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Maximizing Your Tooling ROI

by / Thursday, 21 February 2019

Tablet compression tooling is a considerable investment for your company. Quality tooling and a proper maintenance program are integral to producing high-quality tablets efficiently. Polishing and refurbishing are two of the surest and most inexpensive ways to maintain tablet quality, reduce operating costs, and yield the full ROI potential of your tooling.

Punches and dies will experience wear during tablet production which can lead to inefficient operation if not properly managed. Tablet imperfections due to tooling wear can result in tablet quality issues, such as capping, sticking, and discoloration which can be experienced during—and even after—production. With the proper training, these tableting defects can be easily avoided. For example, the procedure to refurbish the punch cup to restore luster, remove J-hook, and refurbish the punch cup land can take only seconds per punch when done by an experienced technician.

J-hook Illustration

With the correct polishing equipment and procedures, punches and dies can be restored to like-new condition.  Maintaining the quality of your punches can decrease press downtime; reduce production-related costs; increase high-quality tablet yields, and increase tooling life by up to 80 percent.

Each organization should develop a standard operating procedure to determine when to polish tools and the proper methods for various tooling sets based on the product being compressed and the frequency of use.  Tools in more intense production situations may need refurbishing more often.

Proper training is the key to successful tool refurbishing. An experienced, well-trained technician can reduce costs by putting tools back into service that might otherwise be discarded.

The Polishing Station: An Essential Part of Proper Tool Maintenance

Natoli Complete Polishing Station

Natoli Complete Polishing Station with before and after punches

polishing station is vital for the proper maintenance and polishing of the entire punch body. The polishing station removes J-hook and burrs, stores land to punch tips, and restores a mirror finish to punch cups in one easy step. A polishing station equipped with an unsewn cotton buff wheel provides the only polishing method to remove J-hook and restore land.

Restoring land is one of the most important procedures in tool refurbishing. Once a procedure is adapted to routinely refurbish land, you will immediately recognize an increase in tooling life. By utilizing the proper techniques and adhering to regular polishing procedures, you can reduce future tableting issues like chipping, picking, and sticking.

Depending on the formulation, there are different polishing accessories available to make the process more efficient. For example, chrome gloss bars produce a bright finish and are specifically designed for sticky products. A white rouge bar can help restore a mirror finish to the punch cup. Luster can be restored with a manual polisher which allows for precise speed control for finer, more detailed repairs.

Autopolisher for Tablet Compression Tooling and Parts

Natoli Automated Polishing Station

An automated polishing machine, when used in combination with a buffing wheel, provides a truly comprehensive tool polishing process. An automated polisher is an efficient method to remove product, abrasions, and harmful oxidation from your tooling. The tooling is fully-immersed and moved through polishing media in a circular motion to ensure consistent polishing results every time.

It is important to take a proactive approach to tooling maintenance and repair. If there are no current issues with tablet finish, capping, laminating, or sticking during a batch run, it is still good practice to visually inspect each piece to avoid future tableting complications. Polishing is a form of controlled wear; unnecessary refurbishing can adversely affect the life of the punches.

Although refurbishing tooling on-site saves downtime, shopping, and costs, it must also be understood that not all tool wear conditions are repairable. It is best to check with your tooling manufacturer if you experience tool damage that your trained polishing expert is unsure of repairing.

With proper tool maintenance, you will be able to extend tool life and produce a higher-quality tablet to truly maximize the investment you made for your tooling. To learn more about best practices, contact your Natoli representative or our customer service team.