Keg Capper

The concept behind the new Microdat capper is simple. Load the caps at ground level into a large hopper and deliver them to the keg. The new Microdat capper is a simple conveying system and actually uses identical conveyor components to the conveyors moving kegs. The bulk delivery conveyor handles up to 2000 caps per hour and simply breaks these down into small batches i.e. 3 to 20 caps. The small batches are then sorted into single caps and are taken up the second belt conveyor, which delivers the caps to the top of the machine. No lifting steps and platforms are required.

The single caps that are still randomly orientated are now pulsed from the conveyor top onto a chute, which accumulates the caps and provides a buffer to the cap applicator head. Part way down the chute to the applicator head is the cap flipper module. This is the new devise, which orientates the cap. The synergy between this devise and a standard keg conveying system is very similar to that of a Robo turner (selective keg turner). The cap is arrested by a gate and checked for orientation by a special sensor, if the cap is correctly oriented the gate opens and the cap simple falls through the flipper module. If the cap is incorrectly orientated the cap is released from the gate and arrested within the flipper module. it is then flipped over and released down the chute.

Finally when the cap arrives at the applicator head it is arrested in the head and held by pneumatic jaws. These jaws have been specially developed by Microdat and unlike other designs use pneumatics rather than temperamental and unreliable mechanical springs. They also provide a very simple solution to empting the machine of caps at the end of a production run or when the caps are changed at a beer-product change, as the jaws can be fully opened pneumatically. The actual applicator head works in a similar manner to others in that the cap is applied to the kegs neck as the keg moves under the applicator arm. However the well developed cap application system by Microdat uses what appears to be very similar techniques to other capping machines, but improved design, controls and sensor technology enables Microdat to precisely monitor and control the head so that applies the cap precisely and forcefully with out the need for brute force and excessive head wear which is common to other systems with much cruder controls.

An unusual feature of the new Microdat capper is the enclosed applicator head and keg guidance system. In order to accommodate the neck spray sanitisation system and provide extract ventilation of any overspray or sanitizer smell we designed a booth around the cap applicator head. This enabled us to provide an enclosed first chamber for the neck sanitizer with an Atex fume extractor system. The second chamber encloses the applicator head which on all machines is usually left fully unguarded and always provides a danger and trap point on other machines. Access to the head is provided via an interlocked hinged panel which when open freezes the applicator head to provide an accessible but safe system. Further operator protection is provided by the single beam light curtain, which acts as a safe edge between the canopy-booth and the kegs passing under the applicator.