Founded in 1981, C.A.P.S. Inc. has grown from a one-machine startup, to a multi-million dollar business. Its products include various one- and two-part caps that are used in the food, personal care, household products and medical industries. Each year, the company manufactures about 1 billion caps.
To accommodate its rapid growth and the variability of its products, C.A.P.S. Inc. relies heavily on flexible, modular conveyor systems from DynaCon Conveyor Corp. (Muskegon, MI). These conveyors are comprised of interchangeable building-block units that can be readily reconfigured to fit current production needs. As a result, the company doesn't have to worry about its conveyor systems becoming obsolete as market conditions evolve.
"When you're growing fast and producing high volumes, you really need a conveyor system that's easy to work with and offers a great deal of flexibility," says C.A.P.S. Inc. Engineering Manager, Brett Huster. "We saw an important opportunity with the modular conveyor system about 10 years ago. The DynaCon line had just been introduced, and we really liked the interlocking design."
Today, the 125,000-square-foot C.A.P.S. plant includes approximately 60 modular conveyor systems, which run between 1,000 and 1,200 linear feet, depending on changes to configurations. The facility also employs 56 injection molding centers, six assembly machines, 12 closing machines and a number of robots.
According to Huster, before going with the modular approach, the company was continually finding itself in the position where it needed to replace its heavy, fixed-length metal conveyors as production needs changed. This, in turn, resulted in substantial replacement costs, plus maintenance difficulties. However, since switching over to DynaCon, these kinds of problems have all but disappeared.
"When you purchase a modular conveyor, you're actually buying a series of units to build a conveyor," Huster says. "It's up to the customer to decide on how you put them together. We use them in several different configurations, but also change them or move them whenever the need arises. Because you buy it in any number of sections you want, you won't outgrow the DynaCon system because....It grows with you."
The conveyor can also be reconfigured in terms of accessories. For example, depending on the product, C.A.P.S. Inc. engineers can change out the conveyors' sides and belt styles. They can also add or remove cooling fans on a case-by-case basis.
"A lot of our parts are very small and thin-walled. With our old, fixed, metal conveyors some of our products tended to get hung up in the flights or get pinched between the belts," Huster says. "We don't have that problem anymore, because with the modular conveyor, we can have tight tolerances by quickly changing the sides and flights any time we want."
Finally, because of their light weight, the conveyors are easy to move. According to Huster, any one of his operators can handle the conveyors without the risk of injury. The C.A.P.S. Inc. plant has a vinyl floor that is continually being cleaned. But, the conveyors can be easily moved out of the way, without doing any damage to the flooring tiles.
"We are a modular conveyor house now, Huster says. "As we grow, our conveyor system grows, but in an efficient, flexible and organic way. The conveyor bone yard is gone, a thing of the past."
For more on modular conveyors, call 800-640-6850 or visit www.dynamicconveyor.com.