Imperial College London, one of the world’s leading universities, is putting industry at the heart of its courses once again, with the investment in the Gamlen Tablet Press for the new Discovery Space in the Chemical Engineering Department.
The Gamlen Tablet Press, engineered to offer a portable, bench top machine that allows users a high quality, yet cost effective solution for small scale tablet production, has been selected by the college to raise the standards of tablet production teaching – both in terms of supporting teaching practices and creating ‘real life’ student experiences.
The machine was purchased to meet the needs of the university’s 4 year, MEng degree in Chemical Engineering and has been installed in the Discovery Space, a new suite of teaching laboratories. Located in the year three laboratory, the Gamlen Tablet Press is allowing professors and students to replicate small scale tablet production both simply and quickly, under conditions that are similar to full scale production. The combination of these factors being an integral reason the Chemical Engineering Department purchased the machine. Commenting on the decision, Dr Daryl Williams, Director of the Discovery Space said: “We were impressed with the way the Gamlen Tablet Press could simulate a number of conditions that real tablet production involves, without requiring high volumes. For a teaching environment, we need to be able to manufacture small batches, at high frequency and by various different users and this machine has been able to meet these needs”.
The Gamlen Tablet Press has been fully integrated into the practical teaching methods of the course and is currently being used to demonstrate dissolution profiles of paracetamol. The students are required to make a tablet and then compare the dissolution profiles with those they purchase over the counter. Being able to guarantee quality levels in tablet production was another prerequisite to the purchasing decision and Dr Daryl Williams was impressed with the quality produced from the Gamlen Tablet Press. He continues: “Previously we had made the tablets with a manual press, but the quality was poor. The Gamlen Tablet Press has been able to guarantee quality and give us reproducible results, every time, helping us drive our standards up”.
A small machine with a footprint the size of a PC, the Gamlen Tablet Press is intrinsically very safe and is nowhere near the complexity of a full scale tablet press. This is particularly beneficial in an educational environment and was highlighted at the Discovery Space laboratories, where students were trained to use the machine in 15 minutes and within half an hour they were able to use it to make a tablet. Making theory a reality in a very short space of time and integral to the success of any teaching practice.
Summarising on the acquisition of its Gamlen Tablet Press, Dr Daryl Williams concludes: “Our students find the machine very easy to use, it makes good quality tablets, in a cost effective manner and allows for reproducible results. A winning combination. Part of our mission is to try and give our students a ‘near industrial’ experience and most of the facilities they use in the Discovery Laboratory are industrial type equipment. Sometimes this is not possible, be it for space or finance, but when you have a small scale equivalent that behaves in a similar way, such as The Gamlen Tablet Press, we know we are still providing industry relevant equipment, facilities and teaching”.
The Gamlen Tablet Press is designed to operate in three easy steps; the user simply weighs the powder into a die using a conventional balance, compresses the tablet and then ejects the finished product ready for use. Entirely computer controlled, it works at punch speeds of 0.1mm/ second using a V-shape compression wave form. It can compress from 2-400mg of material at punch sizes from 2-13mm in diameter depending on the tablet weight required. The compression load is pre-set and reproducible ±1% between compressions.
The Gamlen Tablet Press offers almost unlimited applications in the pharmaceutical industry, as well as potential markets including nuclear, medical diagnostics, ceramics and nanomolecular industries.