By Dale Natoli, Vice President
Tablet compression tooling, commonly referred to as punches and dies, is probably the most misunderstood element of the tablet manufacturing process. Tooling is responsible for the tablet shape and face configurations, and is also an integral factor for an efficient tablet operation. A good tablet design with proper tooling can help gain market share, consumer confidence and higher profits, whereas a poor shape can cost literally thousands, if not millions, of dollars in lost sales, revenue and additional operating expenses.
Tablets designed for human consumption should be elegant and visually pleasing with the perception of being easily swallowed. In many cases, the specific tablet design is greatly influenced and directed by marketing concerns relating to customer recognition, confidence and loyalty. It is also necessary for the tablet design to be practical, easily compressed, coated and packaged. Consideration and attention to the idiosyncrasies of each product is necessary in order to achieve efficiency and optimum operating performance.
At the conception of a new product, frequent communication is essential. Departments such as marketing, research and development, engineering, production, packaging and the tooling supplier itself should collectively initiate a team spirit through an exchange of ideas and concerns. The tooling supplier usually proves vital to an efficient operation. Yet it is still too often that a tablet makes its way through research and development, testing, and documentation, and then gets to production and can’t be produced at a rate set forth by marketing.