At NPACK, a number of different capping machines can be found on the production floor, in various stages of assembly, at any given time. Packaging projects will use a bottle capper that suits the type of closure used on containers. These closures range from trigger sprayers and flip-tops to simple flat cap screw-ons, snap on lids, T-corks and more. While screw on caps in all their different forms still tend to be the most popular type of closure for our customers, cork type closures have seen a boost in popularity thanks to the emerging craft distillery market. As a result, corking machines have also become more popular as a means of quickly and efficiently sealing bottles with these type of closures.
Like all capping machinery, NPACK manufactures corking machines in semi-automatic and automatic models, meaning these machines can work for start-ups, regional companies or even larger, high-production facilities. Simple tabletop corking machines allow for consistent and reliable corking without forcing manual labor to repeatedly seal bottles by hand. The operator of the machine will still place the cork on the bottle, but then simply position the bottle under a corking head to complete the seal. However, a more popular version of the semi-automatic corker is built on a larger frame, and actually on the same frame as the automatic corking machine.
This semi-automatic capping machine may work in the same manner as tabletop machine, in that the operator will need to place the cork and then position the bottle. However, additional stages of automation can be added at the manufacture of the machine or as production demand requires more automation. For example, a semi-automatic machine may use a power conveyor, leaving the operator to place corks, but allowing the operator to simply do so as the bottles pass from the filler to the bartop corker on the conveyor system, saving time by removing the need to place each individual bottle into the corking area and removing the bottles once sealed.
Finally, as production increases, these semi-automatic corkers can be modified and upgraded to completely automated corking machines. The automatic bartop corker will use the power conveyor and indexing to allow for the bottles to be sealed, but will also include an automatic cork delivery system similar to the cap delivery systems found on spindle cappers. The corks are placed in to a hopper or bin and delivered via elevator to a cork chute. Each cork travels down the chute and is placed in the bottle once in position, pressed down and sealed. The operator will add bulk caps from time to time, but otherwise will simply need to monitor the machine. Of course, with automated lines, a single operator will often monitor all of the machines, and the corker will be usually be added to the task of the line operator, meaning the automatic bartop corker requires no additional manual labor of its own.
As distillers continue to emerge and grow across the United States, so the corking machine occupies more time on our production floor. To learn more about the different options for sealing distilled spirits, contact NPACK today.