Pharmaceutical Tablet Picking

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 Causes And Remedies Of  tablet Picking

Tablet Picking


Definition: 'Picking' is the term used when a small amount of material from a tablet is sticking to and being removed off from the tablet-surface by a punch face.

The problem is more prevalent on the upper punch faces than on the lower ones. The problem worsens, if tablets are repeatedly manufactured in this station of tooling because of the more and more material getting added to the already stuck material on the punch face.

Reason: Picking is of particular concern when punch tips have engraving or embossing letters, as well as the granular material is improperly dried.

Table.37. The Causes And Remedies Of Picking Related To Formulation (Granulation)

Sr. No.




Excessive moisture in granules.

Dry properly the granules, determine optimum limit.


Too little or improper lubrication.

Increase lubrication; use colloidal silica as a 'polishing agent', so that material does not cling to punch faces.


Low melting point substances, may soften from the heat of compression and lead to picking.

Add high melting-point materials. Use high meting point lubricants.


Low melting point medicament in high concentration.

Refrigerate granules and the entire tablet press.


Too warm granules when compressing.

Compress at room temperature. Cool sufficiently before compression.


Too much amount of binder.

Reduce the amount of binder, change the type or use dry binders.

Table.38. The Causes And Remedies Of Picking Related To Machine (Dies, Punches And Tablet Press)

Sr. No.




Rough or scratched punch faces.

Polish faces to high luster.


Embossing or engraving letters on punch faces such as B, A, O, R, P, Q, G.

Design lettering as large as possible.

Plate the punch faces with chromium to produce a smooth and non-adherent face.


Bevels or dividing lines too deep.

Reduce depths and sharpness.


Pressure applied is not enough; too soft tablets.

Increase pressure to optimum.

About the Author

Dr.Mukesh Gohel's picture
Author: Dr.Mukesh Gohel

Dr. Mukesh Gohel is principal, professor at the LMCP, Ahmedabad served in academics for more than 40 years. He provides training in leading pharmaceutical industries in the areas of Design of Experiments and Quality by Design. His current areas of interest are direct compression and improvement of drug dissolution.

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