Capping Machinery - Speed, Consistency and Reliability
While the type of capping machine used by a packager will be limited by the type of closure being used on any particular packaging project, there exist several levels of automation to add speed, consistency and/or reliability to the process. Different capping machines will also offer distinct options at the varying levels of automation. Below are some of the main capper types manufactured by Liquid Packaging Solutions along with the benefits for the different levels of automation.
Chuck capping machinery
Chuck cappers are available as automatic, semi-automatic and even manual handheld capping machines. Automatic cappers typically use a starwheel to position one of more bottles under chuck heads. Caps will be presented and placed using a cap chute along with a bowl or elevator. Automatic chuck cappers are often the best solution for smaller containers where a starwheel can help with stability and a spindle type capper, described below, may have issues with smaller closures. Semi-automatic chuck cappers can also be built on the automatic frame to allow for upgrades and add speed in the future.
When it comes to screw-on type closures, chuck capping machines may offer the best solution for lower production facilities. While automated chuck capping machines will add speed to a capping process, the manual chuck capping equipment will offer added benefits even if the speed of capping is not significantly increased. Handheld chuck cappers allow an operator to place a cap and then simply position the chuck over the cap and apply torque. These simple machines allow for consistent and repeatable torque, leading to consistent tightening, which is tough to achieve through hand capping and tightening. They can also help manual labor to avoid repetitive motion injuries and fight fatigue. Chuck cappers are also available as semi-automatic and tabletop machines. The smaller versions of these machines allow an operator to set up and cap bottles in a small location, and can often be combined with a filling machine on the same frame to allow one operator to fill and cap.
Snap capping machinery
Snap capping machines will use a belt or tamp head to push down or "snap" on a closure. Like the chuck capper, these machines are available in automatic and semi-automatic designs. However, no handheld snap capping machine exists. Bottles sealed using an automatic snap capper will travel down a main power conveyor and receive a cap through a delivery system. As the container and cap combinations continously move into the capping area, pressure is applied to each set to compelte the seal. The continuous aspect of the snap capping machine offers the benefit of speed along with consistency and repeatability.
Semi-automatic snap cappers can be built on the automatic frame, just like the chuck cappers, to allow for upgrades in the future. Manual labor would be responsible to place the lids on the full frame semi-automatic frame. Tabletop snap cappers will use a tamp head to push down the closures for smaller production facilities. The operator will simply slide the container in to position after placing the lid and the tamp head will snap on the cap. Again, these tabletop machines can be combined with other tabletop equipment like bottle fillers to set up an efficient packaging system with a small footprint. While speed may increase with a semi-automatic snap capper, this will depend on the rate at which the operator is able to perform, but the consistency of capping gained from the automation will remain.
Spindle capping machinery
The spindle capping machine is another option for screw-on, or continuous thread, type closures. Like the snap capper, the spindle cappers allows for continuous capping on an automatic line, using a cap delivery system, which will significantly increase the speed at which bottles or other containers can be closed. The spindle capper is probably the most popular automatic capping machine manufactured at LPS, simply due to speed and accuracy coupled with the fact that continuous thread caps are a very popular closure type.
Again, a semi-automatic spindle capper can be built on an automatic frame, removing the cap delivery system and requiring an operator to place caps before the bottles enter the capping area. While this will significantly reduce the output of the machine short term, it once again allows the machine to be upgraded to automatic operation in the future, so the equipment can grow with the packager. Tabletop spindle cappers, while not one of the more popular designs, are available for special projects. These projects will usually include screw on pump or trigger sprayers with low demand or output. Again, the tabletop machine may not significantly increase speed, but ensures consistent tightening and sealing.
Bottle corking machinery
Bartop corking machinery has become more popular with the growth of the distilled spirits industry over the last several years. These machines place and press corks, T-corks and similar closures in to place. Automatic machinery will include a chute that delivers the cork-like closures to a holding position. Once the bottle is in place on the conveyor, the cork will be pressed snugly in to the bottle before it moves down the power conveyor to the next packaging phase. The semi-automatic bottle corker works similarly, but the operator will place the corks in to the chute, or bottle, depending on the design. Again, the speed will be reduced when manual labor is injected in to the process, but typically the corking machinery will increase both speed and consistency.
While the solutions mentioned above make up a vast majority of the capping machinery manufactured by Liquid Packaging Solutions, there will always be rare bottles, closures and situations that may call for unique solutions. LPS also designs and manufactures custom capping machinery, keeping in mind the goals of the packager, be it speed, consistency, reliability or any combination of these and other benefits. To learn more about the different capping machines manufactured by LPS, visit the Capping Machinery page of the website.