While the terms closure “packing” and “stacking” are sometimes used interchangeably in daily vernacular, they are two distinctly separate operations in the manufacturing industry. Stacking refers to the placement or arrangement of individual items in a pile, while packing is the process of preparing the stacks for container shipment.
Affecting many aspects of a product line, the way in which closures are packed and stacked for shipping have a direct effect on business growth, revenue, and operating costs; as such, these operations continue to be a top priority in the closure industry.
Types of Packing and Stacking Systems
Products can be arranged in several different configurations. However, layer packing and log packing are the two most common types of packing/stacking methods used in closure industries today.
- Layer Packing – The layer packing method is suitable for closure products that cannot be organized in a horizontal or vertical nested stack. This packing process involves arranging items in a single, flat layer before transfer to a box, carton, or pallet for subsequent shipping. The layer packing technique results in the creation of symmetrical grids, which can be stacked vertically in a repeated fashion with the option of placing dividers between each layer.
- Log Packing – Log packing is ideal for applications in which packaging space is at a premium. This method involves collating closure products to be stacked in a horizontal or vertical row or column. The stacked items, also called logs, are then arranged and packed into a box or carton for shipment. Log packing works especially well for symmetrically shaped closures, specifically those with nesting features.
Benefits of Automated Packing and Stacking Systems
One of the most significant benefits of packing and stacking systems is their ability to reduce overall operating costs. Because automated systems pack closures in a way that minimizes air voids, they maximize how many items can fit within a single package, therefore reducing the number of containers required and lowering shipping costs.
Another benefit of automated packing systems is the costs savings associated with the reduction in manual labor. These systems can be programmed to operate with little to no human interaction. Furthermore, depending on the closure size, shape, and packing configuration, the automated systems can achieve packing speeds of up to 1500 caps per minute. By contrast, it would take multiple employees to achieve similar packing efficiencies.
Automated Systems from CapTech Automation
Specially designed to optimize packing operations for various types of closures, CapTech Automation packing systems are proven to increase packing efficiency by as much as 15% per carton. In fact, our automated packers pay for themselves in as little as three years based on the savings from reduced shipping costs alone.
At CapTech Automation, we offer the broadest range of closure packing solutions on the market. Our carefully engineered systems can layer pack, log pack, and bulk feed packaging in cartons, gaylords, or any other shipping container. CapTech’s systems are also fully automated, programmable, and specifically designed to save our customers time and money.
To learn more about our automated closure packing systems, contact our team today.
Cap liners, one of the smallest and often most underappreciated elements of a bottled product, are actually one of the most crucial components in the bottle assembly. These pieces sit between the cap and the bottle, acting as a gasket to ensure proper sealing. Cap liners serve several essential functions including preventing leakage, improving product shelf life, and acting as tamper-proof seals for consumer safety.
Liners are available in a variety of materials. The choice of liner material depends mainly on its function (sealing, tamper-proofing, etc.) and the properties of the bottled product (pH, chemical composition, corrosivity, etc.). Some of the most common materials used in liner production include:
- Foamed polyethylene (F217) – corrosion, odor, and taste resistant, low moisture transmission rate
- Plastisol – vacuum packaging, tamper-proof
- Styrene foam (pressure sensitive PS22) – tamper-proof
- Polyethylene foam liners – resistance to alkalis, acids, alcohols, and oils
- Poly Vinyl – chemical resistant
- Polyseal (LDPE) – torque retentive, crack resistant
- Teflon (PTFE) – exceptionally chemical resistant
Cap Liner Manufacturing Processing
With such an important role in a bottle’s architecture, lined enclosures are usually the most costly element in bottle cap production. Manufacturers are therefore constantly seeking ways to improve the efficiency of the liner manufacturing process.
One of the main contributors to address is liner cost inefficiencies is material waste. Liners typically start as bulk material in the form of a “master roll.” These rolls are slit to narrower widths before a closure manufacturer uses a die to cut the liner material into the required shape and size for the cap or container.
This method of die cutting leaves significant material as waste; Estimates place the amount of waste generated by the liner cutting process at about 20% of the original roll.
How CapTech Automation Increases Material Efficiency
At CapTech Automation, we developed our own state-of-the-art machine to improve the efficiency of liner cutting and minimize waste during the die cutting and assembly process.
Our machine utilizes smaller sheet widths (7”, 11”, or 15”) than conventional die cutters (40”- 42”). This gives us greater control over the material management process and decreases the likelihood of ordering excess liner material.
We develop a custom cutting pattern unique to each application that maximizes the usable area of the liner sheets during the cutting process. Our dies can cut more cap liners per square inch than conventional machines, thus ensuring optimal material usage for any cap size.
Our machines maintain proper alignment of the punch and die set, to create the best cut disc quality and provide for long die life and minimize the need for sharpening.
This results in a more efficient lean manufacturing process that produces more caps per roll with shorter lead times and significantly less waste than comparable lining equipment.
To learn more about our material efficiency measures and how they can help save you time and money, contact our team today.
Compressed air has recently become a valuable power source for a growing number of applications. It is often referred to as the fourth utility after water, electricity, and gas. However, compressed air can be potentially expensive in specific applications. When used inappropriately, wastage is significant, and the medium itself can become inefficient.
Most high-speed cap sorting systems use pressurized air jets to push the caps to either reject them or move them along a conveyor. With most systems driven by compressed air, less than 20% of the input energy actually gets used, while the remaining 80% is wasted.
How CapTech Has Reduced Air and Energy Consumption
The first and most effective step to reducing compressed air energy costs is taking steps to minimize the amount of air consumed. CapTech has taken this principle and integrated it into the design of our high-speed cap sorting and lining systems. We have designed systems into our sorting and lining machines that eliminate the need for continual compressed air applications.
One of the primary cost-saving features of our cap lining system is the patented chaser bin mechanism. The chaser physically pushes the caps into and out of position using a clockwork mechanism. In conventional sorters, the caps are blown out of the lining position using large amounts of pressurized air.
The use of compressed air for this operation is not only wasteful, but it can also blow out the cap’s liner, leading to defective products. However, CapTech’s clockwork design uses patented mechanical fingers to kick the caps out of the lining position to be sent to the conveyor, removing any risk of the lining being accidentally removed.
Compressed air usage may also be minimized via our Cap Sorter. Instead of inefficient compressed air, this system utilizes twin vacuum conveyors powered by the intake of a high-efficiency centrifugal blower to sort caps. Overall, the blower-powered sorter produces an average of 80% energy cost savings in comparison to pressurized air systems.
Open pipes and pipes with drilled holes are infamous for their lack of efficiency. Tens of thousands of dollars are wasted annually on compressed air delivered via inefficient delivery systems. Customers that use our high-speed cap sorting systems have benefited from a significant positive impact on the bottom line.
For example, air jets can cost close to $9,000 per year for each piece of equipment used. Even the most efficient conventional pressurized delivery system – the comb and fan nozzle – costs just below $3,000 per year, per apparatus. CapTech’s twin vacuum technology increases the delivery efficiency of pressurized air and saves our clients significant sums of money annually, ultimately paying for itself over time.
CapTech’s high-speed cap sorting and lining systems utilize a combination of mechanical energy with twin vacuum conveyors to reduce the overall dependency on compressed air systems. If you would like to learn more about our state-of-the-art cap sorting and lining technology, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our technical team is available to answer any questions you may have.