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The machine shown in this video is a Fowler/Zalkin rotary capping machine equipped for the application of 53mm, continuous threaded closures. This particular machine is a 6 head capper which is suitable for speeds up to 210 BPM, but rotary machines are available in sizes ranging from 3 to 36 heads, yielding operating speeds from 100 to 1200 BPM. To illustrate the operating principles of this screw capping machine, strings of 20 bottles each will be run through the capper while we focus on several critical elements of the machine.
Caps are oriented by a sorter that is mounted on the top plate of the capper. Oriented caps discharged from the sorter flow by gravity down a chute to a cap transfer starwheel that is located at its end. The chute is equipped with photocells that control the operation of the sorter to ensure that the chute always remains full of oriented caps.
The discharge end of the cap chute is equipped with a cap release finger to control the flow of caps into the transfer starwheel that is located at the end of the chute. When the presence of bottles is detected at the infeed of the capper, the finger will open and allow caps to flow from the chute into the transfer starwheel. The transfer starwheel takes caps which were accumulated back-to-back in the chute and separates them for presentation - on pitch, to the capping heads. The open jaws of the gripping chucks descend onto the caps and close allowing the caps to be picked-out of the starwheel.
Bottles entering the machine are transferred to the turret starwheel where they are placed in the starwheel pockets to precisely align them underneath the capping heads. The rotating head with the cap descends onto the bottle and applies the cap to the desired torque. Application torque is accurately controlled by a magnetic clutch within each capping head. Here you can see the clutch in operation as the upper part of the head rotates continuously but the chucks stop turning once the set application torque is achieved.
This screw-on application of the cap can be better viewed on a single head capper where the bottle remains stationary. Here we can see the rotating head descend onto the bottle and apply the cap to the torque required for proper sealing. The application torque is achieved when the rotating resistance of the cap against the bottle finish overcomes the attractive force of the magnet sets within the clutch. The chuck length slightly collapses during application to ensure adequate compensation for bottle height differences as well as guaranteeing that the top load necessary for proper cap application is achieved. This is especially important when applying caps with tamper evident bands.
This final view of the machine brings all of these actions together to illustrate the operating principles of a chuck-style capper. Bottles entering the machine trigger the release of caps from the chute to the cap transfer starwheel which delivers them to the chucks of the capping heads for pick-up and application to the bottle. After application, the jaws of the chucks are opened releasing the capped bottle. Bottle rotating during cap application is prevented by the belt restraint system holding the bottles in contact with the gripping inserts present in the starwheel pockets. Capped bottles exit the machine via the discharge starwheel and travel down the conveyor to the next packaging operation of the bottling line.
For further information on screw cappers or any of our other available capping technologies, please visit our website at www.fowlerproducts.com.