Foam blow molding on the show floor was perhaps the most unusual demonstration at the fair. There were also a host of new PET machines, including one that can produce two different bottles at the same time. Other news includes an extrusion blow machine capable of high-speed large part production and new technology to produce large bottles in less than 45 seconds.

Foam is expanding

Foam blow molding attracted attention at K'98 as it had at K'95. Three years ago, HDPE foam/solid sandwiches in the form of pallets and folding boxes were displayed by Krupp Kautex. At K'98, the FMB1-4D machine made by Krupp's Fischer-W. Muller Div. was molding 20-g, 350-cc HDPE shampoo bottles at rates of 2400 bottles/hr. The bottle is said to have the mechanical performance of a 26-g bottle while using 20% less material. Cycle time is 20% shorter.

The machine used a screw design from the new consulting firm Inkutec of Botha, Germany, plus 1.2-1.5% of Hydrocerol HK40B endothermic blowing-agent concentrate from Boehringer Ingelheim (known as B.I. Chemicals here in the U.S.).

Larger foamed parts, such as file boxes, 2-liter detergent bottles, and 10-liter jerry cans, are in the works. A 5-liter foam motor-oil container is being developed for Mobil Oil Co. in Hong Kong. Foamed PP is also being tested.

PET goes fast & flexible

Two relatively new lines of integrated injection stretch-blow machines will be offered in the U.S. by Sipa SpA of Italy. The ECS FX 20 is the largest and newest in Sipa's line of flexible machines, which are designed to permit production of more than one bottle size or shape simultaneously. A single injection unit serves two independent blowing lines, so narrow-neck, wide-neck, or oval bottles can be made on either line. Three models can produce up to 3-liter sizes. Output rates for 0.5-liter bottles range from 12,000 to 20,000/hr.

Sipa's new ECS HS 12 high-speed series comes in four models with up to 48 injection and 24 blowing cavities. They make bottles of up to 3 liters. Half-liters can be made at 6000-12,000/hr.

Two PET bottle machines from Nissei ASB Co. now offer higher output. A 30% bigger platen gives the PF3-1BHL integrated injection stretch-blow model the ability to blow bottles up to 8 liters with a molded-in handle; the previous limit was 5 liters.

Improved cooling boosts output of Nissei's PB170/110-32-8 unit to 9000 bottles/hr from the prior top rate of 8000/hr. This machine produces 250-900 ml bottles using 32 injection and eight blowing cavities.MAGIC

Industrial-size entries

Forty-two seconds was the time needed to produce a 25-liter 1200-g HDPE container on a specially modified BW-40 extrusion blow machine from Uniloy Milacron's B&W operation in Berlin. The Ecovent container is a novel design that prevents splashing and gurgling while pouring. Developed by Dr. Ing. W. Frohn GmbH & Co. KG in Munich, it has a pouring spout paired with a ventilation orifice. Air is vented back through the hollow handle into the jug. The machine that molds it has a bobbing extruder and a spiral die with the firm's first use of radial die programming. A special handling system transfers the parison to an articulated mold on a servo-driven horizontal mold carriage. Dual blow pins create the separate filling and venting channels. Cycle time is trimmed by use of two post-cooling stations.

Uniloy Milacron unveiled its UMA E 75-120-25 machine with a new 25-liter accumulator head designed to handle HDPE of very high molecular weight. The press also has a new concentric three-cylinder clamp that's said to save energy by using less oil to generate 75 tons of force.

Injection-blow cleans up

A new three-station, 15-ton injection-blow molder from Jomar has an integral HEPA filter for clean-room production of small pharmaceutical bottles. It can produce bottles from 5 cc in eight cavities up to 6 oz in one cavity.

A 175-ton, three-station injection-blow machine from Jomar has received the same upgrade package that was applied recently to a 135-tonner (see PT, Sept. '98, p. 17). New features include proportional hydraulics to speed clamp movements and Allen-Bradley PanelView 900 controls.

Long-stroke units unveiled

Automa Machine & Tool Inc., which just changed its name from Automa North America and moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Maple Grove, Minn., introduced its smallest long-stroke model. The dual-sided Plus AT 2DS has a longer stroke (365 mm) and higher clamp force (5 tons). It makes six 8-oz bottles or one 4-liter bottle.

Magic North America extended its long-stroke line with a new unit capable of producing 200-cc bottles eight up. The MG-L15/ND-XL single sided machine has a larger center distance to accommodate larger bottles.

PET reheat machines

Urola scl of Legazpi, Spain (represented by Rodatec S.A. in Mexico) rolled out two rotary reheat stretch-blow units. Its new servo-driven USP-12 (12-cavity) machine produces bottles of up to 3 liters with neck diam. to 50 mm. Maximum output rate is 15,000 bottles/hr. Two independently operated low-energy oven stations reportedly provide 30-40% energy savings. The smaller USP-6 model makes bottles of up to 3 liters. It has six cavities and produces up to 7200 bottles/hr.

Servo accumulator head

Graham Engineering's new GEC 35SP74845 accumulator-head machine is a servo-controlled unit capable of a 35-lb shot.

One machine does it all

A blow/fill/seal unit is being developed by Rao Design and Engineering Management to make bottles for medical or food products. It can produce four 1-liter bottles or 16 of 10-cc.

Make big PC bottles

Meico Srl developed a special screw, accumulator head, and software program for its TA-30 machine to run PC bottles. Represented by Moldpro.