What is Tablet Press: A Ultimate Technical Guide for You

Jul 07, 2024

What is Tablet Press

Tablet press machines are crucial production machinery in the solid dosage forming process, widely used in the pharmaceutical and chemical industry. As China TOP 3 pharmaceutical and packaging machinery manufacturer in Guangdong, RichPacking leverages over 31 years of extensive experience to provide a comprehensive and accessible introduction to tablet compress machines in this article. We hope this will help you gain a thorough understanding of this essential equipment.


tablet press machine


Definition of a Tablet Press Machine

A tablet press machine is a device that compresses powders, granules, pellets, or their mixtures into tablets of the same size. The shapes of the tablets can include round, diamond, ring, or other irregular forms. Additionally, it can produce multi-layered tablets, such as double-layered bi-color tablets, and triple-layered tri-color tablets.


Working Principle of Tablet Press Machine

Let's delve into the working principle of a tablet compress machine. It can be succinctly summarized in three steps:


working principle of tablet press


1. Filling: The powder or granular material is added to the tablet forming position of the press.

2. Compression: The upper and lower punches exert force, compressing the powder, granules, or mixtures filled in the die to form tablets.

3. Ejection :Once the tablets are compressed, they are ejected from the die.


Types of Tablet Press Machines

From the above, we understand that the basic principle of a tablet press machine is quite simple. Based on the different implementations of the three working steps, the main types can be categorized into manual tablet presses, single-punch tablet presses, basket punch tablet presses, and rotary tablet presses.


1. Manual Pill Press

a. Introduction

A manual tablet press is a tool purely driven by human power to compress tablets. The material is manually added, compressed by human force, and the finished tablets are manually removed. This is the most basic type.


manual tablet press


b. Disadvantages

Since the entire process relies on manual operation, the efficiency is understandably very low. The output can only reach a few hundred tablets per hour. The force applied to the material is very small, so the amount of material that can be compressed is limited. The maximum diameter and thickness of the tablets can only be up to 10mm and 6mm, respectively.


c. Advantages

Its advantage lies in its extremely low cost, ease of use without any prior experience, and the ability to manufacture tablets anytime, anywhere.


d. Common Applications

Manual tablet presses are widely used in scenarios where high quality and quantity of tablets are not required, and also in small-scale production in home workshops, where the budget is usually limited.


2. Single-Punch Tablet Press

a. Introduction

A single-punch tablet press, also known as a single-station cam tablet press, can produce only one tablet at a time. Its main structure consists of a frame, guide rails, cam, upper and lower punches, forming die, scraper, and hopper.


single punch tablet press


b. Operation Process

When the machine operates, the material is first filled into the die. Then, the upper and lower punches move up and down driven by the cam, compressing the material in the die into a tablet based on the shape of the mold. Finally, the scraper sweeps the formed tablet out horizontally, completing one tablet pressing cycle.


c. Disavantages

As a relatively basic tablet press, the single-punch tablet press can produce only one tablet at a time, resulting in relatively low production efficiency. The control precision of tablet weight and hardness is also not very high.


d. Advantages

Compared to manual tablet presses, it offers a significant improvement in production efficiency. Its simple structure and small footprint provide advantages such as low procurement cost, ease of operation, and convenient maintenance and cleaning.


e. Applications

Single-punch tablet presses are typically used in small-scale production, small laboratories, and academic research in schools. They also have some use in pharmaceutical production, particularly in less developed regions of Africa and some underdeveloped areas of Asia, where they still hold a significant market share.


