One of the most common questions we receive is “How long should a set of tools last?” It’s common for customers to use this information for budgetary purposes and to gauge if their department is meeting its targets. The answer is dependent on many factors, including the qualities (such as abrasiveness) of the material being compressed, and the steel type of the tooling.
Tooling is a significant investment for your company. While individual punches and dies may represent small a portion of production cost in relation to the purchase and maintenance of machines such as fluid bed dryers and tablet presses, over the life of a product many sets of tooling will be necessary – a sizable expenditure. Tablet manufacturers will receive the most use (and longest life cycle), as well as higher quality tablets from their tooling if it’s properly maintained.
“How can I make my tools last longer?” is an even better question. There are multiple ways to prolong the life of your punches and dies – maintenance is the key. Even in the harshest manufacturing environment, you can add up to 40% more life to your tools by following proper maintenance procedures.
First you need to identify which of (or if) your employees are trained in the proper handling of your punches and dies, and maintenance equipment. We highly recommend developing an SOP to document your procedures and instituting a training program to ensure your employees have the knowledge required to protect your investment.
Over time, at least half of tool damage occurs from careless handling. By documenting and implementing handling procedures (such as storage and cleaning protocols), tools are much less likely to experience abrasions or dings that affect tablet quality during tablet production.
Tool life can also be extended significantly by polishing and reworking tools when they are damaged. This can be done by a trained and experienced technician or by an outside partner.
As maintenance is key to extending tool life, training is key to maintenance. Employees who are trained on proper procedures are equipped to reduce cost at your organization and improve tablet quality through proper maintenance of your tooling investment.
Learn more detailed information about proper maintenance steps and how to reduce cost at your organization in this complimentary whitepaper.