A capping head that mimics the flexibility of the human hand so that it can carefully handle various cap shapes in bottling, filling and packaging industries has been developed by British company Cap Coder.
The design of the Tri-Torque capping head is based on the idea that if a cap can be screwed on to a bottle by hand, then it can be done more efficiently by a mechanism with hand-like attributes that does not get tired. The head has three rubber-lined gripping fingers capable of reaching over a variety of cap shapes before latching on to it.
Shapes that can be gripped without damage include oval perfume-bottle-type caps, tamper-proof caps, flip-tops and spray nozzles.
Martin Savage, head of production for DDD, a UK manufacturer of major pharmaceutical brands says there are key advantages to the Tri-Torque.
‘The all-round equilibrium grip minimizes cap distortion, while the rubber linings on the fingers eliminate damage,’ he said.
As caps are normally unscrewed manually, the torque required to tighten caps on to bottles tends to be low. This demands that the capping head has low friction operation for accurate control. In addition, the torque applied by the servomotor is controlled for both torque and speed, so that reactionary mechanical effects can be reduced, if required.
The Tri-Torque is available in its basic form as a motorized rotor with the three-jaw grip mechanism, ready for incorporation into an existing product-handling system. The head, which can be used with either electric or pneumatic drive, can be supplied with an integrated linear transfer feature to engage the cap. It also has a three-position transfer mechanism for picking up the cap before screwing it on to the bottle.
A twin swing-head version comprises two Tri-Torque heads mounted on a centrally pivoted beam – one head picks up a cap, while the other screws a held cap on to a bottle.