Capping Machine Changeovers

Capping Machine Changeovers

For many companies packaging more than one product, or even more than one container size, different caps will be necessary for the different bottles.  In some cases, these different cap styles or sizes may require simple adjustments to the capping machines.  The adjustments to be made will depend in part on the type of capping equipment being used as well as the amount of variation in the cap shape or size.  While some custom capping machinery may require unique adjustments for changeover, some of the more common adjustments for both spindle cappers and chuck cappers are discussed below.

Spindle Cappers

Spindle capping machines use several sets of spinning discs to tighten down different types of screw caps.  These spindles can be adjusted easily for different cap widths by turning simple knobs found on the front of the capping machine.  Each spindle can be individually positioned to allow for precise contact with the caps and ensure that the spindles consistently and reliably tighten without causing damage to the cap and container or marring the cap.  In addition, spindle cappers utilize gripper belts to stabilize and guide bottles and caps through the capping process.  Two hand cranks will allow adjustment of the gripper belts both in and out, as well as up and down.  The gripper belt may need to be adjusted when changing from one container height to another or one container width to another.  These adjustments are also beneficial when working with uniquely shaped bottles, allowing an operator to easily find a contact point on the bottle that will add stability to oddly shaped containers.  Simple gripper belt adjustments let the operator of the capping equipment quickly and easily place the gripper belts at a point on the container that will allow the most support and stabilize the bottle.
Of course, the spindle discs may also need to be adjusted up or down for different bottle heights.  Spindle cappers come standard with a power height adjustment allowing the user to flip a switch on the capping machine either left or right to raise or lower the spindle discs.  These height and width adjustments for both the spindle discs and the capping machine gripper belts, can all be made without tools, allowing for less downtime during changeovers and more capping during production hours.  The only other adjustments that may be necessary on the spindle capping machine are adjustments to the cap delivery system, discussed below.    

Chuck Cappers

Chuck capping machines are available as simple, manual handheld cappers, semi-automatic tabletop and portable models and also as automatic, inline capping machines.  Chuck cappers consist of a brushed aluminum chuck and a rubber or compound material chuck insert.  The chuck and chuck insert descend to cover the cap and torque is applied to tighten the cap onto the container.  Chuck capping machines offer consistent and reliable cap tightening for a wide range of cap types and sizes.  While a single chuck insert may be able to handle several different cap sizes, different chucks and/or chuck inserts may be necessary where there is a wide gap between the smallest and largest cap.  In most cases, a simple quick release device allows operators of chuck capping equipment to change out one chuck for another.  Chuck inserts simple pop in and out of the chuck being used.  Like the spindle cappers, chuck capping machines are set up to make changeover from one cap to another as quick and easy as possible.
Height adjustments on chuck capping machinery may vary depending on the type of machine that is being used.  For tabletop and semi-automatic capping machines, a simple hand crank will normally be used to adjust the height for different bottles.  Automatic chuck capping equipment will probably incorporate a power height adjustment to accomodate varying bottle heights.  Also similar to the spindle cappers, automatic chuck capping machines may require some adjustment to the cap delivery system.

Cap delivery systems

The most common cap delivery system includes a sorting elevator and a cap chute.  The cap elevator carries properly oriented caps to the cap chute, which then delivers caps to the bottles prior to entering the capping area.  Sorting bowls may also be used on automatic capping machines to deliver the caps via the cap chute.  In both cases, slight adjustments to the cap delivery machinery may be necessary when changing over from one bottle and cap combination to another.  Sorting elevators may require adjustments to the tilt of the elevator belt for different cap sizes and sorting bowls may need adjustment to the speed of vibration or the position of the air jets.  The guides or rails on the chute may also need adjustment to allow different cap sizes to move freely through the chute for delivery to the bottle to be capped.  Almost all of these adjustments will normally be a tool-free adjustment, though in some cases extremely tall or unique shaped caps will require the operator to make some adjustments with a wrench.  Again, these capping machines and cap delivery systems are manufactured to make changeover simple and keep production rates high!
If you have any questions about capping machines or any of the other packaging equipment manufactured by Liquid Packaging Solutions, contact a representative today, toll-free, at 1-888-393-3693.