When it comes to packaging, the cap or closure is usually the first thing a consumer touches, and how it performs will have a huge impact on user experience and satisfaction. Caps and closures are designed to make sure that your product stays fresh and doesn’t leak and so, for businesses, investing in quality packaging is essential. After all, if a product has a loose lid, chances are your customers will only shop elsewhere next time, and so consistent capping is crucial. But, before you choose the right capping machine for your business, we share everything you need to know.
What is a capping machine and what is it used for?
Capping machines are essential to a range of different industries where a proper seal is needed, and are used to attach or fix lids, caps or closures onto bottles or containers. With a wide range of both cap types and machines available, capping machines can be designed for a range of purposes and industries such as general packing operations, industrial purposes, food and beverage processing, agricultural, chemical or cosmetic applications.
The types of products a capping machine can be used for is hugely varied – from pharmaceutical supplies and medicines to household products, paint and beauty products. Essentially, if you have a product that needs a proper seal, a capping machine can help.
What are the different types of capping machine?
The number of pieces per minute that the capper can produce is the rate and this, along with the type of cap, are both important things to consider when selecting the right machine for you. But first, you need to figure out whether you need an automatic, semi-automatic or manual machine. The automation level you need will depend entirely on the amount of labour you have, the production demand and what you are capping.
- Automatic capping machines: a versatile and reliable addition to any production line, automatic capping machines can easily handle changes in products, sizing or production without the need for complicated adjustment. Easy to operate with minimal manual input, automatic machines are usually operated with a press of a button and are simple to integrate into existing packaging lines.
- Semi-automatic capping machines: semi-automatic capping machines are very similar to automatic machines, except for the fact that they require an operator to place the closures on top of the bottles or containers before feeding them into the machine as they don’t have an automatic delivery system.
- Manual capping machines: in a manual machine, an operator has to not only place the cap or closure on the product but also manually fix it, too. While they are smaller and cheaper than their automatic counterparts, they require an operator for most controls and activities, making them better for smaller-scale production lines.
What are the different types of caps or closures for packaging?
The capping machine you choose will depend on the bottle or container along with the type of cap or closure you need, and there is a range of different closures to suit every packaging option. These include:
- Screw caps: such as those found on plastic bottles, these caps use threads to secure the cap to the container
- Cork caps: using a lightweight cork as a closure, cork caps are normally used in bottle closures, either for alcohol, food or beauty products,
- Tamper-proof seals: normally seen on bottled drinks or milk, these closures feature tamper-evident bands to keep customers and products safe
- Child-resistant caps: used in medicines and pharmaceuticals, child-resistant caps feature a mechanism that makes it hard for them to open on their own
- Press on caps: like those found on glass coke bottles, they are secured to the container using beads or undercuts
- Dropper caps: usually used in medicines or beauty products such as skincare serums.
- T-cork caps: used in distilleries and beverage companies for sealing corked bottles
How does a capping machine work?
Capping machinery can look very different depending on the type of cap or closure you’re using, the manufacturer and the level of automation – ranging from simple handheld equipment to fully automated machinery. But, in general, the way capping machines work is relatively straight forward:
- The caps are placed, either automatically or manually, on top of a bottle, jar or container.
- The machine or operator then tightens and secures the caps.
- The sealed container is then transferred on for the next part of the packaging process.
It is worth noting that using a capping machine will change depending on manufacturers instructions, and, while the amount of involvement varies by machine and product, even fully automated capping machines will still need an operator to set the parameters on the touch screen and monitor progress.
How much does a capping machine cost?
The cost of a capping machine depends on several factors – from manufacturer to size, capability to the level of automation. Generally, the simpler the machine, the cheaper the cost, while bespoke machines will, of course, set you back more.
How to clean a capping machine
To make sure that your capping machine stays in excellent condition, it’s a good idea to schedule regular cleaning and maintenance. However, there are some simple things you can do, such as wiping machines down at the end of every shift and cleaning up any spills or mess.
It is important to note, however, that different industries will require different cleaning solutions, ranging from water to bleach, and so it’s up to you to select the best one depending on your products and industry regulations. Similarly, as every machine is different, it’s a good idea to refer to the manual to learn how to clean the machine step by step.
Our top tips for maintaining your capping machine:
- Take preventative measures: In any fast-paced production environment, downtime can be costly, which is why it’s helpful to ensure you have a large stock of spare parts. So if something does go wrong you can rectify it as soon as possible.
- Set up daily tasks: daily tasks such as wiping down equipment after use, checking for signs of wear and tear and testing any components can go a long way towards extending the lifespan of your capping machine.
- Schedule an annual service and maintenance: any production or packaging process will need to schedule in routine maintenance by qualified technical engineers to ensure any potential problems are identified and dealt with before they cause any major issues.
Not sure what you need? Feel free to get in touch with us today, we’re always happy to help you find the best solution for your requirements.