Capping machine boosts productivity

Mirius are specialists in global hygiene solutions. Previously known as Coventry Chemicals, they manufacture household cleaning and laundry products and are an established player in the UK retail bleach market. In 2017 they purchased a Dico® rotary capping machine to boost productivity by a considerable margin.

Historically, the company operated a low volume line for producing bleach in duck neck angled containers. Filling and labelling was automated but caps had to be applied manually, placing limitations on speed. “The maximum speed we could achieve with this set up was 70 bottles per minute,” recalls Paul Starkey, Engineering Director at Coventry Chemicals. With demand growing, the business wanted to increase output on this line, and the obvious solution was to invest in the Dico® rotary capper.

The capping machine had to provide torque feedback for every single cap tightened. This would provide full traceability on all products from manufacture to point-of-sale and beyond, providing peace of mind that all caps had been applied to the correct tightening specification.

Paul Starkey, Engineering Director

Meeting a production challenge head-on

Having had positive experiences with Dico® in the past, Coventry Chemicals approached Precision Engineering (Medway) – the manufacturer and designer of Dico® machines.

The angled duck neck on the 750ml container made this quite problematic as the container has to be tipped at an angle for filling, without causing the contents to spill.

In order to run at over 100 caps per minute, with a four head machine, each head has to apply a cap every two seconds. To achieve this speed while ensuring the angle is correct is quite a technical challenge.

Solving problems with bespoke design and build

The bottles are light weight which presents handling challenges. If the bottles aren’t perfectly supported throughout the process, it will result in cross-threading or incorrectly applied caps.

The key to overcoming these obstacles lay in the design of the change parts. Dico® machines are professionally designed and manufactured in-house at their factory in Kent. The design process focussed on the interaction between the part and the container, ensuring, for example, that the machinery isn’t nipping or squeezing the container.

Efficient and effective results

The final installation provided a four-headed rotary screw capper, cap sorter and cap feeder, with Siemens controls. The machine benefitted from a Dico® hysteresis clutch to apply the cap to the container, giving efficient and smooth operational application that is independent of rotational speed.

Built from high quality cladded stainless steel, all contact parts were made from bleach-resistant plastic. The control platform, allowed Dico® trained engineers to access the machine remotely. This functionality is achieved through the customer’s remote network or via 3G+ mobile access.

Provided 8 hours of increased production capacity

Suitable for a wide range of caps, triggers and pumps

Dico Puls-i Capping machine achieves 90% efficiency

90% efficiency rate with the machine running 15 hours per day

Load, orientate, sort, cap and close

The feed and sorting operation must match the capper exactly to avoid desynchronisation. Too few or two many caps in the system will compromise efficiency.

The Dico® Rotary Capping machine supplied to Coventry Chemicals allows caps to be loaded into a bulk hopper and elevated to the cavity sorter. This then orientates and transfers the via the cap chute to the cap plate. Here they are collected by pneumatically actuated chucks for application.

The control and configurability of all these elements is crucial. Every detail from the speed of the sorter to how frequently the elevator tops up the sorter works to ensure a constant throughput of caps. The Dico® next generation control system has been developed using the very latest available Siemens hardware to achieve excellent capping and closing rates.

Modifications for perfect customer-fit

Various customer-focussed modifications were carried out using our remote management system. For example: the implementation of an engineer pass-code designed to prevent operators from over-riding the speed of the capper creating expensive downtime.
This machine was in operation 15 hours per day and averages 90% efficiency. This comfortably exceeded the target speeds stipulated by the client.

Essentially, the increase in speed has given us an additional eight hours of capacity, the Dico capping machine has transformed our output. It has made us very competitive on that product.

Paul Starkey, Engineering Director
Dico Puls-i capping machine, designed and manufactured by Precision Automation

Reasons to consider the DICO® range

Food & beverage • hand sanitiser • cosmetics • chemicals • pharmaceuticals • lubricants • Cleaning products

diagnostics

Remote, fast diagnostics

Our technicians can access the machine remotely to diagnose a problem quickly. Using a unique and secure password we can manually actuate the machine controls and view input / output status.

touchscreen-interface

Touchscreen user interface

The machine operator has access to run, changeover Instruction, machine status and Advanced Profile Filling menu screens.

Stainless-hygiene icon

Designed for maximum hygiene

All parts that may contact the product or caps are stainless steel or a suitable plastic. The frame is clad in stainless steel for easy cleaning and maintenance.