Tools for Zinsser Automated Platforms

Capping and Decapping

Automated capping, decapping, and recapping of vials is the "forgotten application" for many liquid handling solutions. Yet for many users it is a critical process because their labware is supplied with caps, or needs to be capped at the end of the process to ensure sample integrity. Zinsser answers the call with a variety of different capping and crimping solutions. This means you can automate an entire process without having to deal with interruptions due to manual capping steps. Automated capping and decapping also offers the opportunity to eliminate a manual process that is time-consuming, tedious, and potentially capable of causing repetitive motion injuries.

The core offering is the Zinsser-developed decapper/recapper system that is integrated onto the liquid handler deck. A high-torque motor is used for the capping operations. The robot gripper is used to deliver the vial to the capper/decapper, where it is then clamped into place. A separate gripper is used to handle the cap. These tools are available as a single or double vial decapper. Optionally a bar code scanner can be integrated directly at the capper/decapper to handle bar code scanning at the same time as the capping operation, speeding up throughput. It is even possible to work with 2 different sized vials with a single capper/decapper too.



There are many flavors of automated capping and decapping tasks that are used, and the Zinsser system can handle them all.

  • Start out and finish with capped vials: Bring in a capped vial, decap and then hold onto the cap, perform other operations on the vial such as liquid addition or powder addition, and then place the cap back on.
  • Start out with uncapped vials and finish with capped vials: After all other processes are performed, bring the vial to the capper and put a cap on for the final step. With this option, a separate rack for vial caps is used, and the robot gripper brings a cap over after it delivers the vial.
  • Start out with capped vials and finish with uncapped vials. This is common when the source vial is being used for the last time and will be discarded after use. In this case, the capped vial is brought by the robot gripper, the decapper removes the cap, and the cap is discarded to waste container or chute. The uncapped vial can then be processed as necessary.

It is a great advantage to be able to automate capping and decapping, but the throughput is limited because each vial is processed one at a time in the capper tool. For situations where higher throughputs re required, Zinsser has developed 4-channel and 8-channel capper/decapper tools. The ability to perform capping and decapping on a vials at once is a unique automation capability that Zinsser brings to the market.

8-Channel Decapper


In addition to handling threaded caps, Zinsser also offers an automated tool that is used to place and apply crimped vial caps. This is a valuable capability for any sample preparation process where the final product should be placed in a capped sample vial to prevent evaporation. The robot gripper is used to place caps (or septa and caps if desired), and then the motorized crimper is used to perform the crimping operation.




Zinsser automated liquid handling platforms are unique on the market because of the selection of high-performance tools that can be installed on the deck. The ability to select from this list of tools allows the user to configure a system that will fully automate the required application, whether it requires liquid handling, powder handling, weighing, heating, cooling, vortexing, pressurization, vacuum, or almost anything that can be imagined.