November 12, 2013

“With sufficient forethought and consideration, most potential tablet making problems can be eliminated at the early stage of design,” is the advice of I Holland, a leading specialist manufacturer of tablet tooling for the pharmaceutical and nutraceutical markets.

Good tablet design is essential to prevent downstream problems, produce high quality tablets and maximise the efficiency of the tabletting process. It was the focus of I Holland’s most recent webinar, looking at why it is so important and how this can help to eliminate potential tablet making problems from the outset.

Below is a simple rundown of the main issues discussed during the webinar, highlighting some of the elements that should be considered as part of any tablet design process:

• Tablet shape and profile — The first decision is to select a basic shape, taking into consideration what tablet press will be used, as this will dictate the maximum size of tablet. Once this has been chosen, the profile is the next characteristic to think about.

• The type of profile required will be influenced by several factors, including the granule’s characteristics, embossing requirements, coating processes, packaging and company’s branding.

• Tablet breakability — If the tablet is to have a breakline, it is important to decide what type and whether it is for functional or decorative purposes. If the breakline is to be functional, it should penetrate sufficiently into the tablet whilst maintaining an optimised radius and angle. A larger radius usually makes the breakline less effective.

• Tablet/Tooling Performance — The design must stand up to the demands of tablet production. When looking at possible designs, the following should be considered:

> Are fitting and handling processes controlled for designs that require delicate handling and setting?

> Is the choice of material and coating appropriate for the formulation?

> Are tool maintenance practices optimal for ensuring prolonged tooling life?

> Can the design withstand prolonged cyclic loading to produce a well compacted tablet?

• Tablet branding — The face area of the tablet should be maximised to avoid picking and lack of distinction. Be aware that problems may arise if too much of the face area is used, leading to embossing distortion and weakness in the tooling.

• Anti-counterfeiting — An expert tablet designer can employ techniques to make counterfeiting more difficult. These are not always visible to the naked eye but ensure that a branded tablet can be identified as an original.

• Tablet compression tooling — Careful design of the tablet shape and form, and the force applied during compression, also needs to be considered when choosing suitable tooling. It is advisable to avoid small, delicate and complex shapes with vulnerable, high-stress areas.

For the full comprehensive discussion, view the webinar at

I Holland Ltd, +44 115 972 6153,,

November 12, 2013

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