Designing a Custom Capping Machine

Designing a Custom Capping Machine

Arguably, every capping machine is a custom capping machine in that the equipment must be matched to the specific project.  But every once in awhile, a package creates or imagines a unique or innovative way to seal a bottle.  When a typical three or four station spindle capper, or a regular chuck capper just will not work for a given packaging line, truly custom capping machinery will be designed for the project.  While there are many factors that may be considered when designing such packaging machinery based on the specific project itself, there are a few that will factors that will always be taken into account.

CONTAINER AND CAP COMBINATION

Any capping project will have to first analyze the container and cap combination.  The capping machine must be able to stabilize the bottle, or other container, while also consistently and reliably applying the closure.  Large bottles, small bottles or containers that have an odd shape may require specialized stabilizing techniques, from unique rails to stabilizing belts to custom pucks to hold the container.  Of course, the type of cap being used will go a long way toward determining the closure method for custom capping machinery.  Snap on caps will not use spindles to achieve a seal, screw on caps will not use a snap on belt.  In some cases, caps or other closures may require a combination of sealing methods as well.  Looking at the container and cap together will allow the designer of the machine to choose the best methods for creating a consistent, reliable seal.

PRODUCTION DEMAND

Production demand equals speed.  Even custom capping machines can be built to different levels of automation.  High demand for a product may mean the packaging line requires a fully automatic capping machine.  Regional demand or local demand might allow the packaging to get away with custom tabletop capper.  The number of containers that must be sealed on a daily basis must be taken in to account when deciding how to manufacture the custom capping machinery.

ENVIRONMENT AND SPACE

Just as production demand can help decide between a portable frame automatic capping machine or a tabletop capper, the space available can have a bearing on the type of equipment that is built for a custom project.  Many start up companies have limited production space available.  When complete, inline packaging systems are impossible due to space limitations, rotary machinery, uniframe machines and even tabletop packaging equipment must be considered.  

The environment in which the packaging takes place can also have an effect on the equipment being built.  While rare, there may be occasions where the product itself, or the atmosphere on the production floor, is harmful to stainless steel - the standard material for most capping machines.  Though stainless will work for most projects, other materials, such as plastic, can be used for harsh environments.  Matching the construction material to the environment ensures a long, productive life for the packaging machinery.

EXISTING EQUIPMENT OR INTEGRATION

Of course, not all companies looking for capping machines are start up companies.  Innovation, new products and time alone will eventually lead veteran packaging companies to search for new capping equipment.  When a custom capping machine is built for an existing packaging line, it is important to ensure that the equipment can be easily integrated with any existing equipment.  

Automatic packaging lines will normally use a power conveyor to move containers from one packaging station to the next.  In these cases, the custom capping machinery must be built to roll up to the existing conveyor and take a place in the automated system.  For packaging systems that are semi-automatic, the capping machine should work with either the manual laborers or the other semi-automatic equipment to create and continue a flow of products through the packaging stage.  In other words, the production of the capping machine should meet or exceed the production of the labor or other machinery to keep the packaging system itself efficient.  

Again, there are any number of other factors that may contribute to choosing the best custom capping machine for any given project.  While those factors listed above should always be considered by someone searching for packaging machinery, each project will also present unique factors and challenges to both the packager and the manufacturer of the packaging machinery.  For more information on capping machines and other custom packaging machinery, contact Liquid Packaging Solutions today.