Troubleshooting Spindle Cappers - Cap Scarring and Marring
While rarely an issue with spindle cappers, from time to time issues do arise with the tightening wheels leaving scuff marks or otherwise damaging the caps during the capping process. While the rarity of such an event is good news, even better is that this issue is almost always easily resolved.
Spindle cappers seal bottles that use continuous thread, or screw on, type closures. As the bottles move through the capping machine, sets of spinning disks set on spindles will contact and turn the cap to create a consistent, reliable and repeatable seal for every bottle that moves through the machine. When caps are getting marred during this process, usually one of three solutions will fix the problem.
1. Replace the spindle disks
The spindle disks on the capping machine, because they actually come in contact with the closures during the tightening, will wear over time and need to be replaced. If marring occurs on the caps, visually inspect the disks themselves. They should be smooth and fairly symmetrical. If there are worn spots on the disks, or if they are starting to flake or appear sheared, it may be time to purchase new disks. This is not something that should occur often, and replacing the disks often may be a sign of a different capper issue. However, from time to time replacement of disks is necessary, and if marring occurs after having the same disks on the capping machine for a prolonged period of time, wear and tear on the disks will likely be the culprit.
2. Reposition the spindle disks
On a spindle capper, the disks can be moved both up and down as well as in and out, to accommodate a wide variety of bottle and cap types. Sometimes, the disks may not be adjusted properly which can result in a tighter squeeze or added friction during the capping process. Positioning the disks correctly can ensure that seals remain not only reliable, but that they also do not do damage to the caps themselves. If caps begin to get scratches or mars and the disks are not old or do not look worn, operators should attempt to adjust the position of the disks while maintaining a good seal to see if the damage then stops. Adjustments are made with simple knobs or switches and can be done quickly, but a few bottles at a time should be tested to ensure efficient and consistent performance before going to fully automatic operation after such a change.
3. Change the spindle disk durometer
For those that have used spindle capping machines, they may be aware that the spindle disks come in different colors. This is true not just for aesthetic purposes. The different colors of the disks represent different durometers, or hardness, of the disk material. Continuous thread caps come in many different shapes, sizes and materials. If disks are properly positioned and no wear and tear can be spotted, it may be time to try a different durometer disk for the capping process. A disk that is too hard may cause some marring to caps, while disks that are too soft may not tighten caps properly. While one or two durometers will work for the vast majority of caps, there are always exceptions to this rule.
Of course, if the issue continues, Liquid Packaging Solutions has technicians available to help troubleshoot and find the solution for a spindle capper that is damaging caps. Techs can be reached Toll Free at 1-888-393-3693 during regular business hours, which are Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 5 PM Central Time.