A Packaging System Primer - Capping Machines and Sealing Equipment

A Packaging System Primer - Capping Machines and Sealing Equipment

Once your filling equipment has achieved its task, the next step is to securely seal the container to protect the integrity of the product.  Like other packaging equipment, the ideal capper for any given project will depend on the container and the cap being used, as well as the production rate desired.  


A number of different capping machines exist to cover the wide range of cap types available to seal a bottle or container.  One of the most common caps seen in liquid packaging today is the screw on cap - think of bottled water, other drinks, mouthwash, cleaning supplies and many other products.  Spindle capping machines are manufactured to use sets of spinning discs to tighten these and other caps onto a number of different containers.  
Spindle Cappers are available in tabletop, semi-automatic and automatic models, with the automatic capping machine using a cap delivery system to allow for continuous capping on an automatic packaging line.  Semi-automatic spindle cappers are virtually identical to the automatic cappers, with the exception of the cap delivery system.  Operators of the semi-automatic spindle capper will manually place the cap on the container prior to setting the container on the belt conveyor system and sending the bottle and cap through the machine.  The tabletop spindle capper works similar to the semi-automatic capping machine, requiring the operator to place the cap prior to tightening.  However, the tabletop machine will cap one container at a time, sacrificing speed but ensuring a consistent torque and secure seal on each container.
Chuck capping equipment can also be used for different varieties of screw on caps and is probably a close second to spindle cappers in capping machine popularity.  Chuck cappers generally use a metal chuck with a rubber chuck insert which are lowered onto the cap for the tightening process.  The rubber insert "grabs" the cap and torque is applied to tighten the cap onto the container.  
Chuck capping machines are available in handheld, semi-automatic tabletop and portable models and as automatic capping machines for inline packaging systems.  Handheld cappers are a step up from manually capping each container.  Handheld chuck cappers offer the security of consistent torque and, therefore, consistent capping.  Tabletop and portable semi-automatic machines also offer consistent torque while adding a little speed to the capping process.  The portable machine also allows the chuck capping process to take place at several different locations in a packaging facility.  Finally, the automatic chuck capping machine offers the consistent torque of the other chuck cappers while also allowing for continuous capping via a cap delivery system similar to those found on the automatic spindle capper.   
Of course, not every cap used in the packaging industry is a screw cap.  Snap capping machines can be used for caps and lids that simply need to be pushed, or "snapped" into place.  These capping machines normally use a snap belt to apply pressure to the caps and snap them securely into place.  For some caps, a stomping assembly may be used instead of a snap belt assembly.  ROPP cappers can be used to apply roll-on pilfer proof caps (think of wine bottles!). These capping machines use a set of special knives to secure caps to bottles.  Combination cappers, such as the spindle and snap capping machine, as well as custom capping machines can also be manufactured for unique capping projects.     


Sometimes, a simple cap is just not enough to thoroughly protect a product.  In these cases, other sealing equipment may be used to add safeguards to a package.  Induction sealers, neck banders and shrink wrap sleeves or bundlers may also be used to help seal a package.  
Induction sealers provide a tamper proof foil seal, normally under a cap, such as is often found on a bottle of pills.  These machines are available for nearly any production need, from manual handheld sealers to automatic inline induction sealing machines.
Neck banders and shrink wrap machines work in a similar manner.  Neck banders can be used to apply sleeves of material around the neck of a bottle, while shrink wrap machines may apply material around a portion of a bottle, the entire bottle or may even bundle several bottles into one package.  Both of these sealing techniques have two main purposes.  The first is to provide tamper evident packaging, letting a consumer feel safe in the knowledge that the product has not been opened or otherwise contaminated since leaving the packaging line.  However, neck banders and shrink wrappers may also be used for the simple purpose of marketing, creating unique packaging designs through the use of the sleeves, bands or wraps.
If you have questions regarding capping or sealing your products, visit the capping and sealing page, or contact a Packaging Specialist toll free today at 1-888-393-3693!