Spindle Cappers versus Chuck Cappers - Automatic and Semi-Automatic Machines
Capping machines are manufactured to handle a certain type of closure, with both spindle and chuck cappers tightening continuous thread caps. These caps can be as simple as a flat cap like those found on most sixteen ounce beverages. However, many different types of these screw-on type caps exist. Some soaps and other products may use a pump dispenser with a continuous thread. Others products, such as certain cleaning products, may use a trigger sprayer with screw-on threads. The choice to use either a spindle capper or a chuck capping machine will depend on a number of different factors.
First, as discussed above, continuous thread caps come in many different shapes and sizes. The difference in the process for capping using the spindle and chuck capper will often lead to one machine being a better choice than the other. The spindle capper uses sets of disks to thread the cap to the bottle. The chuck capper, on the other hand, uses a chuck to descend over the cap and apply torque to thread the cap to the bottle. Flat caps can easily be covered by the chuck head to apply torque, but other caps, like the pumps and trigger sprayers may be damaged by the descending chuck and are better handled by the sets of disks used by the spindle capper. In deciding between the spindle and chuck capper, the type of continuous thread closure will also be considered in making the best choice.
Generally speaking, very small bottles can be difficult to keep stabile during the capping process, from running through a conveyor to stabilizing while the spindle disks are tightening the caps. The spindle capper does not typically use an indexing system, instead capping bottles continuously as they travel down the power conveyor. The descending chuck needs the bottle to stop in a precise location to allow the chuck head to descend and tighten the cap. For this reason, the chuck capper may use a screw or starwheel indexing system to properly locate bottles. The indexing system can help to control smaller or oddly shaped bottles and in some cases the chuck capper will better choice when bottles are small or unique.
Finally, as noted above, the spindle capper tightens caps continuously while the chuck capper is more of a stop-and-go process. For many automatic packaging lines, the spindle capper may be a better choice simply for its continuous process, which can add a little more speed to the system as a whole. However, not all packagers use an automatic packaging system. Chuck capping machines offer a wider variety of semi-automatic capping solutions, including manual, tabletop and full-frame options. Semi-automatic machines require an operator to interact with bottles and caps for each cycle run. However, these machines can add consistency and reliability to a capping process along with better speeds in some cases. Both cappers are available in automatic and semi-automatic versions, but as a general rule, spindle cappers are the more popular automatic solution and chuck cappers will be used more in semi-automatic applications.
While a few general rules are listed above with respect to spindle cappers versus chuck cappers, there do exist exceptions to every general rule. In addition to the automation level, cap type and bottle size, many other factors exist that will help to determine which machine will work the best for any given project. At Liquid Packaging Solutions, all factors will be analyzed for each project before manufacturing the best solution for the individual packager and project.