How Quick Can You Cap?

How Quick Can You Cap?

Many times when discussing capping machines - from manual chuck capping equipment to fully automatic spindle cappers - one simple questions arises.  How many bottles per minute can I cap with this machine?  While many people expect a simple answer to this question, there are actually quite a few factors involved in finding a number.  In fact, the same machine may run a different number of bottles per minute for different projects.

When using a handheld chuck capping machine, the number of bottles capped per minute is going to depend in large part on the manual labor being used to cap the bottles.  These capping machines are normally used in lower production facilities, and while increased speed might be an advantage of a manual capper, the true benefit lies in the consistency.  Manual handheld cappers will normally be used to upgrade a hand capping station.  The handheld capping equipment ensures that each cap is tightened consistently to the same, or nearly the same, torque, avoiding fatigue and the poorly tightened caps that can occur with hand capping.  While the person operating the capper will have an effect on speed, the cap and bottle types and sizes will also play a part.  Bottles capped per minute will usually range anywhere from ten to fifty.

Semi-automatic capping equipment still requires manual labor to place the cap on the bottle and then either place the bottle into a positioning nest or onto a conveyor to move bottles through a capping machine.  Again, some speed will be added over both hand capping bottles or using a manual capping machine.  However, once again the main advantage of semi-automatic capping equipment is that it will provide a reliable and consistent seal, avoiding over and under-tightening.  Again, bottle per minute speeds will depend on the labor operating the machine as well as the bottle type, bottle size and the type of capping machine to be used.  Those using semi-automatic machinery can normally expect to cap somewhere between 30 and 80 bottles per minute.

Automatic capping equipment has the ability to significantly increase capping output over hand capping, manual cappers and semi-automatic capping equipment.  Any facility mass producing products that need to be capped will probably find it necessary to use an automatic capping machine.  Automatic spindle cappers, chuck cappers and even ROPP cappers will all use a cap sorting device to deliver and place caps on bottles prior to entering the capping area.  What this means is that the operator of the automatic capping machine simply loads bulk caps into the cap sorting device hopper on occasion.  Given the automatic delivery of caps and the continuous capping of bottles, some automatic capping machines can reach speeds of up to 300 bottles per minute.  But keep in mind that this is taking only the capping machine into consideration.

An automatic capping machine will likely be found on an automated packaging line, though the capping machine can be used as a stand alone unit.  The capping machine, and any other piece of packaging equipment on a packaging line, can only perform as fast as the slowest piece of packaging equipment on the line.  In other words, the capper will not cap 300 bottles per minute if the liquid filler is only filling 80 bottles per minute.  When dealing with automated packaging systems, each piece of equipment should be taken into consideration to determine the actual speed of the packaging line, versus the speed of individual pieces of packaging equipment.  

If you have questions about capping machines, packaging line speed or packaging equipment in general, call our offices toll free today at 1-888-393-3693 for your answers!