Capping machines are used to secure caps onto bottles and drums. There are three basic types of equipment: manual, semi-automatic, and automatic. Manual capping machines aid in the setting or holding of products. Operators are responsible for most controls and activities. Semi-automatic capping machines allow a single operator to perform routine activities quickly and accurately. These cappers help with both placement and packaging. Automatic capping machines perform activities without operator intervention. In fully-automatic applications, operator involvement is limited to the replenishment of packaging components.
Rate and cap type are important specifications to consider when selecting capping machines. The rate is the number of pieces per minute that the capper produces. Cap types include child-resistant closures, cork caps, and crimp flutes. Child-resistant caps or closures have a mechanism that makes it difficult for a child to open. Pharmaceutical container caps are an example. Cork caps use the lightweight elastic outer bar of the cork oak, especially for bottle closures. Capping machines press crimp flutes into the flaring skirt of a shallow metal disk. In turn, this disk holds an inner disk made of a resilient lining material to form the actual seal.
Common cap types include press-on closures, screw caps, tamper-proof seals, and tear-off caps. Press-on closures are held in place through the use of beads or undercuts instead of threads. They are sometimes called snap-fit closures. Screw caps are secured to the container with a threaded connection. Tamper-proof closures change in appearance after they are removed. An example is a tear-off band from a cap which either falls off or tears so that the break is easily seen. Tear-off caps or seals are designed to be torn off. Capping machines designed for specialized or proprietary closing methods are also available.
Capping machines differ in terms of applications and features. Some cappers are designed for industrial or general packaging operations. Others are designed for agricultural, chemical, cosmetic, or food and beverage processing applications. Capping machines for household products, medical and military-related products, paints and coatings, and pharmaceutical products are also available. In terms of features, cappers that are aseptic or sanitary are easy to clean and are designed to inhibit the growth or presence of pathogenic microorganisms. Capping equipment may be portable, made of stainless steel, designed for use in hazardous locations, or equipped with a feeder.