Top 10 Tableting Errors

Troubleshooting Guide – TOP 10 Tableting

Possible reasons and remedies for top 10 common tablet defects.

Lots of parameters have to be considered before and during a tableting process. Sometimes it is necessary to adjust parameters in order to achieve the best possible results. But do you always know which modifications are needed to improve the process? Has the problem been caused by the machine, tablet mass or both?

There are a lot of factors that can lead to a suboptimal result. The tablet core may become too soft or show high abrasion. Incorrect process parameters, such as too fast press speed or filling time or too low or high pressure also lead to defects.

This Troubleshooting Guide shows the most common tablet defects that can be avoided easily. It helps you find the best way to achieve perfect results. Furthermore, we provide on-site technical services for our customers and help in the research for new solutions.

TOP 10 Errors:

1. Capping & Lamination

Capping and Lamination

Horizontal splitting of tablet at the top (capping) or anywhere but the top (lamination)

Possible reason:

  • Too many fine particles in the granulate
  • Separation of the granulate
  • Too much of hydrophobic lubricant
  • No suitable lubricant
  • Not enough or not suitable binder
  • Low moisture content
  • API content too high
  • Compression force too high
  • Speed of the tablet press too high
  • Too much air trapped in the pre-compression
  • Tablet press tool defective


  • Change the quantities in the granulate
  • Use enough and an efficient binding agent
  • Adjust used lubricant
  • Add adsorbent agent
  • Moisturize or dry the granulates
  • Reduce amount of API
  • Adjust the pressure for compression (use pre-compression)
  • Decrease speed of the tablet press
  • Use more suitable punches (conical)

2. Sticking to punches

Granulate of a formulation is sticking to the face of the press punch

Possible reason:

  • The granulate was not completely dried
  • Lubricant content too low
  • Too much binder used
  • Oily or waxy materials used
  • Too soft or weak granulates
  • Compression too high or too low
  • The product became too warm
  • Rough or scratched punch faces


  • Completely dry the granulate
  • Use enough and an efficient lubricant
  • Add suitable binder
  • Modify mixing process and add an absorbent
  • Adjust the compression force
  • Produce a thinner tablet (height)
  • Polish the surface of the punch

3. Cracking

Cracking Tablet

Small, fine cracks observed on the upper and lower surface or on the sidewall

Possible reason:

  • The granulate is too large
  • The granulate is too dry
  • Tablets expand
  • Granulation too cold
  • Tablet expands on ejection due to air entrapment


  • Reduce granulate size by adding more fine particles
  • Moisturize or dry the granulate and add binder
  • Improve granulation, add dry binders
  • Adjust ambient temperature
  • Use conical die

4. Chipping


Occurs when the edges of the tablets break during the press process or during the handling and coating

Possible reason:

  • Sticking on punch faces
  • Too dry granulate
  • Too much binding causes chipping at bottom
  • Edge of punch face turned inside/inward
  • Concavity too deep to compress properly


  • Use suitable binding agent or use dry binders
  • Dry the granulate properly or increase lubricant
  • Add hygroscopic substances
  • Reduce concavity of punch faces
  • Use flat punches
  • Polish the punch edges

5. Binding

Binding Error

The term is used when the tablets adhere, seize, or tear in the die

Possible reason:

  • Too much moisture in the granulate
  • Too little lubricant in the granulate
  • Granulate too hard for the lubricant to be effective
  • Granulate material sticks to the die
  • Punch is not suitable anymore


  • Increase drying time of the granulate
  • Use enough and an efficient lubricant
  • If too warm, reduce temperature
  • Increase space for ejection
  • Replace punch

6. Weight variations

Tablet Weight variations

High variation of tablet weight

Possible reason:

  • High variation in granulate density
  • Die not completely filled
  • High variation of granulate particle size
  • Flowability insufficient
  • Press speed too high / filling time too short


  • Weight differences can be reduced by granulation and compaction
  • Avoid free fall of the granulate (to prevent decomposition)
  • Use flowing enhancers to optimize flowability of the granulate or powder blend
  • Reduce press speed / increase filling time

7. Tablet hardness

Tablet hardness

Tablet breaks during ejection or handling of the tablets

Possible reason:

  • Variation in bulk density
  • Inhomogeneity of granulate particle size
  • Tablet hardness varies with the weight of the tablet
  • The ejection blade is too old or damaged


  • Achieve homogeneous bulk density
  • Use enough and an efficient binding agent
  • Control the tablet weight
  • Use suitable ingredients for good compacting properties
  • Increase the compression force
  • The eject blade must be checked or replaced

8. Friability


High degree of abrasion after mechanical stress

Possible reason:

  • Too large particles in the granulate break apart at higher compression forces
  • Entrapped air can cause the tablet to break apart
  • Tablet breaks during ejection
  • Lower compression may not be enough to bind particles together


  • Powder should be more cohesive
  • Use enough and an efficient binding agent
  • Use suitable binders
  • Control tablet weight
  • Slowing the press will extend dwell time and give the air more time to escape
  • Control settings on tableting machine
  • Check tableting tool

9. Mottling of tablet

Is used to describe an inhomogeneous distribution of color in a tablet

Possible reason:

  • A colored drug used along with colorless or white-colored excipients
  • A dye migrates to the surface of granulate while drying
  • Improperly mixed dye, especially during direct compression
  • Improper mixing of a colored binder solution


  • Use suitable colorants
  • Change the solvent system & binder
  • Reduce drying temperature and aim for smaller particle size for granulate
  • Mix properly and reduce particle size to prevent decomposition
  • Incorporate dry color additive during powder blending step, then add fine powdered adhesives and mix properly – finally add granulating liquid

10. Prolonged dissolution / disintegration

pronlonged dissolution disintegration

API is not released within required time

Possible reason:

  • Too much binder
  • No disintegrant
  • Too hard compression force used
  • No water soluble excipients are used


  • Use less binder
  • Use disintegrant or superdisintegrant
  • Decrease compression force
  • Reformulate or use proper disintegrant


You have another problem, questions or would like to test our products? Just contact us online.

Extra Info:

You can download the complete white paper and the brochure of the Troubleshooting Guide here.

Our Troubleshooting for Film Coating:

In the tabletting process everything works fine, but in the film coating there are errors/problems or questions?

Choose our ready-to-use tableting premixes to improve the production process. Free flowing binders, sustained release formulations, lubricants and fully formulated tableting / encapsulation premixes provide best assistance for your tableting activities.
Whether standard or tailor-made formulation for dietary supplements and pharmaceutical applications.