Tablet production achieves the highest efficiency when the pharmaceutical company works closely with the machine manufacturer – on all aspects of tableting and throughout the entire life cycle of a machine. Global Customer Support is the main link in the chain that facilitates this kind of teamwork worldwide. Fette Compacting describes what this kind of support involves in a new series with international insights into its practical operations. The first part focuses on a question that can determine levels of efficiency and quality even before production has begun: Which machine is the right one for my tablet?
Efficient tableting already starts before a decision has been made in favour of a particular machine: it begins with the desired tablet properties and the customer’s sales planning. Depending on the raw material used, the type of tablet and the planned production volume, a machine manufacturer can precisely determine which press is best suited for production. Now, with 15 different machine types and more than 5,000 individual machines in service around the world, Fette Compacting has the appropriate technology for every kind of production scenario.
Going global with its customers
However, successful production is not determined by the tablet press alone. Customer service, specialist know-how and access to all production-related services are just as important. That is why Fette Compacting has built a global network with fiver digitally connected competence centers in Germany (Schwarzenbek), the USA (Rockaway, New Jersey), Brazil (Campinas), India (Goa) and China (Nanjing). A total of over 100 specialized service and application engineers work together within this network.
“Our customers are increasingly relying on global growth and a presence in all major pharma markets,” explains Lars Plüschau, Head of Global Customer Support at Fette Compacting. “Our worldwide service organization enables us to help customers to grow and support them on the spot in local markets. This is where we notice there is considerable demand for Global Customer Support services – above all, in the fields of training, spare part service, remote service, equipment modernization, used machines and performance consulting.”
A question of design
The experts in the competence centers can already assist in the search for the right machine even when it is not yet clear which form the tablet will take. Early advice and consultation can even prevent problems, as Plüschau makes clear:
“Tablet design is often defined by the marketing department. On the one hand, it is important for sales and brand development that marketing experts contribute to a tablet’s design. On the other hand, however, subsequent production factors must also be taken into account. If a decision is based solely on design, significant disadvantages can arise for production. This can reduce production volumes by up to 100,000 tablets an hour or even lead to the selection of formats that cannot be produced at all. We have experienced both of these results. This is where as a machine manufacturer we can prevent detrimental outcomes and promote optimum solutions.”
From lab trials to mass production: scaling up
This kind of advice also makes sense for pharmaceutical companies that already have access to larger numbers of different tablet presses. The important thing then is to transfer a newly developed tablet from the lab to the best machine for serial production. “Some customers conduct an additional second development phase under production conditions until the tablet perfectly matches the ‘lab version’,” says Plüschau. “In consultations we have been able to convince them of a scale-up technology that immediately transfers the parameters of the tablet to the desired production machine – with 99% accuracy at the first attempt. Complicated simulations are no longer required either, which saves customers considerable time and money.”