(55d) Tablet Press Feed Frames: The Influence of Design and Operation On Powder Flow and Tablet Quality

Tablet presses are used in the manufacture of pharmaceutical tablets to compress a powder blend containing an active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) into dosage forms suitable for use by patients.  There are several powder handling challenges within this process where powder must transferred without significant segregation from a large bin blender to a die where it is ultimately compressed into tablets.  The tablet press feed frame is a key component used to transfer the powder from the feed chute to the empty dies.  In this work, the discrete element method (DEM) is used to model powder flow within the feed frame of a lab scale tablet press.  Varying paddle wheel designs, rotation speeds, and rotation direction are considered in conjunction with varying levels of powder cohesion.  The effects of these variables on the powder flow pattern, powder residence time, and tablet quality (e.g. tablet weight variability) are assessed.