The process of selecting a can capping machine suitable for your application is a bit less complicated compared to the filling machine selection process. But, similar to filling machines, you can solve this problem by considering the common factors that will affect the process.
These factors include the capsize and cap geometry, design of the closure, and your required production capacity. The cap sorter type, which will be based on the aforementioned constraints, can also be used as part of the specification process.
But before we go on with these factors, let us first give you a brief overview of what capping machines are and the importance of buying one.
Capping Machines: Definition and Their Importance
A capping machine is used in securing caps onto containers, jars, vials, bottles, and others. You will find three major types of this machine:
- Manual cappers
- Semi-automatic cappers
- Fully-automatic cappers
A manual capping machine aids in setting and holding the products. The operator handles the majority of the activities and controls. Semi-automatic cappers allow only one operator to carry out routine activities accurately at a faster speed. These capping machines help in both placing and packaging containers.
Lastly, automatic cappers can perform activities without any operator intervention. The involvement of the operator is only limited to replenishing the packaging components.
Can capping machines help prevent the following:
- Product tampering
- Product contamination
- Product leakage
The prevention of the above issues extends the shelf-life of the products. They help in the optimization of the product packaging process and ensure product quality, safety, and efficiency. Also, different types of packaged products need a specific type of can capping machine to seal the product.
Now you know what a capping machine is and its role in the packaging process. Let us now go on with the 4 major factors you must consider if you are going to buy a can capping machine.
Factor #1 Cap Size Range
You can see cap sizes ranging from as small as 5mm in diameter to large ones having 120mm diameters. Using a single type of can capping machine to handle this great size range is impractical. Capping machines used in large sizes require vertical placing devices and cap tighteners to complete the process.
Capping extremely small closures can limit your choices on the kind of capping equipment. This is because the containers will be too small for handling by other systems. However, monoblock ones are an exemption as they physically control bottles using a starwheel.
The cap diameter size will also help you determine the type of suitable sorting device for your capping equipment. Small closures may need small vibratory systems for sorting. Large cap diameters, on the other hand, may require larger elevator sorters.
Factor #2 Cap Geometry
The width to height ratio of your closures constraints not only your choices for cap sorting. It may also determine the kind of capping equipment that you must use for your application.
The standard flap caps, which have cap widths greater than the cap height, are reasonably sorted more simply. They are also easier to apply to the containers and can work on all kinds of capping equipment.
But when your closures are square or have greater widths than heights (tall caps), your options for sorting the caps become limited to vibratory and centrifugal systems. Your cap’s geometries will determine if the capper can strip them out from a lid chute. Or if they should be picked then placed onto your containers vertically.
The aforementioned handling issue will also definitely determine if you should opt for inline capping machine designs. Or if you should be using a chuck capper machine with a vertical operation for your application.
There are even closures that are not caps at all. Spray heads, pumps, and dropper tips are economically restrictive for automatic placing and sorting. These are normally placed by hand and then automatic tighteners are used to tighten them onto containers instead of capping machines.
Factor #3 Closure Design
There are threaded closures that cannot be simply applied onto containers in other ways aside from being picked by a chuck capping head then vertically placed to the containers. The best examples of these closures are detergent spout caps which are tall. These caps have skirts that should fit into the containers’ mouths before the cap threads engage for the tightening process.
You must also sort and vertically place closures like stoppers, corks, plugs and other fitment types into the containers.
You can read more on the types of closures for bottles, jars, and tins to familiarize yourself with the common closure types.
Factor #4 Your Production Requirement
Your production requirements will determine whether the appropriate capping machine for your application is of the manual, semi-automatic, or fully automatic design.
In a complete filling line handling liquid products, the major constraint to the productivity of the packaging process is capping. The manual application and tightening of closures into the containers is too labor-intensive. This can also cause health risks to your workers like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Manual capping speeds can never go beyond 10 capped containers in a minute (CPM). Semi-automatic machines can achieve higher capping speeds up to 20. But they extra labor for the process.
Fully automatic machines that can sort, place, then tighten the caps can reach up to 200 CPM. But this depends on the style of the caps if they can be used in continuous motion machines. Rotary chuck systems with multi heads are recommended for closures requiring intermittent motion equipment for higher capping rates.
Selecting a can capping machine for your application is not that hard. You just have to be familiar with the type of closures you will be handling and your required production capacity. Different capping machines handle specific closure types. So be sure that you know your product specifications well.
After reading this article and you are still not sure which capping machine is appropriate for your application, try reaching out to Levapack. Levapack is a professional manufacturer of packaging solutions. They also offer consultation services to better tailor your machines to your exact needs. You can go to https://www.levapack.com for more information.