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Punch Life

Punch Life

I really want to thank you for sending your questions, praise, and for your patience while waiting for my reply. We have been really busy launching two new items.

Our New Training Center: Hands-on training with small groups of people. We have several machines set up to demonstrate how tablets are made and we are teaching individuals the basics of setting up a press, operating it and cleaning. This happens next week, then we have a bigger program in March…come join us.

Our new ILS: An Interactive Learning System designed to incorporate our theory and operations sessions with the clients own equipment and operating procedures. This system allows the new or experienced operator the ability learn or review the procedure(s). There are also self examinations that are recorded to show employee improvement. We have a lot more information on our website.

Ok, back to the question at hand:
Please tell me is there is any method to decide Average punch life?

Determining punch life involves analyzing many variables.

  1.  Punch tool steel type selection has to do the press condition, press speed, compression force required. Premium grades are not always the best choice, it depends of these variables.
  2. Punch Head design: Domed or non-domed heads. Domed heads tend to offer about 20-30% longer life. Round tips last much longer than irregular shaped tooling likes a caplet or oval shape (non-keyed vs. keyed)
  3. Punch Tip design: A good design improves compressibility, air release, and a strong blender land will result in greatly extending the life of a set of punches.
  4. Tablet press condition of: punch sockets, cams, pressure rolls
  5. Powder Abrasiveness: Many powders are very abrasive and will quickly shorten the life of the punch tip
  6. Fine Powders: the higher the percentage of fine dusty powders the greater the potential for binding, poor ejection, tight punches, and exaggerated wear patterns.
  7. Lack of compressibility: Non-granulated powders tend to require higher compression force. The higher the force the greater the wear.
  8. Handling: If tooling is mistreated it can easily shorten the life of a set of tooling from years, to a few months, to only a few days.
  9. Environments variations: Consistency is the key to manufacturing. Big changes in operating temperature and humidity can change the manufacturing dynamics.

Over the years I have inspected tooling that lasted for years and tooling that only lasted a few hours. In the pharmaceutical industry I expect tooling to exceed the 50 million mark. In the Nutritional industry I expect it to last 35 million. For Herbal Products the minimum expected life is 20-25 million. If tooling does not at least make these numbers I would start to look at why and ways to improve. On the other hand I have seen tooling last considerably longer, into the hundreds of millions and still going.