Design of a Pharmaceutical Tablet Crusher

James Baleshta and Glenda Campbell
Case revision date: 
8 pages (Case Study)

First Crusher PrototypePill crushers are used extensively in Long Term Care Facilities (LTCFs) and retirement homes to crush medication before administering it to a resident. Most residents in care facilities receive medication, several times a day. Many residents have problems swallowing a tablet of any size and therefore require their medication to be crushed and mixed with another medium to ease ingestion.

Glenda Campbell (1), a consultant pharmacist for LTCFs with Medical Pharmacies Group Inc. (MPGI), contacted James Baleshta of Nordac Design Inc. to address problems experienced with existing pill crushers.  Although relatively simple devices, existing crushers required several loud and repetitive pounding actions to adequately crush a single tablet and were unable to apply sufficient force to efficiently crush some of the harder tablets. 

In fact, facility staff members were developing repetitive strain injuries induced by the numerous repetitions required to crush a pill completely. Furthermore, the crushing noise generated at mealtimes, in facility dining rooms, was particularly unpleasant and increased the agitation of some of the cognitively impaired residents (1). Similarly, nighttime medication preparation, undertaken in the hallways of the facilities, disturbed those who were already asleep.

The challenge was to design a pill crusher that operated silently, forcefully, and without numerous repetitions

Learning objectives: 

The learning objective of this case is to illustrate electrical components selection and circuit analysis. The case will give students the opportunity to evaluate commercially available components and develop a test mechanism. 

Key words: 
Pharmaceutical Tablet Crusher; Morphological box; Toggle Mechanism; Four Bar Linkage; Triple Pivot Device; Decision Matrix
CEAB attributes: 
Module 01 - Case Study
Module 02 - Need analysis (Restricted to educators only)
Module 03 - Preliminary Design (Restricted to educators only)
Module TN - Teaching Note (Restricted to educators only)

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