Operating a tablet press is more of a fine art than a science. Numerous factors have to come together in just the right way to produce a clean, well-formed tablet. If anything is off, you can get crumbly, spotted, streaked, malformed or improperly weighted pills and tablets. In truth, every tablet press is different and success means becoming familiar with the specific habits and peculiarities of the press on which you work. Walking through the variables to ensure you have your tablet press correctly set-up will ensure a quality product. However, expect a little trial and error at each juncture.
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Clean your hopper and feeder mechanisms to rid them of any debris or blockages. Then test them with a common powder to ensure they give proper, even flow. Your tablet press will only work when powder enters the press in an even, consistent manner. You may have to adjust how these pieces fit into the press and adjust their balance to improve the flow.
Check your machine conditions. The up and down pressure under load should be within 0.003 inches of the setting on a mew tablet die. Also check the pressure rolls and cams to ensure they are in good working order. These are essential to a proper press.
Test your punch working length to ensure it is within one one-thousandth of an inch. This is the typical tolerate of a new die casting tool. Run the machine to ensure each and every punch is falling with the parameters before an actual production run.
Set your feeder to run on a slow setting. Your best results in breaking down any chunks and granules in your powder will come from the feeder churning slowly and consistently which creates thoroughness.
Maintain a constant feed level in your hopper. The amount of powder in the hopper affects the head pressure, which is largely responsible for the accuracy of the tablet weight. Therefore, to avoid variation in weight, you must avoid variation in the level of hopper contents.
Set the distance between the feeder and the die table to be smaller when your powder is composed of small particles and farther when it contains large granules. However, if the powder is waxy or moist, you may just have to experiment until you get it right.
Choose an appropriate fill-cam for the tablet you want to create. Use a shallow one for thin pills and a deep one for tick tablets. Fill-cams allow for the escape of powder overflow during the actual press movement and there must be enough room for this to happen.
Change the scraper blade if it is looking dull or worn. If the scraper does not clean away loose powder and residue, your entire system can backup. Additionally, a malfunctioning scraper blade will affect the consistency and weight of your tablets.
Operate per manufacturer specifications. Some machines require you to manually operate a press lever for each tablet formed. Others -- particularly machines used in large-scale production -- operate automatically once you have all the variables set. The real work is in making sure that everything is in place for the press to give the right results.
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