How paintballs are made

How Paintballs Are Made

Softgels are made on special, very expensive, softgel encapsulating machines. In 1933, Robert Scherer designed and patented the first such machine. Here’s how a softgel encapsulation machine works:

  1. Hot liquid gelatin is formed into two thin but wide gelatin ribbons. Each gelatin ribbon passes over a rotating die. The dies are designed to form a capsule of a particular size and shape, such as a paintball. Softgels can be round like paintballs, oblong, or unusually-shaped.
  2. Each die with its gelatin ribbon presses against the other die as the dies rotate. Each die has half the gelatin shell. As the dies meet, the fill (whatever goes inside the softgel) is injected into the area between the two gelatin sheets. The dies continue to rotate, pressing the two warm gelatin ribbons against each other and forming a filled gelatin capsule. The seam on a paintball shows where the two gelatin sheets met.
  3. Finally, the now-sealed gelatin capsule drops away from the rotating dies. It is not, however, ready to use when it drops form the machine. For example, when it drops down, what will become a paintball is rubbery and larger than it will be when it is ready to shoot. These bouncy, not-quite-ready softgels are gently tumbled, and then dried in trays in a climate-controlled environment. The gelatin and fill shrink as they dry.
  4. At RPS, technicians constantly monitor the encapsulation machines as they run. Technicians will randomly check the encapsulations to see the product meets required specifications. Technicians also check the paintballs when they’re dry. Any that are not up to RPS’s specifications are removed and destroyed. When ready, the paintballs are packaged to move onward toward the end consumers.
  5. Paintballs are made from materials such as Gelatin derived from pork skins and beef bones/hides, Poly-Ethel Glycol (PEG), Glycerin, Sorbitol, water, free fatty acids, titanium dioxide, starches, surfactants, emulsifiers and FD+C colorants. A majority of these components are naturally occurring (although processed) such as Gelatin, water and Soybean. Other materials are derivatives of other natural components such as PEG, and starches. All are non-toxic and safe for use in paintball.