More output, bigger parts, more complex shapes, and more automation are the themes to look for in blow molding equipment at NPE. Developments range from a big step forward in PET bottle outputs to new all-electric machines for HDPE and PVC to ever-larger machines for industrial parts.
PET bottle deluge
In PET stretch-blow molding, mammoth output tops the agenda. Sidel’s SBO-24 reheat unit will run 0.5L water bottles at a 60,000/hr rate—20% above the previous highest rates—making it possible for blow molding to keep pace with the fastest filling machines in soft-drink bottling plants.
SIG Corpoplast has boosted its maximum output by 15% with its new Blowmax 20 Series III. This 20-station machine molds 30,000 half-liters/hr.
Sipa boosted output of its SFR reheat machine by going from a single-sided to dual-sided configuration. The new model SFR 16/32 will run 20-oz soda bottles at 40,000/hr. Aoki, Automa, and Nissei ASB will also show recently upgraded stretch-blow machines, and both Uniloy Milacron and Krones will talk about ones that aren’t at the show.
NPE will also afford a look at several lesser-known nameplates in stretch-blow equipment. Germany’s Spilles Maschinenbau will run 5L PET household and industrial chemical (HIC) bottles with handles—an alternative to 1-gal HDPE bottles. France’s ADS is showcasing a two-cavity, 3200-unit/hr machine tailored for odd-shaped and asymmetric PET bottles. Other suppliers on hand include China’s All-Right Machinery, Mexico’s Beutelspacher, Taiwan’s Chum Power Machinery, Spain’s Luxber, Italy’s Mag-Plastic, and France’s Steca.
High tide of polyolefin bottles
In extrusion blow molding, NPE shows the increasing availability of clean, quiet, energy-saving, and more precise electric machines. New all-electric models will be displayed by Magic, JSW Plastics Machinery, and Blow Moulding SRL.
In rotary shuttle or vertical wheel equipment, Graham Machinery Group will demonstrate an 80% boost in output with its new GEC-4/600 six-parison, 24-cavity machine, which will run 8-oz juice containers at 7200/hr.
Hunkar Laboratories is presenting a novel approach to parison control for vertical wheels. It controls parison drop on the basis of wheel position rather than time. That is said to correct for variations in rpm and provide big reductions in reject rates.
Rao Design International plans to push aseptic blow-fill-seal (ABFS) extrusion blow machines for polyolefin medical and pharmaceutical containers.
In injection-blow molding, Jomar will unveil its first model with a horizontal injection unit. And U.S. molders will get their first look at Korean injection-blow from Dima Inc.
Bigger, more complex parts
In industrial blow molding, the emphasis is on machines that can produce large parts and more complex 3D shapes, along with a trend toward increased automation and integration of finishing steps. For example, Jackson Machinery is introducing a production cell for LDPE sheathing used to anchor seat belts. The dual-head, dual-cavity, accumulator-head unit doubles output of the previous machine and eliminates labor by integrating trim, hole-punch, and inspection steps.
SIG Kautex says the U.S. market is ripe for 3D blow molding—a way of making convoluted parts for automobiles and appliances. SIG will display its SB8 unit making automotive ducting with the suction blow molding technique. New 3D suction blow molding systems are also being highlighted by MBK-Maschinenbau Koetke of Germany.
Davis-Standard is displaying a 30-lb size of its new spiral-diverter accumulator head that reportedly reduces color change time by 70%. The new heads also accommodate larger tooling—up to 26 in. O.D. vs. the previous 18 in. maximum to 26-in. O.D. That gives these heads a fit in the growing market for long, flat panels in car interiors.
Though they won’t be at the show, the Tracker line of accumulator-head machines from Uniloy Milacron has grown with three larger sizes, the biggest having a 325-ton clamp and platens of 74 x 110 in. The firm has also redesigned its accumulator heads to accommodate larger tools for flat panels.