Improved designs of high- and low-pressure metering systems will be displayed at NPE 2000. Look also for new CO2 blending systems and an upgraded pentane mixing system.

Reflecting the increased vigor in thermoforming markets of the past few years, this show is notable for the large amount of new hardware on display. Ten new or upgraded thin-gauge machines will be announced, among them a vacuum forming press designed for composite materials. On the cut-sheet side, look for a brand-new rotary unit and five new single-station models. Continuing the trend toward electric servo-driven machines, five firms will be announcing new models.

And that doesn’t include at least six new trimming developments that improve accuracy or speed, plus new adjustable clamp frames and mold bases, a universal pressure box, new lip roller for cups, and new materials for plug assists.

Thin-gauge developments

International Thermoforming Systems (ITS), Yakima, Wash., will usher in a new way to thermoform polypropylene into rim-rolled cups at higher rates. A patent-pending process called “2Kool” allows use of a downstream trim press instead of a trim-in-place tool, which in turn allows for higher mold cavitation. ITS will demonstrate the process in making 3-in.-deep PP cups in a 64-cavity tool (the process can handle up to 90 cavities). The machine will run a special nucleated/clarified homopolymer from Montell. ITS also plans to unveil new developments in trim-in-place forming of PP, rotary machines, and forming of deep draws and foam sheet.

Adolf Illig Maschinenbau of Heilbronn, Germany, will roll out an 18-cavity PP cup-forming system that will run at 40 cycles/min. The turnkey line includes a sheet preheater, model RDM 54K former, stacking device, and granulator.

Illig also will exhibit for the first time an electric-driven machine based on the RDM 54K that reportedly demonstrates high reliability due to its cam-action drive. It also boasts higher output capacity, computer-aided setting of the servo-driven forming/punching tool, servo driven plug-assist, low start-up waste, and quick tool changes.

Lyle Industries Inc., Beaverton, Mich., will introduce upgraded components to its model 140FM electric servo-driven continuous former. It features pneumatic servo valves, electric servo-driven plugs, vertical preheat oven, and automated sheet-width adjustment.

Gabler Maschinenbau of Germany, which recently announced a partnership with Lyle, will introduce its D600 continuous thermoformer designed for wide-bed, high-speed, trim-in-place PP and CPET applications. The unit will produce PP lids with a 2-row combined forming and punching tool and an automatic stacker/counter. It has a closing force of 15 tons, forming area of 600 x 326 mm, and draw depth of 40 mm.

The new D140S/E76 in-line extrusion/forming system from OMV-USA Inc., Genoa City, Wis., will be making 32-oz PP cups with 7-in. draw depth at 24-26 cycles/min. The line features a newly developed 140-mm-diam. extruder and screw design, new compact calender, and new oven designed to prevent sheet sag. The E76 former has a “smart drive” feature that increases cycle speed without decreasing forming time. Also new is a computer for complete system monitoring.

The TNT Div. of Meico s.r.l. of Monza, Italy, will show off its new Intec 1050/3 in-line cup former with 1010 x 800 mm forming area and in-line sheet coextrusion using three extruders. The trim press can handle formed parts up to 152 mm deep and runs at 20-120 cycles/min.

The new SF series servo-driven pressure former, designed primarily for forming blister packs or trays, will be exhibited by Zed Industries Inc., Vandalia, Ohio. Common sizes from 25 x 25 in. to 36 x 48 in. are offered, as are custom designs. Individual servo drives move each platen (up to 50-in. travel), index the sheet, and adjust the trim-die position.

Among cut-in-place machines at the show will be the redesigned KMD75 BFSS pressure former from Kiefel Technologies Inc., Hampton, N.H. It’s aimed at thin-gauge PP packaging. Both it and a second model (KMD52 BFS) have a redesigned servo-drive system for material indexing, forming, trimming, and upstacking, and—for the first time—plug assist. The SS unit differs in having a separate stacking station. These machines also achieve computer-assisted mold changes in 20-40 min, Kiefel says.

