High-speed packaging systems dominated thermoforming news in Dusseldorf. A new shallow-draw, servo-driven system promises to make formed PP deli lids competitive with injection molded LLDPE. Other new machines use electric servo motors to speed forming of PS, PE, and PET packaging.
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The U.S. deli container market has been shifting steadily from injection molded HDPE to thermoformed PP containers. Lids for PP containers, however, are largely injection molded of LLDPE due to lack of suitable equipment for high-speed PP lid forming. OMV-USA, Genoa City, Wis., and Irwin Research & Development, Inc., Yakima, Wash., are looking to fill that gap by jointly launching the FC86 in-line vacuum former with up to 2-in. draw. "Our alliance now offers equipment for both PP deli containers and lids, opening potential for processing the full package at one site with one inventory," says Kent Johansson, OMV-USA's president. PP lids cost 60% less than injection molded LLDPE, and thermoforming reportedly imparts more uniform thickness to lid skirts and container walls, which makes for a tighter fit.
The trim-in-place FC86 has a capacity of 32,000 lids/hr (26-27 cycles/min) with a 20-cavity tool. Forming area is 33 x 26 in. Brushless servo motors increase precision and reduce maintenance. OMV and Irwin also launched a variant for food trays that has 3-in. draw and a somewhat larger forming area.
The new KMV line of form/trim machines with steel-rule dies, introduced by Kiefel Technologies Hampton, N.H., is targeted at PS, polyolefin, and APET containers, trays, and blister packs. Servo drives ensure repeatable motion of the forming and cutting tables and ejector of the stacking unit. Model KMV 50 (vacuum only) and KMV 50 D (pressure forming) have 20 x 14 in. forming area and top speed of 35 cycles/min.
G.N. Plastics Co. of Chester, N.S., brought out its first fully servo-driven E-series pressure former, model GN2222E, with a 22-in.-square forming area and 5-in. draw depth. It is designed for roll-fed OPS, HIPS, PET, and PP. The cut-in-place system has an integral robotic stacker, multi-zone contact heating, and four-point toggle system.
Germany's Adof Illig GmbH showed its new RDM 70K unit for 0.4-liter APET and PP drink cups. Forming area is 27 x 11 in. and output is 35 cycles/min. It has servo drives even on the plug assist. Illig machines are distributed here by Flexpack of Marietta, Ga., and others.
Illig's new RD 53 pressure former runs smaller parts like clamshells of PS, PP, PET, and PVC. Forming area is 20 x 14 in. and output is 40 cycles/min. It has automated hole punching and stacking plus quick-tool-change capability.
A new benchmark in PS container output is claimed for the INF-2000 in-line system from Bellaform Extrusionstechnik of Ingelheim, Germany. It is rated at 150,000 drink cups/hr, said to be 50% higher than current systems. Pressure sensors ensure precise closing control for the 81-cavity cup tool.