A cap is a cap. Or is it?

Flat caps, tethered caps, sports caps and complex cap systems

Otto Appel, PETnology, Germany

Any engineer will tell you that caps can be a highly complex affair. If you take a closer look at a sports cap or the sealing top of a medicine bottle, for example, and start to take it apart, you’ll quickly see what intricate components it contains. If you then imagine the same process in reverse — assembling the cap, and automating assembly for series production — it should become clear what kinds of challenges are involved in manufacturing these unassuming items. While consumers value convenience, engineers are excited by complexity and feasibility.