TES FAQs: Why Aren’t My Capsules Separating? – Part 1

Banner with text TES FAQs

 

Automatic encapsulators are wonderful machines that can produce amazing results, but sometimes the initial learning curve of operation and maintenance can be daunting. We at TES want you to be able to keep your machines up and running at optimal efficiency all the time. In line with that, we want to provide you with answers to the most common questions we get. This post and it’s follow up will cover “Why aren’t my capsules separating?” This can be caused by a number of reasons. All are very straightforward, but it’s good to have a checklist to make sure you’re not missing anything. Note: This is the first half of the list, the second section is located here.

 Vacuum Pressure

The first reason for this we often see is simply vacuum pressure. If you see the capsules line up well in the magazine and segments and they drop fine, but don’t separate, your pressure may be too low. (Alternatively if it’s too high, you’ll see the tops of the capsules ‘bounce’ out of the upper segment, which is another issue) The vacuum systems we send with our machines have choke off and breather valves to adjust how much air is moving through your vacuum lines and how much pressure that air has. Adjust those until you’re seeing the bottom halves of the capsules get pulled away from the tops. 

Breather and Choke off valve for vacuum line and separating capsules

Segment Alignment / Cleaning

The second thing we see frequently is that the segments aren’t aligned correctly or are dirty. Sometimes people go on autopilot for various alignments and miss something. Make sure your segments are aligned, leveled properly, the gap in-between the top and the bottom segments is correct, and that they are sufficiently clean.

The segment alignment pins aren’t the only adjustment. If the top and bottom segments aren’t parallel, you will have problems. You should have a leveling block or a set of parallels in your toolbox to correct this. (Note some newer machines won’t have this adjustment, as the segment carriers are fixed, one less thing for you to check!) Lastly, the gap between the top and bottom should be close to .020”. Check this at any station where they are pressed together, like the orientation, closing, ejection, etc. Lastly, use a segment cleaning brush to clean out dust, bits of capsules, etc, from the segment bores. Make sure if you are setting a machine up after a tear down that these were cleaned well. Sometimes they get rinsed out, and a chunk of gelatin gets stuck to a segment wall. 

Capsule Segments

Check out the follow up TES FAQs post here that goes into more detail about why your capsules might not be separating. It covers the magazine alignment, vacuum shoes, and lastly when to consider trying new capsules.

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One Comment

  • […] Automatic encapsulators are wonderful machines that can produce amazing results, but sometimes the initial learning curve of operation and maintenance can be daunting. We at TES want you to be able to keep your machines up and running at optimal efficiency all the time. In line with that, we want to provide you with answers to the most common questions we get. The first of these is “Why aren’t my capsules separating?” This can be caused by a number of reasons. All are very straightforward, but it’s good to have a checklist to make sure you’re not missing anything. Note: This is the second half of the list, the first section is located here. […]

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