3. Basket Tablet Press

a. Introduction

This type of tablet press has a transmission structure that resembles a basket, hence the name. It is usually used to compress large tablets such as detergent tablets, dishwasher tablets, and fish bait blocks.


basket tablet press


b. Disadvantages

It has only one tablet compression station. Although multiple holes can be customized on one die to increase output, the production capacity of a basket tablet press remains low. Additionally, because it cannot isolate the material from the external environment, it does not meet GMP production standards.


c. Advantages

Its advantage lies in its ability to achieve high compression pressure through the vertical movement of a set of upper and lower punches driven by a motor. This allows for the formation of very large tablets.


d. Applications

With the advancement of technology and the increasing stringency of production standards worldwide, this model is no longer suitable for use in the pharmaceutical industry, where tablet demand is highest. Since the basket tablet press does not meet GMP production requirements, it is typically used in the chemical industry and daily necessities industry to produce tablets not intended for human consumption.


4. Rotary Tablet Press

a. Introduction

The rotary tablet press is the most commonly used tablet press machine today. Its main structure includes a turntable, multiple sets of molds, a transmission structure, and a control system.


rotary tablet press


b. Operation Process

The main stations in the rotary tablet press process are the filling station, pre-compression station, main compression station, and ejection station. During operation, multiple sets of molds rotate with the turntable, while the upper and lower punches move horizontally on the guide rails.


1. Filling Station:

At the filling station, material from the feeder falls into the space created by the downward movement of the lower punch, completing the filling process. The amount of material filled depends on the space left by the lower punch in the die. After leaving the filling station, a scraper removes excess powder from the top surface of the die, which then enters the powder recovery channel to return to the feeder.


2. Pre-compression Station:

At the pre-compression station, the pre-compression roller performs the first compression to remove air from the powder in the die. The effectiveness of pre-compression depends on the contact time between the upper punch and the pre-compression roller.


3. Main Compression Station:

The material in the die is subjected to a strong compression by the upper and lower punches at the main compression station, forming the tablet.


4. Ejection Station:

The upper and lower punches move upwards along the ejection guide rail, lifting the formed tablet above the top surface of the die, and the tablet is finally ejected along the chute.


c. Advantages

1. High Production Output:

The rotary tablet press operates in a way that makes its production efficiency much higher than other types of presses. Production efficiency can be further increased by adding more molds to the turntable and by increasing the rotational speed of the turntable.


2. Intelligent Operation:

In addition to high output, the rotary tablet press can be equipped with additional functions through PLC intelligent system programming, achieving high levels of intelligence, convenience, and practicality. By setting parameters on the HMI interface without complex adjustments to the machine's structure, tablet thickness, hardness, and other parameters can be easily adjusted.


3. Support for Industry 4.0:

Modern rotary tablet presses are equipped with various data interfaces, enabling data transmission via Ethernet, Type-C, and USB interfaces. This supports data uploading and downloading, providing a strong foundation for pharmaceutical companies and other industries to upgrade to Industry 4.0 standards.


d. Applications

The rotary tablet press, as the most versatile tablet press model, can produce all types of tablets, with diameters ranging from 2mm to 100mm, thicknesses from 1mm to 60mm, and shapes from standard to irregular, including single-layer and multi-layer tablets. It is an ideal production model for the pharmaceutical, food, health supplement, and chemical industries.


Tablet Press Machine Dies

The dies of a tablet press machine determine the size and shape of the tablets produced. A tablet press machine is versatile and can produce different tablets simply by changing the dies, which can be round, oval, diamond-shaped, ring-shaped, etc.


tablet press dies


1. Composition of the Dies

a. Upper Punch

The upper punch moves downward during the tablet compression process, compressing the material with the lower punch at the main compression station. The upper punch has a pin to fix its orientation, ensuring that the upper and lower punches remain aligned in the same direction during prolonged operation.


b. Lower Punch

The lower punch moves upward along the guide rail during compression, pressing the material with the upper punch at the compression station, and then moves up at the ejection station to push the tablet out of the die.


c. Die Cavity

The die is where the material is filled and compressed. It must withstand the horizontal expansion force generated during compression.


