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.
Measuring the physical strength of a pharmaceutical tablet enables the effect of formulation changes to be quantified. The product must still disperse and dissolve effectively in conjunction with functional resilience.
So what does it take to crush or break a tablet product?
Tablet resistence test methods
In this test, a Texture Analyzer (compression tester) 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 controlling software also allows for break detection to stop the probe advancing further than necessary. The probe then returned automatically to the starting position.
The graphical representation of the test results for the samples (force applied, against cumulative displacement) clearly indicates the peak at which fracture initiates. The critical factor is the initial yield point of the tablet sample. This trace also profiles resistance from the fragments as the probe continued to crush downwards.
By switching to a different fixture, in this case, a three-point bend jig, a notched tablet may be tested for break resistance. This simulation of a user breaking the tablet (to swallow) quantifies the effort required against the formulation of the tablet itself, which must prove resilient to loads incurred during packaging, transit and storage.
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. Mechanical attribute 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.
- Software-controlled Texture Analyzer or compression tester
- Perspex compression probe for crush
- Mini 3-point bend fixture for snap
Tensile testing wire joining systems
Our customer's wire joiners and tensioners are used extensively in the Building Services, Agriculture, Civil Engineering, Viticulture and Seismic Construction sectors and feature award-winning solutions for clamping, seismic bracing, suspension and hanging systems. As part of the continuous improvement ethic, the Quality and Design Department wanted to review their in-house methods and re-evaluate the test procedures for measuring break loads in their cable components.
Extreme sports waterproof bio-textile mechanical properties
Amphibio Ltd develops bio-inspired materials technology for the outdoor and extreme sports industry. Amphibio wanted to quantify the strength and mechanical properties of various single fibres, multifilament yarns, woven and knitted textiles and fabrics.
Automated syringe break-loose and glide force system
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed unprecedented demand on manufacturers of syringes and vials. Ramping up production of syringes has been a challenge which manufacturers have pulled out all the stops to meet. However, with increased production comes increased testing.
Edge Crush Test (ECT) of corrugated cardboard
Over the weeks of COVID-19 lockdown confinement, there was a surge of home deliveries, with even e-commerce giants struggling to fulfil demands. Beyond household deliveries, cardboard is also an object serving on the frontline of public health services, enabling mass deliveries of vitally needed medical equipment..
Release torque testing of Champagne and sparkling wine corks
The Mecmesin CombiCork is a Quality tool that allows Korbel to test cork materials, ensuring they match with Korbel’s stringent quality standards. Testing removes subjectivity from the uncorking of champagne corks, troubleshooting our process or material variation, so our customers are able to have a consistent experience every time they open a bottle of the finest Korbel California Champagne
Adhesive test on capsulated cork stoppers
A capsulated stopper (T-top, Bar-Top or Altop) is a natural or synthetic cork stopper where the end is glued into a cap of wood, PVC, porcelain, metal, glass or other material. Testing the quality of the adhesive bond between cork and cap is a fundamental check performed by manufacturers of capsulated stoppers and their customers
Vial stopper needle penetrability residual seal force and torque testing
COVID-19 vaccines, as parenteral medications, enter the body by injection through the tissue and circulatory system. Testing the physical properties of these vital drug container systems is a key factor in quality-control testing
Hand sanitiser dispenser pump testing
Sales of antibacterial gels have soared enormously following National Health Service advice telling the public to thoroughly wash hands in order to stay protected from Coronavirus. In fact, even before the 2020 pandemic crisis, the presence of hand sanitisers had already become commonplace, not only in hospitals but also in schools, restaurants and offices.
Adhesion peel strength of COVID-19 tapes and stickers
In the wake of the Covid-19 lockdown, there have been clear guidelines issued to businesses on keeping staff and customers safe. These include wall signs encouraging people to follow hygiene guidelines through to purpose-made floor tape to help enforce social distancing rules. For successful long-lasting application to surfaces, they all rely on the stickiness provided by the humble self-adhesive.
