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The Gamlen Tablet Press – A major breakthrough in pharmaceutics teaching and research

  • The only instrumented laboratory tablet press suitable for student use
  • Simple to use with unique measurement capabilities
  • Measures all key parameters of the tablet compaction process
  • Suitable for undergraduate use and postgraduate research
  • New technology means that most data generated is suitable for publication
  • Integrated system for the study of tablets – used for tablet compaction AND tablet fracture

The Gamlen Tablet Press (GTP) is the world’s first force controlled benchtop press and its features make it ideal for undergraduate and postgraduate use in schools of Pharmacy. The press is small, portable and works under computer control to compact tablets quickly and easily. It can also be used to test tablet breaking strength (hardness) with a change of load cell on the same machine.

Using the machine, the student can quickly see the difference in the compressibility and lubrication properties of different excipients, processes and formulations.

This makes it ideal for both teaching and research; in the space of a three hour practical session the student can assess the compressibility of a number of formulations, and observe the effects of formulation or process variables on tablet properties.

We are happy to provide tailored support materials including lecture notes, practical experiments and experimental schemes to support undergraduate and postgraduate teaching.

In the postgraduate area, the Gamlen Tablet Press is opening new areas of study which are of interest to the pharmaceutical industry in the areas of compaction mechanisms and tablet and ejection studies.

The new capabilities of the Gamlen Tablet Press mean that generation of novel and interesting data is relatively straightforward, with considerable possibilities for rapid publications. The small scale of operation means that processing equipment and material costs are relatively low, reducing risk and minimising investment.

What is new?

The simple features of the press make it an ideal tool for the following applications:


Undoubtedly tablet compaction is one of the most important unit operations to understand in the manufacturing of solid dosage forms. Tablets still account for the vast majority of worldwide pharmaceuticals. Understanding the process of tablet manufacture is much easier if the student is able to make tablets for themselves. Teaching tablet compaction using production equipment is not practical in a university setting.

Tablet in DieA few universities have old, single punch tablet presses, but unless the press is instrumented, it is not possible to use it to compare formulations on an objective basis. If instrumentation is available, it is rarely simple to use or easy to set up. The GTP is extremely simple to set up and use. Tooling/ de tooling, and conversion to fracture test mode for use a tablet hardness tester, can be learned systematically by all students within a matter of minutes.

Using the GTP requires no other special equipment, and gives the student the opportunity to learn about the critical parameters in tablet compaction such as punch size, compaction force, and effects of tablet weight, hardness and thickness at first hand. In addition, the simplicity of the press allows the demonstration of the key elements of the tablet press to be clearly appreciated. If used in demonstration or teaching, a webcam can be mounted on the press so that it can be displayed on a large screen to multiple students at the same time.

The press fits in well with the modern requirements of understanding material and product quality attributes, and the implications of the recent move within the industry towards implementation of pharmaceutical quality by design.

home-4Punch and Die set for the GTP-1
These practical parameters are extremely important to be appreciated by future pharmaceutical technologists.   The ability to study tablet properties at an undergraduate level builds on their growing expertise in the subject as they progress through the course. We are confident that undergraduate and postgraduate students will find the press an invaluable teaching aid for learning about industrial pharmacy and tablet manufacture.

Research (Academic and Collaborative) and Development Services

The GTP is an invaluable research tool for enabling high quality research in the field of tablet formulation and material characterisation. It is ideal for integration into the field of tablet development using Quality by Design principles and Design of Experiment studies. This will enable Departmental researchers to progress models of tablet formulation rapidly and understand the key parameters and interactions between material properties and outputs of tablet weight, hardness and thickness and key process problems such as capping and delamination.

Control of the tablet compaction process enables the compaction characteristics of different formulations to be clearly understood. It has the potential for schools of Pharmacy to engage in revenue generating industrial collaborations more readily. With such a system and the correct safety equipment, pharmacy schools could now offer industry small scale development services for preclinical and clinical trials.

The GTP was successfully used by two Masters students at King’s College, London in third year undergraduate projects, one of which has generated posters accepted for publication at the AAPS meeting in San Antonio in November 2013 and a full paper submitted to Drug Development and Industrial Pharmacy. A third student at UCL, London, also used the GTP as the basis for her third year project and her work is also the basis of a poster to be presented at AAPS 2013.










Possible areas of study include:

  • Teaching of the principles of tableting
  • Tableting research and understanding
  • Compound and salt selection including screening for morphic form changes on compression.
  • Phase 1 and Phase 2 manufacturing using pure drug doses or formulated product with as little as 5mg of material.
  • Small scale formulation development comparison.
  • Process development and investigation.
  • Excipient and API comparison
  • Manufacture of tablet formulations for direct comparison in the rat.
  • Quality control of API and products and testing of capping propensity.










Advantages of the Gamlen Tablet Press

  1. Training in use of the press is simple and easy.
  2. It uses small quantities of material – down to 10mg per tablet if desired.
  3. Dual purpose – can be used both to make tablets, and to measure
    tablet breaking strength.
  4. It generates unique data and provides real time Force/Displacement profiles of material allowing material characterisation on compaction.
  5. It is portable and lightweight (22kg).
  6. Can be used to measure tablet detachment (take-off) force as well as compaction and ejection forces.

Current purchasers in the university setting include:

Chemical Engineering Department, Imperial College, London
Pharmacy Department, King’s College London, London
Chemical Engineering Department, Massachussets Institute of Technology, USA
Pharmacy Department, Monash University, Melbourne , Australia
Pharmacy Department, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK


“Effect of repeated compaction of tablets on tablet properties and work of compaction using an instrumented laboratory tablet press”
Gamlen M J, Martini L, Al Obaidy, K G.   Paper accepted for publication in Drug Development and Industrial Pharmacy (2013).

Improved Drug Salt Selection Using an Instrumented Laboratory Tablet Press.
Gamlen M J, Naqvi U. Poster M1045 presented at AAPS 2013, San Antonio

Characterization of the Compression Properties of Compacted Chitosan as a Function of Molecular Weight
Gamlen M J and Rashid, I. Poster T2214 presented at AAPS 2013, San Antonio

Measurement of Tablet Detachment and Ejection Forces Using an Instrumented Laboratory Tablet Press.
M J Gamlen and D Dey. Poster T2214 presented at AAPS 2013, San Antonio

Comparing formulations when developing a tablet.
Dey D, Gamlen MJ. Tablets and Capsules Magazine. Sept 2012

Using tensile fracture stress measurements of small quantities of material for tablet development. Dey, D and Gamlen M J. Innovations in Pharmaceutical Technology Autumn 2012 edition.

Intelligent tablet formulation using rapid compressibility assessment.
Dey D, Gamlen MJ, Thorne W, Brown S. Poster presentation AAPS 2011 Washington USA.

Risk reduction in tablet dosage form development and manufacturing using rapid compressibility assessments.
Dey D, Gamlen MJ. Tablets and Capsules Magazine Sept 2011

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or call us now on +44 115 912 4271

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