A Guide To Finding Your First Capping Machine

While capping machines are matched to the type of closure being used to seal any given product, the different capping machines available to packagers may be confusing to those who are looking for their first machine. While some capper names, like the ROPP capper, specifically reference the type of closure to be used, others, such as spindle and chuck cappers, instead reference the closing apparatus or method. While each capping project will be unique in some way, the considerations below are typically common for anyone looking for a capping or sealing solution.

Closures

As noted above, capping machinery is manufactured to handle a specific type of closure, whether a screw-on, threaded cap, a snap on cap or a bottle using a cork. Identifying the type of closure to be used for your own specific project will narrow the choices when trying to decide which machine best fits your own needs. While some machines can handle multiple cap types, such as a combination spindle and snap capper, most capping machines are manufactured for a single type of closure, a fact that should be considered when selecting the packaging for different products.

Speed

While the closure type will help to identify the correct type of capping machine to use for a project, the speed needed to meet production demand will help determine the necessary level of automation. Like other packaging machines, Liquid Packaging Solutions manufactures almost all capper types in both automation and semi-automatic models. For those with low to medium production demand, semi-automatic cappers will often be the best choice. These machines can be as simple as a handheld tool or tabletop capping machine, allowing operators to interact with bottles and caps to create a seal. Semi-automatic cappers may not always add speed to the capping process, but they will offer the benefit of consistent, repetitive sealing, avoiding cross-threading, loose caps and similar issues.

Automatic capping machinery will typically use a cap delivery system, removing the need for an operator to interact with each cap and bottle. Elevators, bowls and chutes are used to present caps to bottles as they move into the capping area. Operators of these machines will perform initial set-up and occasionally replenish bulk closures, but otherwise the machines offer continuous capping of bottles without operator involvement. Automatic cappers offer increased speed in the capping process without sacrificing the consistent and repetitive sealing also offered by semi-automatic machines. Understanding your production needs will further narrow the field of possible machines for a capping project.

Growth

Semi-automatic machines can also be manufactured on the full-frames used for automatic cappers. If a company expects the demand for their product to grow, a full-frame semi-automatic machine may be the best starting point. The semi-automatic machine may require operators to place caps or load a chute with caps, as well as activate the capping process for certain machines. However, building the semi-automatic machine on a full frame can allow for the addition of a cap delivery system and control panel in the future, in essence allowing the capping machine to grow with the company.

Space

As the name suggests, tabletop and handheld capping machines have a small footprint and will not take up much space. Automatic capping machines, however, when combined with other machinery to complete a packaging system, can require significant space on a production floor. A packager should always consider the amount of space available for the packaging process when searching for the ideal capping solution.

Budget

Finally, adding consistency and reliability to the capping process will cost more depending on the level of automation desired. Semi-automatic packaging machinery can help with consistent and reliable sealing while leaving the packager with cash flow to focus on other aspects of the business, which can be even more important for new projects and packagers. Eventually, however, demand may require a move to full automation. Setting a budget for your first capping machine will also help identify the ideal equipment. Again, full-frame semi-automatic machines with the option to upgrade to automatic production can allow equipment to grow with the company and its budget.

To learn more about capping machines, or any of the equipment manufactured by LPS, browse the Products sections of the website, or give LPS a call today to speak with a Packaging Specialist.