2. Material of the Dies

Choosing the material for the dies requires consideration of several standards:


material of tablet press dies


a. Corrosion Resistance

Some raw materials may contain corrosive chemicals. If the dies are not corrosion-resistant, they can react chemically with the materials, causing tablet contamination and reducing the dies' lifespan.


b. High Hardness

The dies are subjected to high-pressure compression over long periods. Insufficient hardness can lead to deformation, affecting the size and shape of the tablets.


c. Wear Resistance

The metal content in pharmaceutical production must meet strict standards. The dies must be highly wear-resistant, as excessive wear can produce metal particles that contaminate the tablets, severely affecting product quality.


d. Non-Toxicity

The material of the dies must not contain any harmful elements, as they come into direct contact with the material. Even small metal particles mixing with the tablets should not harm human health.


Therefore, tablet press machine dies are typically made of stainless steel or hard alloy due to their excellent corrosion resistance, high hardness, wear resistance, and non-toxicity.


How to Choose the Right Tablet Press Machine

After reviewing the classifications of tablet press machines above, you likely have a basic understanding. However, when it comes to actually purchasing a machine, here are more professional and clear recommendations:


1. Recommendations for Choosing Types

a. Manual/Single Punch Tablet Press Machine

If you are using it for home workshops or small-batch production, or if your tablet diameter requirement is around 10mm, then a manual tablet press or single punch press machine is suitable for you.


b. Basket Press Tablet Press Machine

If you are in the chemical industry or household goods industry and need to press large-diameter, thick tablets (such as charcoal blocks, bait blocks), and you do not have high production volume requirements, then a basket press tablet press machine is a good choice.


c. Rotary Tablet Press Machine

If you are in the following situations: medium to large pharmaceutical companies, health product manufacturers, in countries or regions with strict GMP standards, have high production requirements for tablet pressing, and require high-quality tablets (uniform weight, high hardness, smooth surface), then we strongly recommend purchasing a more versatile model - the rotary tablet press machine. It is the ideal choice for you.


2. Recommendations for Choosing Models

a. Based on Production Requirements

For tablet diameters up to 25mm, we recommend choosing the ZP-29D rotary tablet press machine.


b. Based on Tablet Size

For tablet diameters between 25mm and 60mm, we recommend choosing the ZP-15/19E large tablet press machine.


c. Based on Tablet Quality

If you have strict requirements for tablet weight and thickness, we recommend choosing the HZP-26/40 high-speed tablet press machine.



3. More Detailed Parameters

Tablet Press Speed:

Choose a machine that suits your expected production volume; speed affects overall production efficiency.


Compression Pressure:

Determine the required compression force based on your raw material characteristics and tablet requirements.


Automation Level:

Whether the intelligent control system can meet your production needs, such as PLC programming, data recording, etc.


Die Change and Maintenance:

Consider the ease of die change and maintenance costs, which affect production flexibility and cost control.


With these recommendations and detailed parameters, you can better choose a tablet press machine that suits your actual production requirements and budget, ensuring high production efficiency and product quality while maximizing return on investment.










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Differences Between Tablet Press Machines and Capsule Filling Machines


Tablet press machines and capsule filling machines are both crucial production equipment in the pharmaceutical industry, differing in their working principles, drug forms, production speeds, and characteristics of the final products.


1. Working Principles

a. Tablet Press Machine

A tablet press machine compresses powders, granules, microgranules, etc., under pressure to form solid tablets.



b. Capsule Filling Machine

A capsule filling machine fills hard shell capsules or soft gelatin capsules with solid materials such as powders, granules, microgranules, or suspensions, oils, etc.



2. Medicine Forms

a. Tablet Press Machine

Tablet press machines produce solid tablets in various forms, including regular tablets, enteric-coated tablets, and sustained-release tablets.


b. Capsule Filling Machine

Capsule filling machines produce drug formulations in capsule form, filling them with solid granules, powders, pellets, or liquid medications in the case of soft capsules.


