Sticking and Picking – Punch adhesion

Tablet punch sticking is a costly problem in production.  It often appears unexpectedly at a late stage and can be difficult to solve.

Using an adhesion punch specifically designed for this application, Merlin has developed a world leading test to accurately quantify punch adhesion, enabling scientists to understand the causes of sticking.

The tests can be used to quantify the risk of sticking of new formulations or to troubleshoot solutions for existing products.

Merlin has three ways of measuring tablet sticking to quantify adhesion.

Each measures sticking in a different way.  Different modes of sticking respond to different potential solutions.

  1. Upper punch adhesion
  2. Ejection force
  3. Lower punch take-off force

In order to measure sticking we need to get as close as possible to real life manufacturing conditions.

Merlin can make tablets at low to high speed and low to high force, mimicking the real conditions to measure production relevant sticking.


Merlin has the ability to change the temperature of the die during compression to simulate the effects of heat on sticking.


Merlin uses humidity chambers to condition samples to specified humidities to predict how the material will behave under differing environmental conditions.

Punch surface and coatings

The surface of the punch can affect sticking.  There are a number of different anti-stick coatings available.  Choosing the most effective coating can be difficult due to different solutions working with different products.

Merlin offers an option to evaluate the most effective punch coatings to prevent sticking.  We have a range of iHollands coated punch surfaces to provide quantitative data to help select the most appropriate coating option.

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