Compaction Simulator Range

A compaction simulator is a piece of equipment that has been designed specifically for simulating the production process of compressing powders into pellets or tablets.

The machine allows the user to reduce the risk of scale-up issues by compressing the powder at production speeds using production press profiles. You can assess the suitability of your product with as little as 20g of development formulation.

A hydraulic compaction simulator is the most versatile means to simulate a wide variety of production tablet presses, as well as enabling alternative profiles for material characterisation testing (v-shaped profiles).This incredibly accurate data enables huge savings in both time and money during the scale up and production processes.

The machine is entirely designed and built in-house, including the electronics, software and mechanical system, giving the ability to evolve and develop any aspect of the system as user needs change over time.

The Phoenix Compaction Simulator is the result of development and collaboration with compaction simulator users over the past 30 years, from the very first ESH simulator built in 1982, incorporating features to suit a wide range of user needs from early stage material characterisation to trouble shooting production problems.

The frames are all purpose built, compact and lightweight designs to suit the modern facility requirements.

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Model FX* 30L 30F 60F
40kHz Alpha digital control system Base system controls Y Y Y
Full suite of Phoenix software Base system software Y Y Y
Punch speed up to 1000mm/s Base system speeds Y Y Y
Load capacity Base frame capacity 30kN 30kN 60kN
Number of hoppers 0 – manual fill 1 2 3
B tooling Y Y Y Y
D tooling Y Y Y Y
Accessorised punches Y Y Y Y
Accessorised dies Y N Y Y
Weight N/A 330kgs 420kgs 700kgs
Dimensions N/A 1000mm (w) 600mm (d) 1813mm (h) 1000mm (w) 600mm (d) 1813mm (h) 800mm (w) 600mm (d) 1875mm (h)
Inbuilt hydraulic power unit N/A Y Y Y
Requires external air supply N N N Y
Connects to vacuum N/A N Y Y
Transportable Y Y – on wheels Y – on wheels Y - with pallet truck
Self-contained bench N/A Y Y Separate control system

*Fixtures to be fitted into an existing uni-axial frame

The 30L and 30F models can be wheeled into a room and simply connected to the local mains electricity, no other mains services are needed to operate these models. When it is not in use, it can be disconnected and wheeled away to a suitable storage location.

Controls and Software

When carrying out powder compaction testing on small amounts of expensive formulation, getting the most accurate and repeatable data is critical.

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The combination of the unique Phoenix frame design, and the 40kHz control loop rate of the Alpha Digital Control System (data processing uses a National Instruments™ processor), ensures that the Phoenix system offers the most accurate control and best data acquisition rate possible.

The Phoenix software suite (Profile Builder, Press Profiler, Profile Extractor – used in conjunction with the Intelli Punch, Compaction Run and Compaction Analysis) are all fully written in-house by Phoenix engineers.

The suite includes features requested and specified by experienced operators for building profiles, running tests and analysing data.

The results of tests can be shown in tabular form for many tablets at a time where statistical parameters such as mean, variance and standard deviation can be shown.

Automatic Heckel analysis (provided that tablet weight and powder true density are available) and automatic Energy and Power analysis is always performed. Manual analysis is also possible.

Measureable Parameters

The following result parameters are saved as standard and are available to view for each tablet:-

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  • Test reference
  • Run no.
  • Tablet no.
  • Layer no.
  • Punch separation [mm]
  • Peak velocity upper [mm/s]
  • Peak velocity lower [mm/s]
  • Load dwell time [s]
  • Contact time [s]
  • Peak force lower [kN]
  • Peak force upper [kN]
  • Peak ejection force [kN]
  • Peak push off force [N]
  • Compressive work [J]
  • Recovery work [J]
  • Net work [J]
  • Yield pressure [MPa]
  • TO/DA/DO/DB [mm] Heckel
  • Pre-comp. force lower [kN]
  • Pre-comp. force upper [kN]
  • Die Temp (°C)
  • Air Temp (°C)
  • Tablet Temp (°C)
  • Humidity (%)
  • Die pressure 1 (MPa)
  • Die pressure 2 (MPa)
  • Die pressure 3 (MPa)
  • Adhesion (N) – when using adhesion punch
  • HardnessPunch (N)
  • Weight [mg]
  • Diameter [mm]
  • Hardness [kp]
  • Compaction stress (SCAP) [MPa]
  • Tensile stress [MPa]
  • Ejection shear [MPa]
  • Plasticity ratio
  • In-die solid fraction from fill weight
  • In-die solid fraction from post-test weight
  • In-die solid fraction from pre-test weight
  • Out-of-die solid fraction
  • Porosity
  • Compaction stress (CSA) [MPa]
  • Max peak K3 [V]
  • Thickness [mm]

The interface utilises ‘drag and drop’ functionality that allows the user to easily rearrange the parameter column order.