3. Production Speed

a. Tablet Press Machine

For large-scale pharmaceutical production, especially rotary tablet presses, offer higher production speeds and efficiency compared to capsule filling machines. Rotary presses can increase output by assembling more dies on the same rotary platform. In large pharmaceutical plants, tablets with diameters typically ranging from 6mm to 12mm can be produced by this machine's single stroke over multiple die molds.


b. Capsule Filling Machine

Generally, capsule filling machines operate at slower speeds compared to tablet presses. Their production throughput relies on multiple filling stations. Capsule machines typically feature one to three filling stations with up to three rows of capsule holes, limiting their output. Capsule filling is also intermittent, unlike the continuous operation of tablet presses, though modern automated equipment can achieve high-speed capsule filling suitable for medium to large-scale enterprises.


4. Drug Characteristics

a. Tablet Press Machine

Tablet presses offer cost-effective production with precise control over dosages. However, they may have limitations for drugs with strong odors or heat sensitivity, requiring additional processing steps such as coating for odor masking or protection.


b. Capsule Filling Machine

Capsule filling can mask drug flavors effectively and protect heat-sensitive or unstable ingredients from light and environmental factors. However, the production cost of capsules may be slightly higher compared to tablets.


5. Production Costs

Capsule production costs are typically higher than those of tablets, considering the additional cost of purchasing empty capsule shells.


Therefore, users need to consider drug characteristics, dosage formulations, production costs, and efficiency when choosing between tablet presses and capsule filling machines.


Importance of tablet press

The tablet press machine plays a crucial role across various industries due to its large-scale production capabilities and precise control over tablet manufacturing.


1. Pharmaceutical Industry

Tablet presses are indispensable in the pharmaceutical industry. They ensure uniformity in tablet weight, size, and composition, thereby guaranteeing the dosage accuracy and therapeutic consistency of medications. Whether producing regular tablets, sustained-release tablets, or enteric-coated tablets, tablet presses are critical tools for maintaining drug quality and production efficiency.


tablet press in pharmaceutical


2. Nutraceutical Production

With increasing health awareness, the market for nutraceuticals continues to expand. Tablet presses help manufacturers precisely control the content of minerals, vitamins, and other ingredients, ensuring compliance with standardized production requirements. Their high production efficiency also supports meeting the growing market demand.


3. Food Industry

In the food industry, tablet presses are used to produce various block-shaped foods such as bouillon cubes, salt blocks, soup cubes, sugar cubes, and candies. These products, due to their compression during production, are easier to package and store, extending shelf life and enhancing consumer convenience and product marketability.


4. Chemical and Household Goods Industries

Tablet presses are utilized in the chemical and household goods industries to manufacture a range of functional block-shaped products, including dishwashing tablets, detergent tablets, camphor tablets, charcoal blocks, and bait blocks. Production of these products not only improves quality of life but also ensures product quality and safety through standardized manufacturing processes.


In summary, tablet presses are critical manufacturing equipment that not only serve as foundational tools in the pharmaceutical industry but also find wide applications in food, nutraceuticals, chemical, and household goods industries, providing efficient, precise, and reliable manufacturing solutions for products in diverse sectors.


Trends in Tablet Press Machines

Tablet press machines play a crucial role in various industries, particularly in pharmaceuticals, emphasizing production efficiency and precision.


1. Automation:

With the advancement of AI, industrial equipment is moving towards mature automation. Tablet press machines are increasingly designed with advanced programming to enhance drug quality and production efficiency.


2. Production Efficiency:

As health awareness continues to grow, the demand for dietary supplements and medications is increasing. Therefore, pharmaceutical equipment must be more efficient, capable of large-scale and continuous production. Rotary tablet presses are pivotal in research and development.


3. Precision in Tablet Weight:

Advances in pharmaceutical formulations demand precise control over individual tablet weight and hardness to ensure consistent dosing and controlled-release capabilities. Rotary tablet presses equipped with weight and hardness detection will be critical equipment in the future.



In summary, tablet press machines are essential equipment in industries such as pharmaceuticals, food, dietary supplements, and chemicals. Understanding the working principles and types of tablet press machines is crucial when making procurement decisions. We hope this article has been helpful. For more information on tablet press machines, please feel free to contact us. We are more than happy to assist you further.

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