New capping headsets are all about smooth torque

Making sure your bottling production line runs smoothly is key to getting product out and one that can be a concern for production and operation managers if things start to go wrong. One of the critical elements in a bottling line is the capping headsets.

Altra Motion engineers have invested a great deal of time and effort into R&D to ensure they have a product that makes this process more reliable.

Altra’s range of Warner Electric capping headsets has many features that benefit any bottling production line – whether it be with a multi-national, or a niche player in the market. Booyens believes that there are many opportunities for beverage manufacturers to not only save time and money but get their bottlings lines running smoothly with reduced maintenance.

One benefit of the range is its ability to interchange with OEM products, allowing maintenance managers to change the capping headsets effortlessly.

“Maintenance managers have to ask themselves; if there is a replacement headset needed, are they going to find a replacement unit that is going to be fit for purpose, or left with the original unit and its underlying issues?” said Booyens. “Our engineers have designed headsets that can fit into machines that manufacturers already have, which make the installation of the product stress-free.

“Our standard Capping Headsets are directly interchangeable with OEM machines, and has a quick plug and play instal. The Total Production Maintenance units (TPM) have a more slim design and lighter mass, which puts less load on the machine. There will be a once-off reasonable modification to the capping machine when using this design.

“If you look at various soft drink bottles, they are different. Altra Motion manufacture chucks to suite the variations in bottle cap designs. We normally ask for 6 to 12 caps and bottles to aid in the design of each chuck around the cap.”

Another advantage is that the Warner Electric devices are approximately half the OEM’s cost to similar product, said Booyens. Ensuring customers are not only getting a longer-lasting product, but they are also saving money.”

According to Booyens, another issue that maintenance staff might face is the constant ‘torque on’, and easily removable torque. OEM machines have a basic design where they have a singular north and south magnetic pole, and that causes ‘chatter’, or vibration of the machinery. This doesn’t allow for reliable torque of the cap onto the bottle.

“This can send a shock through the system and damage the rest of the machine,” said Booyens. An example is an unbalanced wheel on a car. The smooth torque technology stops any of these things from happening.

“Also, you know sometimes when you buy a drink, and it is easy to unscrew a lid? Then the next day, you have the same brand of drink, and it’s almost impossible to unscrew? Our system allows smooth torque on, and reliable torque off so that the capping is the same for all bottles. In other words, it offers consistency.

“It’s like when you go anywhere in the world and purchase a popular fast food franchise item. It is always going to taste the same. This enables a beverage manufacturer the same torque on every cap throughout the run.”

When it comes to downtime, these capping headsets have been designed to ensure that looking after them is easy for those maintaining the plant and machinery.

“First, we have made sure that the units have excellent sealing so that the bearings don’t get contamination ingresses and the grease doesn’t come out,” said Booyens. “We don’t want sugar or other ingredients going into the unit and ruining the bearing. You also don’t want grease leakage, causing bacteria growth, so we have an upgraded bearing sealing design that also has a cover over the top spring, which prevents ingress of products and stops the grease expelling.”

There is also another string to the bow of these capping headsets. Most similar units from other suppliers have fixed setscrews. When undergoing maintenance, engineers undo the setscrews and adjust the unit’s torque, and then tighten them up again.

“Quite a few of these units have setscrews underneath the housing,” said Booyens. “If you have a big plant that has 16 of these units per head, and they have three or four of these heads on a machine, that is a lot of setscrews to undo at an uncomfortable angle. Our setscrews are placed on the unit’s side, so the torque adjustment process is much more efficient. The Total Productive Maintenance unit (TPM) – has a push-button torque setting, doing away with setscrews, streamlining the process even more.”

Booyens also said that these units have a visible torque scale, ensuring accurate torque limits.

“With our units, there is a visible scale whereby you push a button, set the torque to a certain scale accuracy, push a button, and you are good to go,” he said. “The units are designed to operate for 7,000 continuous hours. So you only have to overhaul a unit once a year.”

Even in the off-chance that some of the lubrication does escape from the housing, the Warner range comes with food-grade lubrication.

“Our grease is a premium product that has been approved by our engineers at the Warner Electric plant for safety and reliably with the bearing loads,” said Booyens. “If there is accidental exposure to the plant, then the lubrication will not harm the product because it is food-grade approved. It is also halal and kosher certified.”

Finally, the construction of the units will withstand harsh washdown environments.

“Our parts are all made out of premium-grade stainless steel, ensuring many years of trouble free performance,” said Booyens.

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