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Here's Another Process for Foam Blow Molding

By: Matthew H. Naitove 3. June 2015

 

If anyone has a doubt that foam blow molding is on the verge of a renaissance, take a look at what W. Müller USA is doing. At NPE2015, the Agawam, Mass., maker of blow molding extrusion heads, spoke quietly with potential customers about a foam blow molding process that it has been working on behind the scenes since 2013. Company president Wolfgang Meyer gave Plastics Technology details on the process, which uses a special head design for three-layer coextrusion with solid inner and outer skins and a foamed center. What’s different about this process is that it uses nitrogen gas injection into the head, not into the extruder like other processes. It uses no chemical blowing agent—only talc as a nucleating agent, so it is acceptable for food packaging, Meyer says. For more details, see this month’s Starting Up section.

 

Other firms exploring foam blow molding include MuCell Extrusion, Trexel, and Plastic Technologies Inc.

Last Chance to Benchmark Your Hourly Rates

By: Matthew H. Naitove 8. April 2015

It has been a busy season for everyone, what with the humming economy, the giant NPE show, and occasional weather problems clogging up transportation. Maybe that’s what kept you from contributing your data to latest Custom Injection Molders Hourly Rates Survey.

 

We originally planned to publish the results of the December 2014 survey in April. But responses have been too few to give reliable results. If we can get enough data in the next two weeks, we could still publish December 2014 results in June.

 

If not, we’ll cancel that survey and try again at the end of June for data on the first half of 2015.

 

We have tried—and mostly succeeded—in providing you with Hourly Rates Survey updates twice a year. But if once a year is sufficient for you, we’ll stick to just a midyear survey.

 

But no survey will succeed without your responses. It’s totally anonymous and takes just 5 minutes, so what’s to lose?

 

There’s a lot to gain—the only objective source of average custom machine-hour rates for presses of specific tonnage ranges in different regions of the country. You can see the latest results (June 2014) here.

 

If you’re a custom molder, please take 5 minutes to fill out our online questionnaire form here. (If you have any difficulty with the link, cut and paste this URL into your browser address bar: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PTRATE42014?c=28000 

 

Thanks, and please contribute to this unique survey to see data on your industry that’s not available anywhere else.

At NPE: Blow Mold 10,000-Liter Tanks

By: Matthew H. Naitove 27. March 2015

Rikutec, the German builder of large extrusion blow machines, is building what it calls “the world’s largest blow molder” for making above-ground water tanks of 7000 L and weighing 550 lb in the Middle East. The GBM S10.000 LD machine (photo) has a clamp force of 600 metric tons, 400 L accumulator head, and four extruders of 150 mm diam., providing a total throughput capacity of 5720 lb/hr. The max. shot capacity of the head is 726 lb. It can produce hollow bodies of up to 10,000 L. The water tanks will have a UV-stabilized outer layer, food-grade inner layer, and two middle layers pigmented black to prevent light transmission and algae growth. The middle layers will also contain calcium carbonate for stiffness at summer temperatures up to 131 F. These tanks will be 10-12 mm thick and molded at about eight tanks/hr using a single operator. Rikutec compares this to rotomolding tanks 25-30 mm thick with a foamed core and requiring four people to produce one tank/hr.

 

Rikutec (U.S. office in Whitinsville, Mass.) is exhibiting together with Kautex Machines, North Branch, N.J. (W1551) The two companies have cooperated since 2010. Their product lines are complementary, since Kautex produces machines for up to about 1000 L, which is where the Rikutec line starts.

At NPE: New Blow Molders from Italy

By: Matthew H. Naitove 27. March 2015

S.T. Soffiaggio Technica s.r.l. of Italy is showing a recently developed tiebarless suction-blow molder (booth S12139). The model ASPI 150.2 (photo) has a 22-ton clamp, 70-mm extruder, and 2L accumulator head. Designed for molding very complex 3D shapes while minimizing scrap, the unit featured a new 4WDS radial thickness control with four actuators. This ST-patented development has 500 control points.

 

In booth W1950, North American processors can get their first look at the all-electric PB5E-DL double-station shuttle machine from Plastiblow Srl of Italy (represented by Hamilton Plastic Systems, Mississauga, Ont.). The machine has a 12-ton clamp and 480-mm carriage stroke, as well as a W. Mueller extrusion head and a module that recovers braking energy from the carriage movements and converts it back into electrical power.

 

Other features include a servo-driven parison thickness controller and patented regulation device for individual blow-pin calibration stroke. Fine adjust ment of each blow-pin calibration stroke can be done safely from the operator panel while the machine is in running mode. The machine also features quick changeover, with a remote control device to actuate the blow-pin up/down movement at creep speed while the front gate is open. This allows the operator to be safely close to the tools during centering of the blow pins relative to the striker plates.

 

A servo-driven two-axis robot picks up trimmed bottles from the deflashing station and places them on a bottle merge conveyor belt, which makes for a compact footprint. Plastiblow is represented here by Hamilton Plastic Systems Ltd., Mississauga, Ont.

At NPE: Versatile Wheel & Reciprocating Blow Molders

By: Matthew H. Naitove 26. March 2015

Wilmington Machinery, Wilmington, N.C., is showing off several new and improved models of extrusion blow molding machines (booth W1255).

 

The Model VSR rotary wheel provides calibrated neck finish (up to 90 mm) for medium to large containers with in-machine deflashing. It’s said to offer unusual flexibility: six to eight cavities, clamp force of 5 or 10 tons, and container sizes from 2 to 10 L. It also reportedly handles a wide variety of mold sizes with minimum setup or changeover time. It also offers mono- or multilayer extrusion and robotic takeout. The machine is said to be priced economically for jobs requiring 10-20 million bottles/yr.

 

Wilmington’s SB (Small Bottle) series of wheel machines has been expanded to meet new new dual-parison, three-layer applications. The first machine of this type is producing lightweight 4-oz containers on a 6-sec cycle. Some SB models have also been enhanced to accommodate Wilmington’s Radial Positioning feature that allows running bottles of different sizes.

 

The company’s Series III wheel series has been upgraded by greatly simplifying clamp and wheel setup for faster setup time and reduced wear.

 

In addition, Wilmington is extending its line with the introduction of an in-line, multi-clamp reciprocating blow molder for medium-volume production of industrial and agricultural packaging as well as automotive, toys, and other parts.




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