Four Capping Machine Concerns for Packagers (and Their Solutions)
FOUR CAPPING MACHINE CONCERNS FOR PACKAGERS (AND THEIR SOLUTIONS)
Just like filling equipment, purchasing a capping machine for certain closures raises some concerns. Moving from hand tightening lids to automating the process can leave a new packager or a packager with a new product scratching their head! But again, what is unique to the packager is not always unique to the manufacturer of packaging machinery. Below are a few common concerns relating to capping machines along with the typical solution for those concerns.
1. Unique Bottle Shapes and Sizes
The concern with most capping machines is the ability to sort and tighten the caps. But unique bottle or container shapes and sizes can be a concern as well. From small vials to five gallon jugs and beyond, square containers or tapered necks, this concern is fairly easy to allay. The key to consistent and reliable capping lies not only in the handling of the closure, but in keeping the bottle or container stable during the entire process. Components such as gripper belts, stabilizer bars, pucks, rails and more are used to secure the bottle or container during the process. While a standard 16 ounce beverage bottle may only require rails and belts, a small container with a rounded bottom may additionally require a puck to keep the container upright through the process. Each container will be analyzed prior to the manufacture of the capping equipment to ensure such stability.
2. Unique Caps
Caps come in many different shapes and sizes as well. Simple, screw-on flat caps are used for a variety of products (think bottled water) but are only one of thousands of variations used to seal bottles. Unique caps may be simply a size or shape issue as well, or may include components, such as a sports cap or a trigger sprayer. These projects will be handled on a case-by-case basis as well, and like the containers, the solution normally lies in stabilizing the cap. Stabilizer bars as well as fingers for the presentation of the cap to the container may be used. In other cases, like with trigger sprayers, the design may need to be modified to allow for the extra space and keep the heads from spinning during the tightening process.
3. F-Style Containers
Though we spoke earlier about unique container shapes and sizes, we include F-style containers as its own category because of the unique solution. An F-style container includes a handle (think of a bottle of laundry detergent) that can make automatic capping an issue. Automatic cappers can only perform automatically if the caps can be delivered to each container. The problem with the F-style container is that the machine will not only want to present a cap to the container opener, but also to the handle as it passes the delivery site. This concern is easily overcome with a type of cap indexing. Generally, a timer and sensor will be used to hold back a closure for a set amount of time, ensuring that the bottle opening gets a lid, but the handle of the F-style container does not.
Products packaged in pouches are becoming more and more popular, but these products still require some type of closure. While some use resealable zippers, others attach a fitment to the pouch to take advantage of screw-on or other types of caps. In these situations there arise projects that need to not only tighten the lid, but also assemble the fitment. This can still be achieved with automatic cappers by basically separating the process into two steps. A fitment cap combiner is used to assemble the two pieces. The fitment cap combiner generally works like a spindle capper, except instead of tightening the cap to the bottle, it is attaching the cap to the fitment. For pouches with the fitment in place, it is simply a matter of stabilizing the pouch and tightening the cap in the same manner as you would with other cap and container combinations.
For questions or concerns regarding capping projects, we invite you to take advantage of years of packaging machine experience. Our packaging experts can be reached toll free at 1-888-393-3693.