Thermoforming equipment displays at K 2001 focus on innovations in trim-in-place packaging, especially for PP food containers. There is also action in improving productivity of heavy-gauge industrial forming machinery.
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Kiefel GmbH in Germany (U.S. subsidiary is Kiefel Technologies of Hampton, N.H.) will introduce a high-speed pressure-forming system that offers twice the output of the company’s smaller models. The roll-fed KMD 100B, designed for the U.S. market, can run at at 40 cycles/min. It has a forming area of 39 x 39 in., fast-acting quartz heaters, and precise servo drives. Like smaller versions, it permits tool changes in under 1 hr.
Gabler Maschinenbau of Germany and Beaverton, Mich., will exhibit its new Varius vertical thermoformer, a unit optimized to run dairy containers and other PP packaging. As its name implies, the Varius thermoformer has unusual flexibility to use diverse trimming configurations in a single machine. With handling-equipment modifications, the Varius can operate with trim-in-place, cut-in-place, or separate post-forming trim tools.
Gabler will exhibit jointly with Lyle Industries of Beaverton to underscore the year-old strategic partnership between the companies. Lyle plans to show its Model 140 P2 horizontal trim press, which can run in tandem with Gabler equipment. The unit has new computer-sequenced guidance and feed systems for precision trimming.
GN Plastics of Chester, Nova Scotia, best known for its contact-heat equipment, is set to release its initial radiant-heat model. The GN1406TM is a roll-fed, tilt-mold, cut-in-place former that runs at 30 to 45 cycles/min. It is aimed at cups, lids, and small containers—especially more complex shapes—made from PS, PET, or PVC. Forming area is 320 x 150 mm, while draw depth is 120 mm. Also new is the GN1407TM, a variation aimed specifically at PP. It has 350 x 180 mm forming area. GN’s systems use a simple stacker that is said to ensure accurate nesting of diverse products.
OMV/Irwin Research of Yakima, Wash. (a joint venture of the Italian and U.S. firms), plans to demonstrate its in-line, high-speed Model 28NT system running clear PP drink cups. The OMV/Irwin equipment uses a separate downstream trim press, allowing use of simple, economical tooling.
Brown Machine of Beaverton, Mich, has fine-tuned its R-244-ETS all-electric, rotary, twin-sheet machine for smaller hollow parts such as handling trays. Maximum mold size is 1250 x 1000 mm, and depth of draw is 610 mm. Servo-controlled variable-frequency motors are said to provide infinite ramping of platen speeds, resulting in greater precision.
The latest from Cannon-Shelley of the U.K. and Cranberry Township, Pa., is the single-station Powerform PF1512DC for heavy-gauge industrial parts. It features new PTC T2000 digital controls and handles sheet up to about 5 x 3 ft. Full mold changes reportedly take less than 10 min. Quartz-halogen heaters are said to cut heating time by 50%, most notably in dark-colored parts.
Early this year, the Cannon Group formed a joint venture with Comi of Milan, Italy, a builder of linear thermoformers (used primarily for refrigerator liners) and laser-trimming systems. The Comi Cannon Technology (CCT) venture plans to display mobile laser-trimming equipment for large technical parts. CCT says laser trimming offers high speed and accuracy, low noise, minimal contamination in medical applications. It also eliminates edge finishing.
SenCorp Systems of Hyannis, Mass., recently agreed with Rigo Group srl of Italy to make and sell the Rigo line of in-line, sheet-fed, deep-draw formers. They are tailored for refrigerator liners and other large appliance and automotive parts. For U.S. users, SenCorp plans to upgrade cooling and control systems and to convert the design to U.S. measurements.
Wilmington Machinery, Wilmington, N.C., will unveil a continuous rotary unit aimed at toys and technical parts for automotive, material-handling, and other markets.