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Tablet Crush Resistance and Break Strength

Situation

Many products come in tablet form, with a durability designed for both packaging and for use. Too brittle or too hard, and they may not be fit for use, or at best perform below expectation. The only way to determine consistency is mechanical testing of samples.

As a quality control measure on the production line, or as a manufacturing design tool, computer-controlled mechanical testing, based on criteria determined for an acceptable range of measures, is the only reliable method.

So what does it take to crush or break a tablet product?

Method

In this test, an FTC TMS-Pro Texture Analyzer was fitted with a 500 N intelligent loadcell and 1.5 inch (38 mm) cylinder probe. A short program advanced the probe to touch the tablet sample before advancing a further 1 mm, as sufficient to always break the sample. The TL-Pro control software also allows for break detection to stop the probe advancing further than necessary. The probe then returned automatically to the starting position.

 

 

 

 

Results

 

 

 

 

The graphical representation from TL-Pro, of the test results for the four samples, is shown here (force applied, against cumulative displacement).

The critical factor is the initial fracture point of the tablet sample. This trace also profiles resistance from the fragments as the probe continued to crush downwards.

The same results with additional calculations are shown here.

  • Average = arithmetic mean
  • SD = standard deviation
  • CV = coefficient of variation: (SD/Mean) x 100

Significance

The break point of many tablet products is a balance between resilience to the point of use, and viability in use. Frequently the tablet size denotes a required ‘dose’, whether it is a vitamin or a dishwasher additive, and nobody wants either a quarter mint in the bottom of a packet or a whole one that is too hard to crack. Other factors are important, including the pattern of breaking, but the crush strength is a primary indicator of manufactured quality. Mechanized testing as shown here is reliable and repeatable. The method allows for any minor size variations, and provides a clear profile of the initial break. Careful initial testing of a product can produce upper and lower tolerance levels for the required break force, and be used for quality monitoring on the production line, producing instant pass and fail indication. Any drift towards failure can be fed back to the line, saving time and cost.

Trusted by customers across the world

Nestle purchased a texture system from Food Technology Corporation in 2006. Since then I have recommended the texture system to several vendors in North and Central America. Staff at FTC was able to develop a simple training manual and procedure for the texture system allowing easy training in short period of time.

From purchasing of equipment through to installation and start-up, the level of personal care and service was remarkable. Shirl Lakeway and his staff at Food Technology Corporation are patient and understanding, and are always at our disposal for any assistance. Since we bought the equipment we have had no problems and feel very secure knowing that we can count on FTC for their support and service.

Dr Mawele Shamaila, Nestle - USA
http://www.nestleusa.com/

Our experience with FTC has been more than satisfactory, not only for the quality of the equipment you’ve got but for the post selling service that has proved to be excellent.

Any problem that we had, it took nothing more than a simple mail or phone call to have your immediate answer. We want to thank you very much for the quality of service provided.

 

 

Gonzalo Moraes, Arrozur S.A. Montevideo – Uruguay

I have found FTC to be an excellent partner for our company. In particular, it has been especially gratifying to work with Shirl Lakeway. Both creative and accommodating, he worked very hard with us to develop our projects.

I appreciate his commitment to our joint efforts and his open-minded approach. He and FTC have been exceptionally helpful.

Steve Antonius, Del Monte Foods
http://www.delmonte.com/