Common pharmaceutical pills and tablets are usually finished with a coating to facilitate swallowing, time phased release of the medication, identification and branding. Coatings may also help ensure long shelf life by protecting the underlying product from negative environmental conditions such as light, temperature, moisture and mechanical loading. Particularly in the manufacturing and packaging process, tablet coatings are subject to impacts that can cause damage.

Impact testing can deliver value to the manufacturer in the form of performance data for research and development of new coating materials or processes. Once a suitable product has been established, a manufacturer can implement a quality control program utilizing baseline data from an impact performance test to provide ongoing process validation.

An INSTRON 9440 Drop Tower, instrumented with a low load piezo sensor tup (0.45kN or 4.5kN), ½ inch hemispherical or flat tup insert, and Bluehill Impact software are ideal for the testing of pharmaceutical pills and tablets. For fixturing we recommend using a stiff, flat, metal plate which can be easily secured to the table area.

This impact test solution is well suited for determining the impact performance characteristics of pharmaceutical tablets, such as lot consistency and failure or incipient damage points. These characteristics may in turn be related to the coating material used on the product. By understanding how the coating may strengthen or weaken the pills, changes to improve the product can be made.

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