Spindle Capper Set Up and Adjustments
While it is true that spindle cappers will normally be set up at the factory or during installation for customer specific bottles and caps, there are good reasons for operators to understand the basics of that set up, including but not limited to relocation of machinery or introduction of new bottle and cap combinations. Below are a few of the basic tasks involved in setting up a spindle capping machine for automatic production.
LEVELING THE CONVEYOR
Before even beginning to set up the spindle capping machine, packagers must first place and level the conveyor system on the production floor. Without a level system to transfer bottles through the capping area, operators will find it nearly impossible to get a reliable, consistent seal from the machine. Once the conveyor is in place on the plant floor, leveling legs will allow for adjustments until the conveyor is level.
LEVELING AND ALIGNING THE CAPPER
Just as the conveyor must be leveled, so must the spindle capper. But first, the capping machine should be rolled up to the conveyor, typically aligned so that the spindles are centered over the conveyor belt. (Exceptions do exist for custom applications or where odd shaped containers are used.) Once in place, level the capping machine just like the capper, using the leveling legs to make adjustments. In the end, a bottle can be used, sliding it through the capping area, to check alignment.
SETTING THE HEIGHT OF THE CAPPER
Adjusting the height of the spindle capper generally adjusts the housing, which includes the spindle wheels. The height of the spindle wheels are important simply because if the wheels are not set to contact a stabile part of the cap, the machine will not produce consistent seals. The ideal spot on the cap will differ with the type and size of the closure being used, but operators want the wheels to contact at a spot that will allow torque without affecting stability. Of course, a stabilizer bar will also be used to help ensure consistent seals as well.
ADJUSTING SPINDLE WHEEL WIDTH
Spindle wheels can be moved in and out using simple hand knob adjustments on the face of the machine. Getting just the right pressure on the caps as it passes through the spindle wheels can take a little bit of trial and error, as slight adjustments can affect performance. If wheels are too tight, damage may result to the cap and bottle or operators may experience cross threaded caps. Wheels that don't apply enough pressure may result in inconsistent seals or no sealing at all. The best way to set the width is to simply perform test runs making slight adjustments while paying attention to the tell-tale signs of improper alignment noted above.
ADJUSTING GRIPPER BELTS
Gripper belts stabilize and steady the bottles as they move through the capping area. Simple hand cranks will allow for adjustment both up and down as well as in and out, allowing the machine to accommodate a variety of bottle shapes and sizes. These belts need to touch the bottles without squeezing them to allow free but stabile movement. Tight gripper belts may restrict movement and cause jams or spills, while loose belts can lead to shaking, tipping and inconsistent capping.
Other settings for spindle capping machines include adjustment to the cap chute, fingers and stabilizer bar, though most issues can be resolved by the adjustments noted above. Again, small adjustments to the spindle capper can lead to drastic changes in performance, which is why the machinery is prepared at the factory or during installation. For assistance and troubleshooting spindle capping machines, contact the Parts & Service Department at Liquid Packaging Solutions, Inc.