Tablet compression tooling is a considerable investment for your company. Quality tooling and a proper maintenance routine are critical for efficiently producing high-quality tablets. Polishing is one of the most inexpensive ways to maintain tablet quality, reduce production-related costs, and decrease tablet-press downtime.
Punches and dies experience wear during tablet production, this can lead to tooling damage like J-hook, abrasions, tip and head wear if not properly managed. Damaged tooling can result in tablet quality issues, such as sticking, picking, and capping which can be experienced during—and even after—production. With proper training, these common tableting defects can be easily avoided. For example, the procedure to restore luster to punch cups can take a couple of seconds per punch when completed by an experienced technician.
The correct polishing equipment can restore punches and dies to a 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.
A 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.
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.
A complete polishing kit, is crucial for maintaining punch cups. As cups are used, they lose their luster. Lack of luster increases the likelihood for tableting issues. This complete polishing kit includes the polisher with food speed control, clamp-on hand piece stand, 24 fine dental brushes, 320 grit deburring stone, 4 oz polishing paste and so much more. The polisher with foot control is perfect for polishing work and fine detail repair.
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.