The right equipment investment can minimize strain and fatigue, increase productivity, and reduce number of unsealed caps.
Craft brewers spend countless hours pouring their hearts and souls into the art of craft brewing to create the perfect recipe. That methodical and meticulous process shouldn’t end once the brewing is complete. The actual capping element may seem like a no-brainer, but taking short cuts with low quality or inadequate equipment could have an adverse effect on the end product. Choosing the right capping equipment may feel overwhelming. There are so many options available between a simple hand crimper, semi-automatic, to high end fully automated systems.
6 Tips for Successful Capping
Semi-automatic capping is often a viable choice for small to mid-level production runs. Successful capping is the most important step in preserving your hard work so that others can enjoy it. An improperly crimped cap, unwanted bacteria, or a chipped bottle neck won’t sit well with customers. Following a few simple guidelines can not only help you make a suitable capper selection, but can help to avoid problems along the way.
1. Determine Your Budget and ROI By Selecting the Right Level of Automation
Overspending can start a new business off on the wrong foot. Full automation seems exciting, but inadvertently can be a huge, and often unnecessary, expenditure. Capital equipment can put a major dent in a budget, not to mention maintenance and upkeep costs that cannot be recouped. Semi automation is a solid, middle of the road investment that provides the necessary tools to improve business processes at a fraction of the cost. Benchtop cappers may not be for everyone. If operations exceed the volume the capper can handle a fully automated system may be a more appropriate fit. An experienced capper manufacturer is an excellent resource for brewers to determine what fits their needs best.
2. Consider Staffing and Labor Objectives
For some, a handheld bottle crimper is deemed sufficient. For others, the monotonous action of crimping each bottle by hand ends up being more expensive over time than the upfront cost of purchasing a benchtop cap crimper. Product rejection rates and cost of labor can be greatly reduced or eliminated when handheld operations are replaced with semi-automatic machines.
3. Buy Supplies & Equipment from an Experienced Seller
Don’t be tempted by inexpensive online deals that appear to be comparable to higher quality models. If it seems to be too good to be true, chances are, it is. Choosing to partner with industry experts not only ensures superior products and equipment but also expert advice.
4. Avoid Twist Cap Bottles
Surprisingly, twist cap bottles aren’t designed for a hand held bottle capper. The threads on top of the bottles do not accommodate crimp caps easily. The threads can cause the caps to grip on an angle and sit on an angle, because the threads themselves are not exactly 90 degrees. The bottle necks themselves also tend to be a thinner glass which can result in breakage. Benchtop cappers make it possible to use twist top bottles because the capping head drives straight down on the bottle every time similar to fully automated capping line you’d see in large breweries.
5. Sterilize, Sterilize, Sterilize
Contamination can be one of the biggest problems in the capping and bottling industry. To avoid contamination be certain that everything is sterile. Keeping a clean and tidy workspace is imperative in avoiding contamination and quality control issues. Selecting a capper that is wash-down compatible is always a good idea.
6. If You Must Use a Hand Crimper, Apply Steady Even Pressure
Cost is always an underlying issue. If you have to use a hand crimper due to budget constraints, do so with the utmost discretion. Stay focused on the application of each cap. When your arms are tired, take a break. Capping with multiple people in a rotation can help.