Troubleshooting Inconsistentcy on an Automatic Spindle Capper

Troubleshooting Inconsistency On An Automatic Spindle Capper

Last week we looked at the unusual case of an overflow filling machine not consistently filling to the same level.  This week we will look at a more common issue when it comes to service.  Automatic spindle cappers are arguably the most popular capping machine manufactured by Liquid Packaging Solutions, Inc., handling a wide range of screw on type caps and allowing for continuous capping on a packaging line.  Though simple to use, these machines do need to be fine tuned to the cap and bottle being run.  So our most popular capping machine is also responsible for one of our most popular service calls:  inconsistent capping.  However, with very few exceptions, the inconsistent capping can almost always be corrected quickly with a simple call to an LPS technician.

1.  Capping Machine Set Up

The automatic spindle capper uses a cap delivery system that normally consists of either a vibratory bowl or a cap elevator.  The cap is delivered to a chute and each bottle that passes under the chute will strip off a single cap.  Once the cap is on the bottle, gripper belts will stabilize the bottle while spindle wheels tighten the cap down.  As we follow the cap from the bowl to the bottle, then the bottle and cap through the actual capping process, we can find a number of different adjustments that need to be made for the capping machine to reach peak performance.  While none of the adjustments are difficult, all are crucial to consistent, reliable capping.

The bowl or elevator will have to be adjusted for each cap run.  This may consist of adjusting the vibration speed of the vibratory bowl or the tilt of the elevator.  The chute will need to be adjusted for the size of the cap, ensuring that the lids do not get stuck on their trip to the capping machine.  The capping machine itself will need to be adjusted for height and width of both the bottle and the lid.  Gripper belts can be moved up and down as well as in and out to provide support for different bottle heights and widths.  Spindle wheels can be adjusted in the same way to ensure proper tightening.  Almost all of these adjustments can be made by hand, without the necessity for tools and downtime can be reduced to a minimum.  Technicians can often walk operators of the bottle capper through these adjustments to find the cause of inconsistent capping.

2.  Wear Parts and Spare Parts

Every once in awhile, inconsistent capping may occur despite having proper settings on the packaging machine.  In this case, the most likely culprits are the wear parts found on the bottle capper.  Both gripper belts and spindle wheels come in contact with the bottle and cap, respectively.  The contact will cause the parts to wear away and become unfit for their purpose.  If bottles are not stable, or if caps are not tightened properly, inconsistency can occur in the capping process.  The wear on these contact parts can be exacerbated by the atmosphere in which the capping machine sits or even by a lack of maintenance (keeping the machine clean).  A simple inspection of the belts or spindle wheels will usually provide evidence of wear, and these parts should be kept on the shelf for quick and easy replacement to avoid downtime.

In almost all cases of inconsistent tightening on a spindle capper, the fix will be found in the set up or wear parts.  For those infrequent cases where the problem lies elsewhere, LPS technicians are available for a plant visit to troubleshoot and get the machine back in working order.  For other questions on spindle cappers or other equipment manufactured by LPS, do not hesitate to call and speak with a Packaging Specialist today!