Capping machinery is one aspect of the packaging process that helps keep product safe by applying a secure, consistent and reliable seal on many different container types. Automatic bottle cappers will be manufactured for a packager based on the type of closure that is used by that packager, to provide an efficient solution for preparing product for the shelf. Some of the popular automatic capping machines are described below:
1. Spindle Capper
Spindle cappers provide an automatic capping solution for continuous thread, or screw-on type, closures. These capping machines are built to handle a wide range of screw-on type caps, from simple flat caps found on beverages to flip-tops, pump, trigger sprayers, sports caps and more. The machine uses spinning disks to contact the cap and screw it in to place as the bottles and caps move through the capping area on a conveyor. Typically, three or four sets of spindles and disks will be used to achieve a consistent and secure seal.
2. Chuck Capper
Automatic chuck capping machines are also used for continuous thread closures, but rather than using a spindle, a chuck head descends to cover the cap and apply torque to create the seal. While there may be several reasons that a chuck capper would be chosen over a spindle capper by a packager, chuck capping machines are mostly employed when bottle stability is an issue. Rather than traveling on a conveyor, the chuck capper can work with starwheel indexing, so that small bottles or oddly shaped bottles can be tucked in to a pocket of the starwheel and kept stabile during the capping process. Chuck cappers are also more likely to employ pucks for non-rounded bottles to add stability. The bottle is placed in to a puck and the puck passes through the starwheel for the seal.
3. Corking Machines
Automatic bartop corking machines are used by distillers, wineries, olive oil producers and more to create a cork or T-cork seal on a bottle. The corking machines simply consistently press cork like closures in to bottles as they move down a conveyor. Different indexing, including both pin and starwheel, can be used to position the bottles depending on which will work best based on application, space and other factors. While the boom of craft distilleries made the bartop corkers more popular, these type of machines can be found across several different industries and will usually be combined with a neck bander or capsule spinner for tamper evident sealing.
4. Snap Cappers
Snap capping machines are built much like the spindle cappers. However, the spindles are replaced by a snap down belt or tamp head to snap caps, lids or other closures in to place, like with some pharmaceutical products. On most machines, a snapping belt will decline from the front of the capping area to the back, allowing for increasing pressure to snap the cap in to place, while a few applications may simply use a tamp type head to push down the closures over the lip of the container. Due to the similarity in design, snap and spindle cappers can be combined for companies that require both, such as contract packagers.
5. ROPP Cappers
Also popular in the wine and distilled spirits industry, the automatic roll on pilfer proof, or ROPP, capper uses knives, or rollers, to thread a blank aluminum cap to a bottle. Though starting with an aluminum blank, the ROPP capper provides tamper evidence with each bottle that is run through the machine, a benefit for any packager that has made ROPP caps more popular in the recent past. The unique closure can also help a product stand out from others on the shelf, as the cap is seen less than some of the others on this list.
While each of these cappers have distinct differences, all share one trait. In order to run automatically, the machines will include a cap delivery system which will normally consist of a cap elevator or bowl that delivers closures to a chute. The chute carries the caps to the bottle, where they will be combined before entering the capping area. Unique or custom applications may require different cap delivery procedures, but some type of delivery will be included with an automatic machine.
To learn more about automatic capping options, visit the Capping Machinery section of the NPACK website.