Given all of the different products on the market today, it is no surprise that there does not exist one single closure that will seal each and every container. Unfortunately, this also means that there does not exist one single capping machine that will seal each and every container that exists. The type of capping machine used on any given packaging project will depend on, among other factors, the type of cap or closure being used on bottles or other containers. Below are a few of the most common caps and closures found on the market today.
Still arguably the most popular closure used by packagers today, the screw-on type cap can take many different forms. From simple flat caps used on bottled water and popular soft drinks, to sports caps used on energy and sports drinks, to flip-tops on products such as shampoo and conditioner, screw-on type caps thread onto the bottle to create a seal that resists spills, leaks and often tampering. Two different automatic capping machines can be used for screw-on closures, the spindle capper and the chuck capping machine. Generally speaking, each machine contacts the cap and spins it onto the threads of the bottle. The spindle capper uses matched sets of spindle wheels to spin down the cap, while the chuck capper uses a chuck and inserts to grip the cap and do the same. Different factors, such as cap and bottle size, production speeds and cap type will help determine which of the two bottle cappers will be used for any given project.
Snap-on closures do exactly as one might think, simply snap on to the bottle or container. Snap caps may also take on different forms, from flat caps found on some pill bottles to larger lids found on products such as foods or even paint. Rather than gripping the closure, snap on capping machines will use either a belt or a stomping device to apply pressure to the lid until the seal is completed. As the cap and container pass beneath the belt, the belt will decline slightly to increasing add pressure until the lid snaps into place. The stomper will simply push down on the cap or lid once in place to achieve the same end goal. The design of the snap capping machine will also depend on the type of closure, container and a number of other factors.
CORKS OR PLUGS
With the recent rise in the number of craft wines and spirits, so has the popularity of the T-cork and other cork type closures risen. Corking machines may be similar to the snap capping machine, in that a stomper or pressure bar may be used to press corks into bottles or other containers. The difference being that the corks are pressed into the bottle opening versus snapping on to the rim of the container or otherwise sealing with a snap. Automatic bartop corkers and other corking machinery may seal one bottle at a time or several, depending on the design and the production needs. Several different formats are available to meet the needs of individual packagers.
Finally, ROPP cappers can be used to apply Roll On Pilfer Proof Caps. In general terms, these capping machines use rollers or knives on an aluminum cap to create a seal where threads exist on the bottle. The most common user of ROPP caps is typically those using a wine bottle, though they may be seen on olive oils and several other food products. Automatic ROPP cappers introduce the aluminum closure to the bottle before the cap head descends to create the seal, and these machines will typically emply a starwheel type indexing system to position bottles under the capping head one by one.
Of course, custom capping machinery exists for unique closures and some machine capping types can be combined (see the spindle and snap capping machine) to meet the needs of individual packagers. Each automatic capping machine will normally include an automatic cap delivery system to keep capping at continuous or near-continuous levels. For more information on any of the cappers above, or to discuss your bottle capping needs with a Packaging Specialist, contact NPACK today!