Packagers will find a lot of information on the NPACK website about the different kinds of automatic capping machines for different bottle and cap combinations. While the main focus will almost always be on the type of closure and bottle being used, the equipment could not function automatically without the cap delivery system. With a number of different ways to present closures, fitments and inserts to the capping equipment, these accessories to the capping machines are an integral part of consistently and efficiently sealing bottles. Below we look at a few of the common delivery systems as well as some custom solutions.
One of the most common delivery systems for automatic capping machines involves a cap elevator with a chute. The cap elevator allows operators of a packaging line to simply supply bulk closures to a hopper on the elevator. The elevator then aligns caps properly for delivery to a chute, which in turn presents a single closure to each bottle or container passing through the capping machine. Cap elevators are probably most common on spindle capping machines but may also be used for other capping machine types. Simple adjustments to the cap elevator, almost always tool free, allow the machinery to deliver a range of closure types and sizes to the capper.
Vibratory bowls are also used to deliver caps or other closures to a chute. These components are an alternative to cap elevators and may be used when the shape or size of the closure is not conducive to using an elevator. In some cases, the bowl may also add speed to the delivery of the caps or lids. Vibratory bowls are just what they sound like, large hopper type bowls that vibrate to move closures along the outside of the interior and up to the cap chute. Caps that are not aligned correctly will fall back into the gut of the bowl to begin the journey once again. Vibratory bowls also allow operators of the automatic packaging machinery to simply supply bulk caps to the bowl rather than worry about supplying each bottle.
PUMP PLACER OR INSERTER
Certain types of containers or products will use a pump, trigger sprayer or other insert to make dispensing or using the product more convenient for the end user. Packaging machinery for pump placers, brush placers and other inserts can be custom manufactured to meet the specific needs of the project, products or company requiring such equipment. Again, this type of packaging machine is an integral part of an automatic capping system in that the actual tightening or sealing of the cap cannot be done efficiently to meet production demands if these components of the container must be hand placed or cannot keep up with the speed of tightening or sealing. Many times the trigger sprayer, pump or other insert will be a part of the cap itself (think of opening up nail polish with the cap also acting as the brush), so that the delivery system will be a modification of the chute discussed earlier. Other times, the delivery of these components will require a completely custom designed system.
FITMENT PLACERS OR COMBINERS
As pouches become more and more popular in a wide range of industries, fitments are becoming a bigger part of the packaging world. Though fitments may be used on other containers, they are often used to allow a pouch to be sealed or capped with typical closures, such as screw on caps. Pouches may be manufactured with the fitment in place, requiring the packaging machinery to simply seal the pouch with the necessary closure. But some pouches and other containers may require the fitment and cap to be combined and then placed on the container, or they may require both the fitment and the cap to be delivered to the package. These are truly custom projects, which may make use of the elevators and bowls described above to combine fitments and caps or, again, may require a completely custom packaging system to consistently and reliably deliver and seal packages.
Each capping project will include unique properties based on the containers and closures in use. These items, along with desired speed, required production and any number of other factors will help to determine which delivery system will work best for the capping and sealing of containers. For questions on capping, sealing and cap delivery, contact NPACK and speak with a Packaging Specialist today.