Increasing performance potential in tableting often only means pulling out the right stops. This is what Performance Consulting at Fette Compacting specializes in. Consulting supports users in the form of specialty advisory packages with the aim of saving costs over the long term. A total of eight such levers can improve performance in the area of tableting.
Often the customer already has a specific goal, such as preventing tablets from sticking, for example. Fette Compacting initiates its search for solutions by recording the technical and production-related data before commencing on-site analysis. Depending on the problem, consultants replace machine components for testing and alter individual machine parameters until the respective machine delivers the optimal performance. The duration of on-site analyses varies depending on the query. They can range from one day to four days depending on the complexity of the situation and the product. Subsequent reporting is followed by a fixed-price target agreement with the customer. If a target cannot be reached in full, the consulting costs are reduced accordingly.
Routines under review
The best solution does not always involve extensive optimization but rather adjustments in everyday routines. Out of habit, for example, a user in the pharmaceutical industry used the same punch format for several consecutive batches. The next batch had to wait until this set of punches was cleaned. Fette Compacting recommended that the customer use an exchangeable turret instead. No sooner said than done: while one format was still being cleaned, it was possible for the next one to start up. Users can swiftly convert the machine to various formats using such a turret based on exchangeable segment and die table packages.
Such a conversion enables the customer to save 1.5 hours per cleaning cycle. With 800 cleaning cycles, this resulted in a total of 1,200 personnel hours fewer per year which translated into savings of 60,000 Euro as opposed to once-off expenditure of 9,950 Euro for consulting. Sometimes, consulting is supplemented by technical upgrades - e.g. when an exchangeable turret needs to be purchased. These are often once-off investments which swiftly pay off.
Finding the right idea
This example shows that users in the pharmaceutical industry can tap hidden performance reserves without complex new validations. By putting expert suggestions to use during ongoing processes, systematic performance optimization can be a key element toward improving efficiency.
The longer version of this article was printed in Process Technology, issue 12. More information on performance consulting offered by Fette Compacting is available here.