An automatic bottle capping machine can save time and money.
Screw-on bottle lids are simple inventions. Of course, even though they’re not complicated, you might be surprised how recently they were invented. Up until the 1850s, corks were how bottles were sealed. The bottle cap came along, and suddenly sealing drinks was a much easier process. Twisting on the cap, and the contents inside won’t spill out. Simple, right? Yes, it is that simple. Making that happen consistently across thousands of bottles on your packaging line every day for years is the hard part.
For a bottle capping machine to pull its weight, it has one job: twist on bottle tops. If the machine is poorly designed or manufactured, it will be nothing but a hindrance to your operation. If this is where you find yourself, it’s time to shop for a new one. Before you do, though, you should understand why bottle capping machines are such a necessity and what to look for when purchasing.
Why Buy A Machine to Put Caps on Bottles?
Startups and young manufacturers have to limit costs however possible. Saving money upfront by using employees to do most tasks defers large expenditures on machinery. Once the company starts to grow, they quickly realize that human speed and accuracy are holding them back. The short story is that bottle capping machines are better at capping bottles.
Bottle capping machines are:
- Comparatively error-free
- Unable to get sick or take vacations
Using employee labor to put caps on bottles long-term is not profitable. A machine can cap and twist bottle tops more than three times as fast as any human. Every cap gets even, consistent pressure. No loose caps causing spoilage. No overly tight caps that are impossible to remove or even damage the container. Just perfect capping every time.
So, if your current capping machine has been giving you trouble, the solution is not to step backward and have staff do that job. Instead, replace that old, tired capping machine with a new one.
Types of Bottle Capping Machines
When shopping for a new capping machine, you’ll run across different types. Knowing your production output as it currently is and where you’d like it to be will help you determine what to buy.
- Automatic: For a bottle capping machine that does every step on its own, automatic capping machines offer the least amount of human touch needed. Bottles get fed in one end by the previous piece of equipment in the line, then come out the other end capped and ready to be fed into the next machine. These are the most expensive and complicated capping machines and for a good reason.
- Manual: These are the simplest type of capping machine and are usually hand-held. They look a bit like a large dental drill. A trigger-activated spinning rotor tightens the cap on each bottle. Rather than being housed in a piece of equipment, these hand-held devices are operated by an employee as bottles go by on a conveyor belt.
- Semi-Automatic: These are much closer to automatic capping machines, but they cannot place caps on the bottles. As the bottles move through on the conveyor, an employee will drop the caps on top of the bottles for the machine to screw on. Cheaper than automatic machines, faster and more consistent than hand-held capping equipment, semi-automatic is a cost-effective solution to increasing production capacity.
As for how the machine screws the bottle cap in place, well, there are two different methods for this:
- In-line: These capping machines use belts to move the bottles through the machine, and a series of wheels spin the cap tight. These are smaller and less expensive than rotary chuck capping machines.
- Rotary Chuck: Individual rotary heads lower down onto passing bottles and spin on the caps. These are generally much faster than in-line machines, and they can handle oddly sized and shaped caps.
What Bottle Capping Machine Features Matter?
Once you know which type of machine you’d like, your decision-making process still isn’t quite finished. There are other aspects to a new machine that can make or break its usefulness in your production facility.
- Matching Speed: A new bottle capping machine will increase speed, but can it be programmed to match the speeds of the machines around it? Too slow, and you’ve got a bottleneck. Too fast, and you’ve got a back up again, just in a different place.
- Ease of Use: A common sense, easy-to-understand user interface flattens the learning curve. The more employees can use the machine, the less you’ll have to rely on a few irreplaceable experts.
- Bottle and Cap Size Restrictions: Before buying, make sure the bottles and caps you want to use are compatible! Finding out you have to switch bottles or caps because the machine can’t operate with them is a massive waste of resources. Look for a machine that’s flexible and can take many different closures and containers to future-proof your operation.
- Durability: Since you’re bottling viscous/semi-viscous products, having machines made of rust-resistant materials is a must. Look for equipment made of metals like stainless steel and aluminum.
- Serviceability: You should be able to order parts kits from your manufacturer for the most commonly needed replacement parts. You should also be able to have your staff perform minor maintenance and repairs without pulling their hair out. And the manufacturer needs to have easily reached repair technicians.
You may also want to think about add-ons for your capping machine, such as a tamper-evident shrink band tunnel. Consumers are more likely to purchase a product they perceive as safer, and a band around your cap that shows someone has already opened it gives them peace of mind.
Choosing a Reliable Bottle Capping Machine
Pack Leader USA CP-10 semi-automatic bottle capping machines are the perfect solution for manufacturers looking to speed up their output.
Watch this capping machine video to see one in action. Pack Leader USA has the experience and the expertise to transform your packaging line. If your old capping machine is giving you fits, step up to a CP-10. You won’t regret it.