Distilled Spirits Capping Machines – Corker, ROPP, Spindle and Chuck

It is not unusual to find a number of different caps or closures in a single industry, due in part to the fact that many different products often constitute a single industry. However, some industries are composed of only a few - or even one - product, and a single cap will be used for a majority of the individual brand. For example, almost all bottled water brands will use a simple, flat screw-on type closure. The distilled spirits industry is a little different than most, in that for the somewhat similar products across the industry (spirits), there are several different closures that can be considered popular, leading to the prominent use of several different capping machines in the industry.


One of several popular methods for sealing distilled spirits is using some version of a cork, such as a T-cork or bartop cork. Bartop corkers can be manufactured to work for distillers both large and small. Semi-automatic corking machines allow distillers with lower production requirements to use manual labor to place cork like closures in to a chute. The chute delivers corks to the bottles under the corking head, and the same laborer can then slide the bottles under the chute, where the corker will push the cork in to place, sealing the bottle. Automatic corking machines use the same concept, but corks will be automatically delivered to the chute and conveyors will carry bottles to the precise position to allow the corking head to complete the seal. Manual labor will not be necessary for each cycle, but rather the operator or operators of the packaging line will ensure bulk bottles and corks are available to the system.


Roll On Pilfer Proof (ROPP) capping machines may also be found fairly regularly in the distilled spirits industry. Typically using aluminum shells, these capping machines use rollers to thread the shells to the bottle at the time of capping, while also providing tamper evidence on each sealed bottle. ROPP cappers, like the bottle corkers, can be manufactured local, regional or global production demands. Semi-automatic machines will require the operator to place the bottle under the capping head, which will then descend to create the seal. Automatic machinery will once again take advantage of a cap delivery system, conveyors and some type of indexing to remove the need for manual labor with each bottle sealed. Another advantage of ROPP capping machines is that the heads can often be changed over to allow the machines to work with screw-on, or continuous thread closures as well.


While not as popular as the two machine types described above, both spindle and chuck cappers can be found in the distilled spirits industry. These two capping options both work with the screw-on, or continuous thread, caps mentioned above. Spindle cappers are often used for continuous capping on automatic packaging lines, using a cap delivery system and sets of disks to spin down the threaded closures while removing the need for indexing. While semi-automatic spindle cappers do exist for special caps that might include trigger or pump sprayers, they are unique in the distilled spirits industry. Semi-automatic cappers for distilled spirits using screw-on type caps are more likely to be chuck capping machines. Chuck cappers can be manufactured as hand-held sealing machines or even tabletop machinery. These capping machines provide consistent and reliable seals for screw-on type caps, typically requiring the operator to place the cap on the bottle, then the combination of cap and bottle under the chuck head. The chuck will descend and apply torque to tighten the cap. Chuck heads are used to change over on the ROPP capping machines to handle screw-on type caps.

While exceptions are always likely to exist, a distiller using packaging machinery to prepare product is likely to have one of the four capping machines described above, depending on their choice of closure. From tamper evidence to efficiency to just plain aesthetics, each machine has different benefits that will appeal to different distillers. To learn more about capping machines for distillers, or any of the other packaging equipment produced by NPACK, simply contact the NPACK offices today.