Automatic Capping Machines
Automatic Laboratory Microtube Capping Machines
Microtubes with screw caps are frequently used in the handling and shipping of small volumes of samples and reagents in liquid or powder form. Our semi automatic capping machines address the need to have a reliable, productive and economical process for the sealing of these tubes using bulk caps.
Our Products Features
1. Consistent and Reliable Process
Accurate torque is essential in laboratory capping to ensure sample integrity and biological safety in dispatch. It cannot consistently be achieved manual capping. Our semi automatic capping machines offer consistent, reliable and secure sealing adjusted to recommended torque specifications.
The micro capping machines allow processing of batches of hundreds or thousands of tubes per day quickly. Throughput is about 20-30 caps per minute.
3. Ease of Operation and Occupational Safety
Cap tightening is easy and straightforward with this laboratory equipment. For the MCF-13A automated capper, caps are poured into the cap feeder and automatically fed to the capping head. The tubes are individually placed into a tube holder for automatic capping and microtube sealing. See video. The Microcappers reduce operator fatigue and occupational hazards such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, due to the repetitive manual capping process.
4. Versatile and Portable
These bench-top micro capping machines with footprint of half an A4 paper can easily be deployed at various production locations. They offer tube capping with the flexibility of an appliance in a work cell which might evolve over time. Caps in the feeding path of the machine are very accessible to allow quick emptying of the machine and switching of cap colours/batches.
The Microcappers work with bulk caps and provide therefore a more economical automation solution to using pre-capped tubes with rack tube cappers. The capping station pays for itself in a short time due to the cost savings on the bulk caps. It is also in itself more economical then the typical rack capper/decapper.
The screw capped microtubes now commonly used in laboratories first appeared in the industry about 10 years ago. It evolved from the press-fit microtubes which had the common 13mm diameter. The most important feature of this microtube was the introduction of the secure screw cap which allowed these tubes to be filled with liquid and transported across distances.
The emergence of laboratories offering mass production of oligo synthesis, custom protein-chain synthesis brought about the need to contain the resultant liquid product in secure, compact containers that required transportation from the production laboratories to the research labs, etc who did further work/process on these products.
Rise of Microtube Capping / Sealing
With the proliferation of these microtubes came the need to reliably seal these tubes in a fast and consistent manner. The automation industry responded with various solutions ranging from semi-automated machines to high throughput, fully automated solutions. XQ Instruments saw the need for a flexible, small footprint automated machine, the MCF-13A for customers wanting to cap 500 –5,000 microtubes per day. The capping uses the cheaper bulk purchased separate microtubes and caps vs the more expensive pre-capped microtubes used by most fully automated solutions.
The MCF-13A has an adjustable torque setting to cater for the needs of various customers in their capping needs and can be moved from one bench to another with minimal setup. We work with our customers to assist them in their Operational Qualification (OQ) requirements.
1. Does the capper work with all microtube caps and tubes?
We can adjust the machines to most of the microtube references in the market prior to shipping. For that we need samples of the tubes and caps used. The MCD-13 is particularly versatile and can be user adjusted to vials of 12 mm – 24mm diameter. Besides microtubes its holder can be adapted to a wide range of vials, bottles and jars.
2. How about vial caps?
All cappers can be adjusted to vial caps. For the MCD-13 this can be done by the user, for the MCF-13 and MCF-13A some customization is required on our site.
3. Can I switch cap and tube references later?
The MCF-13/MCF-13A can be reconfigured to a different tube and cap references. For such modifications the equipment needs to be sent back to us. For the MCD-13, adaptations can be largely done by the user
4. Isn’t hand capping OK for smaller batches?
Hand capping is an occupational health hazard since it leads frequently to carpal tunnel syndrome among operators. In addition, it has been shown that even if containers are initially torqued diligently, over time there will be outliers leading to leakage, which means lost samples and often represents a biohazard.
5. What is the difference between the MCD product line and the MCF product line?
The MCD capper does not have the cap feeder. Its focus is process integrity (torque) and occupational health and safety. It also has a de-capping function. The MCF-13A has a higher level of automation with cap feeder and tube lifter, resulting in productivity gains.
6. What is the difference between the MCF-13 and the MCF-13A product line?
The MCF-13 has a manual tube lifter. On the MCF-13A the tube lifter is automated, which reduces the operator’s effort. It is sufficient to place a tube without cap in the lifter, and after less then 2 sec. it will be capped
7. Will the capping torque be sufficient?
We can adjust capping torque to match cap supplier specifications and customer preferences
8. How compact is the machine?
The food print is exceptionally compact – 365mm (L) x 220mm (W)
9. How can I ensure hygiene?
The cap path and reservoir are entirely accessible and can be cleaned with suitable agents such as IPA
10. What maintenance is required?
Visual inspection of specific components, and replacement of these wear and tear items if required.
11. Will the capping torque remain over time?
With proper maintenance (replacement of some wear and tear parts) the capping torque will remain over time.
12. How about repairs and spare parts?
We have a wide range of spare parts available. Repairs are supported on customers’ site with parts and instructions, or will be performed when equipment is sent back to us.
13. What is the warranty like?
There is a warranty of one year covering all components against manufacturing defects.