling, a major problem often encountered by tablet manufacturers.


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Problems during tablet manufacturing often result in process downtime and higher operating costs. Some of these problems can be minimized or eliminated with proper maintenance and storage of tablet tooling. Pharmaceutical Technology spoke to experts at I Holland about the causes of common problems such as tablet weight variation, hardness or breakage issues, capping, picking, and sticking, as well as a seven-step process for tool care.

I Holland representatives also discussed the company's research collaboration with Nottingham University's School of Pharmacy in the United Kingdom, which seeks to understand why certain formulations stick to tablet tooling, a major problem that is often encountered by tablet manufacturers. The aim of this joint project is to develop a predictive tool that will enable the identification of the best coating solution for formulation-sticking issues without the need of carrying out full-scale trial-and-error experiments with several anti-stick coatings.

Tableting science

PharmTech: What is tableting science?

I Holland: Tableting science is part of I Holland's core service offering. It encompasses many aspects of our R&D capability, including work with academic and technical partners on scientific research projects that help us to improve our understanding of why a punch or die performs well. For example, for years many tooling manufacturers have polished punches to an optimum mirror finish because they know it helps the punch to perform more effectively, but no one really understood why this was the case. Punch and die manufacturers are essentially engineering companies and often have a reluctance to become involved in wider tableting issues.

Our investment in tableting science will help tablet manufacturers to reduce expenditures that can be associated with poor tooling performance further down the line by eliminating many issues before the punch or die hits production. For example, 'sticking' is a major tablet-production issue that we are trying to tackle through our work with the University of Nottingham on the tableting science anti-stick research (TSAR) project. We hope to deliver a predictive tool that will remove the need to undertake expensive coating trials to determine the best coating solution.