Sencorp Systems Inc., Hyannis, Mass., will roll out its new and compact HP 2000 cut-in-place former, designed with a new oven for better heating control. The unit has a 24 x 14 in. forming area, press stroke of 3.5 in., and 48-ton clamp. Production speeds can be up to 25 cycles/min. Options include infrared sheet-temperature sensors, a tool hoist to facilitate quick changes, and special systems for A-B stacking.

Forming foam sheet

Commodore Machine Co., Bloomfield, N.Y., has updated its 730 series of continuous thermoforming systems for PS foam with servo-electric chain indexing. They now also have left/right and up/down adjustment of the trim press and a built-in alignment system for matched molds. The complete system includes a sheet unwind and under-the-press grinder. It comes in three sizes with forming areas from 27 x 32 in. to 27 x 12 in., though a brand-new 27 x 40 in. size is being developed.

Myung-Il Machinery Co. of Taegu, South Korea, a maker of sheet and foam extrusion lines, will introduce an automatic vacuum former designed for foam packaging such as cups, trays, and disposable containers.

Cut-sheet machines

A new “entry-level” three-station rotary former for general-purpose use will be introduced by Brown Machine LLC, Beaverton, Mich. Model R-223-E accommodates a 48 x 72 in. mold and forms parts up to 0.5-in. thick. The servo-driven platens can each provide up to 50 in. of travel.

The new Millennium series single-station pressure former will debut from Maac Machinery Corp., Itasca, Ill. It features servo ball valves for accuracy and repeatability, programmable software, and special ceramic ovens. Maac says the unit is one of the fastest and most compact in the industry.

Maac will also introduce the ASP (automatic, single-station, pneumatic) former with catalytic gas heaters. It will be running at the booth of East Ohio Gas (#8040). It has a 30 x 36 in. forming area. Maac will also unveil a line of heavy-duty router/trimmers.

Monark Equipment Technologies Co., Auburn, Mich., will show its new SDF 44 GP single-station vacuum former with gas catalytic heaters, designed for products such as truck-bed liners. Forming area is 4 x 4 ft.

Modern Machinery Inc. of Beaverton, Mich., will roll out a series of rotary formers that monitor production and quality for SPC.

A new maker of cut-sheet machines, Advanced Ventures In Technology, Gladwin, Mich., is showing a 3 x 5 ft, shuttle-type pressure former.

Forming composite materials is possible with the new VacuTherm press from Elkom North America, a German manufacturer that has a U.S. office in Roselle, N.J. The custom-designed press can form sheet such as filled or reinforced acrylic up to 1 in. thick and sizes up to 4 x 12 ft. The machine also features a built-in cooling plate that permits either “shock” cooling or gradual cooling of formed parts. Applications can include shower stalls, wall panels, and conference chairs. The firm will also show its new MikuTherm contact-preheating stations, which can be used with the VacuTherm press. Elkom will also show heated and non-heated hydraulic presses for thermoforming.

Forming without molds

It’s not exactly thermoforming, but a new “tool-less” forming process could compete with thermoforming of housings and enclosures in volumes of 50 to 10,000 parts. “TTK-Box” technology is offered by Toolless Plastic Technologies LLC of Mukilteo, Wash. It uses special computer-controlled milling and bending machines to eliminate all tooling costs and reduce the time to get a part into production by up to 60%.

Accent on auxiliaries

Some of the new ancillaries and components at the show will include the following:

An automatically adjustable sheet-clamping system from Advanced Ventures in Technology, Gladwyn, Mich.

T-345-V vertical trim-press from Brown Machine that runs at up to 160 strokes/min and loads from the side for easier tool changes. Brown will also introduce the LR-2000 lip roller that handles up to 3500 parts/min.

Formplast 2000 thermoplastic for plug assists from Edward Segen & Co. Inc. Milford, Conn.

Illig’s RDM 54K is part of a new turnkey system producing PP cups in 18 cavities at 40 cycles/min.

Lyle Industries’140FM continuous former features upgraded components such as servo-driven plug assist, vertical preheat oven, and automated sheet-width adjustment.

Toolless Plastic Technologies LLC will show its TTK Box “tool-less” forming process, which uses computer-controlled milling and bending machines instead of molds to produce housings and enclosures.