Food Engineering

Capping at light speed

January 1, 2010
Equipment allows co-packer to run lines faster than rated speed.

More than full-speed ahead is normal capping operation at LiDestri Foods with Crown capping equipment running successfully at “light-speed.” Source: Crown Closures Americas.


LiDestri Foods, Fairport, NY, supports the integrity of a veritable who’s-who of brand names in sauces and salsa. As a co-packer for world famous companies like Barilla, Newman’s Own, Frito-Lay, Nestlé and Heinz, LiDestri must consistently produce products that meet high standards and satisfy consumers. The 35-plus-year-old company produces more than two million jars of sauces and dips per day.

The co-packer maintains the latest equipment for processing, filling and packaging its products. But to satisfy its customers, LiDestri not only needed equipment that was fast, it needed a supplier with a capable technical support staff that could modify its equipment for special processing and packaging needs.

LiDestri chose Crown Series 4SS inline capping machines for its plants in Fresno, CA, Pennsauken, NJ, and Fairport, NY. The machines handle a wide range of twist cap sizes (from 27 to 110 mm), as well as special profiles like deep-skirted twist caps, thread (CT)-style closures and composite closures. The vendor also supplies LiDestri with a variety of metal closures, including twist and CT, as well as its proprietary Ideal Closure. Each of the closures offers LiDestri’s customers specific benefits, ranging from easy-open convenience to a “homemade” look and feel.

“We have a special relationship with Crown that extends beyond what you would expect to have with a vendor,” says John LiDestri, company president. “The nature of our customers’ business is very dynamic in terms of the products they offer and turnaround time. Having a partner like Crown allows us to rapidly change our equipment to respond to our customers’ needs.”

The supplier’s technical experts have also worked closely with LiDestri to maximize throughput. The processor runs around the clock at very high speeds-speeds faster than the official rating for the Crown sealing machines. LiDestri was the first to run the Series 4SS inline capping machines at rates faster than 700 caps a minute, which was accomplished with an investment in both upstream and downstream equipment. LiDestri facilities are also running a 70-mm, plastisol-lined, deep-skirted continuous-thread (PLDS CT) closure line at speeds close to 400 caps per minute.

The Series 4SS is a stainless-steel, straight-line vacuum-sealing machine capable of applying a wide range of closure sizes and styles. The machines incorporate features that make them easy to set-up, operate, maintain and change over, including the ability to operate the machine with the front door open for easier inspection and set up; one-sealing-belt operation (instead of two); and guide rails running through the machine to prevent container jams.

“The Crown machines are very robust-with stainless-steel construction-and require very little maintenance,” says LiDestri. “We need that kind of reliability running at the speeds and volumes that we do. Our business model depends on a line running quickly for a long period of time with exceptional quality.

“Turning a line on and off creates a lot of inefficiencies,” LiDestri adds. “The reliability of our equipment helps us keep lines running in 24-hour shifts, reducing cleanup issues and the likelihood of a mistake.” v

For more information:

Sheila M. Heath, 740-681-6577, sheila.heath@crowncork.com