Phoenix has developed a range of highly accurate instrumented accessories to enhance the Compaction Simulator. The accessories enable the operator to measure the widest possible range of parameters, such as radial die wall pressure, to suit the specific project or product, as well as simulating a variety of production environments.

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These accessories can be purchased with the base system, or can easily be added as user requirements evolve.

For customers who have a need for this type of testing, but do not have a full time requirement, Merlin Powder Characterisation Ltd is equipped with a Phoenix Compaction Simulator and a full range of accessories, offering powder characterisation as a sub-contract service.


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The Phoenix Intelli-Punch is a unique punch designed to measure the actual displacement profile of production presses.

The Intelli-Punch fits into a standard production tablet press in place of a production punch, the turret is rotated so that the Intelli-Punch completes several full rotations while it measures and records the genuine displacement profile of the production punch. The results are transmitted wirelessly and also stored on the punch to be accessed later via a USB lead. The Intelli-Punch is powered using rechargeable batteries that are charged via the USB lead.

The Intelli-Punch is supplied with adaptors to configure it as a B or D type punch with EuroStandard or U.S. TSM heads.

The "real” displacement profile data can be imported into either compaction simulator to be used for the test profile (powder compaction) or directly into a spreadsheet such as Excel for desktop comparisons between production presses.

The Intelli-Punch is supplied with calibration certificates traceable to national standards.

Adhesion Punch

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The adhesion punch is designed as an upper punch with an internal piezo electric sensor, capable of accurately measuring adhesion of the punch to the compacted powder as it retracts.

The adhesion punch is scaled from 200N down to 0.1N, and will be supplied complete with a single channel amplifier and all necessary electronics to be connected to the Phoenix alpha digital control system for data acquisition.

The punch tip is an independent component part and can therefore be supplied in a range of geometries and surface finishes, including coatings.

The tip can also be removed and weighed if the user is looking to record build-up of material on the punch surface throughout a test programme.

Low Load, High Speed, Force Measuring Punch for hardness testing on the simulator

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This instrumented lower punch is fitted with a load sensor that will measure compressive forces up to 1000N.

The punch can be used, complete with specially written software, to capture the full force v displacement profile during tablet hardness testing, at varying speeds up to 1ms-1.

This is distinct from traditional tablet hardness testers which merely produce a peak force reading.

NOTE: This punch will withstand the full 50kN compaction simulator force

Temperature Controlled Die Holder

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An insulated B type die holder with a temperature range from 70ºC down to -10ºC, accurate to within 0.5ºC.

The fluid temperature control unit and pump are housed in a free standing compact box, which can be located alongside the powder compaction machine frame. The unit can be equipped with a high pressure pump, the customer can locate the temperature control unit and pump in a separate room if required.

High Capacity Instrumented Die

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High capacity instrumented die, complete with three off, equally spaced, 2mm piezo electric miniature force sensors at customer specified distances from the die top. These sensors will measure pressure up to 795MPa.

Specifications to be agreed on order:
Bore diameter – standard size is 10mm
Height of sensor face centres from top of die to be agreed when placing order.

This is supplied with the three channel amplifier required for these sensors. The amplifier and sensors would be set-up and calibrated at Phoenix’s site, requiring no on-site installation.

Heated High Capacity Instrumented Die

The High Capacity Instrumented Die can also be offered with heating from ambient to 75°C.

Automated tablet dimensions, weight and hardness measurements

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A high precision inline automatic tablet tester. The system will take tablets direct from the simulator tablet chute and measure the tablet dimensions, weight and hardness.

The data will be exported to the Phoenix control system to be saved with the rest of the test results for each tablet.

The automatic tablet weight, hardness and dimensions system can be set to feedback into the Alpha digital control system to automatically correct for tablet weight or hardness.

Other accessories available

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  • Extraction
  • Tablet within Tablet
  • Punch Lubrication
  • Temperature Controlled Punch
  • Instrumented (temperature measuring) Punch
  • Stirring Hopper (Paddle Feed)
  • Large Capacity Hopper

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