What Determines the Size and Shape of Pills?

To make tablets or pills, we have to use tablet press machine and tools like tablet tooling, called punch tooling, punches and dies, tablet tool, die molds as well. After a four-course procedure of “feeding, scraping, pressing, ejecting”, the granules are compressed into tablets. We must have noticed that the tablets can be made in various shapes, sizes, and colors. Then what determines these differences?


  1. The amount of drug is critical to determine the size

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a strict regulation on the medicine quality, especially the dosage, which is also a matter of weight of medicine. In the research of a new medicine, the active ingredients and excipients has come to a fixed ratio, and the weight is thus settled. Of course, a weighty tablet must be compressed in big diameter, compared with the light tablet.


  1. The tablet tooling is the most direct factor to decide the size and shape

A qualified pharmacy manufacturer must well understand the tablet compression process. Feeding course is to provide granules into feeder and fall into dies, and then scrapping the superfluous materials to a horizontal level, then the granules will be compacted into tablet with the upper and lower punches going up and down, finally the lower punches will continue to go up and eject the tablets out from middle dies. So the pressing course is the main process to determine the size and shape of tablets.

A station of tablet tooling is made by one up punch, one bottom punch, and one middle die. The punch tip can be designed into different diameter. For an instance, ZP9 rotary tablet press allows to make tablets of 3mm to 22mm. So the punch tip diameter varies from 3mm to 22mm for the ZP9.

Likewise, the tablet shape is also determined by the profile of punch tip. However, there is no restriction on the profile of punch tip. It can be round, oval, triangle, rhombus, cartoon figure, or even some grotesque shape. And the imprint on the tip is also versatile. For medicine, the tablet tooling with XANAX, G3722, GG249, S903, R039, K/9, M/30, WATSON logo is most concerned. And Judging from our experience, most popular imprints on the punch tip are transformer, superman, batman, mushroom, playboy, pacman, etc. Of course, some of you may have special requirement on the pill size, shape, or imprint, the vendor could customize.

However, there are many tablet tooling with different specifications, and different manufacturers may have different standard on the tooling. Worldwidely, the Btooling and Dtooling are widely acknowledged as they are conforming to the TSM and EU standard. And also BB tooling and BD tooling is their subcategory due to minor differences on the punch tip, barrel, body, etc.


This article tells us what determines the size and shape of pills.


  1. The tablet press property limits the size and shape of pills to be made

As we all know, many different types of tablet press in the market, and, of course, they all have different properties. Two main presses are single punch tablet press and rotary tablet press. The former one should be used for small batch tablet production, and small size with simple shape would be better. And the latter one is suitable for bulk production, big, thick and intricate tablets can be satisfied on these machine. Especially the ZP35D, it can make bi-colored or core-colored tablets as two feeding systems are equipped on.


This article tells us what determines the size and shape of pills.


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