Break-loose and sustaining force tests of pre-filled drug cartridges to ISO 11608-3
Mechanical pen injectors for delivering drugs, such as insulin, have found increasing acceptance over the traditional vial-and-syringe method. To validate new pen injector designs and maintain quality when they are mass-produced requires extensive testing.
Vaccine delivery device and packaging testing
As COVID-19 has rapidly spread around the world, there is a concerted global effort to find a vaccine. Whether administered via an oral, subcutaneous, intramuscular, intradermal, or intranasal route, vaccines need to be administered via a medical device, and these must be tested to esnure they are safe and meet stringent standards and regulations
PET preforms - repurposing production for COVID-19 test kits
PET preforms are typically blow-moulded to create the ubiquitous plastic bottles containing carbonated and still beverages. The production process to fill and seal these bottles with a screw-cap is a demanding one, so a number of tests are performed to ensure quality control specifications are met for this core packaging.
Probiotic drink packaging testing
As demand for dietary supplements continues to surge, immune-boosting products, such as prebiotics and probiotics, are amongst the most popular. Getting these liquid probiotic products noticed by the consumer relies on eye-catching innovative packaging which must be easy-to-open and reseal whilst remaining economic to use for the beverage producer.
Testing Ventilator and Breathing Assistance Apparatus Components
A ventilator (respirator) provides ‘mechanical ventilation’ by moving breathable air into and out of the lungs of patients unable to breathe sufficiently well unaided. Such fundamental hospital equipment is essential for all patient care where assisted breathing is necessary.
Face mask strength testing
Manufacturing masks is not as easy as you might imagine. International test standards exist to make sure the face masks can be verified to protect clinicians and patients from pathogens spread by blood, body fluids and secretions and now to limit the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus.
Lipstick tube force and torque testing
Testing the mechanical performance of the lipstick tube is a crucial part of the quality-control process for cosmetics manufacturers. Leading players in the cosmetics industry have come to rely on Mecmesin’s range of affordable force and torque testers to carry out checks on batches of lipsticks produced.
Mecmesin's materials testers
Testing the physical strength properties of materials, in accordance with international or in-house standards, is a key part of determining their characteristics to better understand the effects of process improvements. With this in mind, Mecmesin has designed a range of static-load Materials Testers powered by intuitive VectorPro MT software.
Top-load crush of plastic bottle with semi-automated test process
To guarantee their containers would perform as expected along customer production lines and remain intact during transportation and storage, US company, Silgan Plastics wanted to undertake top-load tests according to internal, customer and Supplier Packaging Information (SPI) standards.
Dispensing pump assembly testing
Mecmesin's customer manufactures a range of dispensing pumps for the cosmetic and beauty-care industry. A requirement was identified to measure the actuation force of the pump assembly and the pull-off force of the pump handle. The VersaTest motorised test stand was chosen as it gave the necessary repeatability and consistency independent of operator, which a manual stand could not.
Cosmetics brush pull-out testing
Our client is a major cosmetics company using a variety of brushes for all applications and wished to tensile test the integrity of the bristles. Gripping the awkwardly-shaped handles and bristle tips in a repeatable way, demanded more than a single standard vice grip...
Powdered drink container - Mecmesin's compressive strength & lid peel tests
An international supplier of a powdered hot-chocolate drink wanted to test several aspects of their packaging. The client was then able to use their Mecmesin universal tester for all four tests, with quick and easy exchange of fixtures, allowing rapid throughput of samples for testing.
Retort packaging 90 degree peel and lid strength testing
The food packaging industry has long had concerns about pinholes, flex cracks and leaks in the flexible materials and seals of retort flexible lidded packaging. A famous global food and drink maker needed to test the laminated retort (and other thin film) packaging solutions that protect products such as their popular microwaveable stir-in pots.
- Nicole Tauster
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- Created 24 Mar 2020
- Modified 08 Apr 2020
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