Blow Molding at NPE: Speed, Quality & Flexibility Take Center Stage
Wheel machines in particular will be on display.
In blow molding, the emphasis at NPE2012 will be on systems that enhance productivity and flexibility for both packaging and industrial applications. Wheel machines will be particularly prominent among the new systems on display.
One illustration is the new Rotary Wheel 8-15 Clamp system from R&B Plastics Machinery. It allows bottle makers to fine-tune clamping motion, faster or slower, to achieve desired productivity and also extend tool life. The clamp has proportional hydraulic controls and X-Y blow-pin assemblies; at the show it will be demonstrated on an eight-station wheel machine with 32-in.-wide clamps.
The clamping system is especially suited for producing calibrated neck finishes, resulting in less secondary trimming. The clamping/blow-pin system is adaptable to multi-cavity molds and is compatible with all R&B wheel machines, including the Rotary 4-series.
In additon, R&B’s new Scrap Control Release System provides precise handling of container neck flash throughout the entire deflashing process. The system, which is designed to work with deflash-trimmer equipment, features one set of neck-flash gripper tooling for many types of containers, which results in significant savings on container-specific tooling. Scrap is held until disposed or recycled, which reduces time operators spend on housekeeping, enhancing productivity. The system is compatible with all brands of blow molding machines and can handle scrap from a variety of trimming operations, including standard deflashing, chipless cutting, dome cutting, and facing/reaming.
MORE ROTARY WHEELS
Wilmington Machinery is introducing another new wheel machine—its first for large containers, such as 3-gal to 25-liter tight-head drums and jerry cans. The machine provides a calibrated neck in four or six cavities at speeds up to 475 containers/hr, or 4 million/yr.
Graham Engineering Corp., which developed its original 12-station Mini Wheel for small and medium production runs of multi-layer containers, is now expanding the line to include 9-, 10-, 15- and 18-station versions. The new models give molders the option of running both larger containers and higher volumes than are possible with the 12-station.
Graham will also display a next-generation G-series high-speed wheel machine. A key feature of the G-series is a flexible design that allows processors to add or subtract clamp stations. That gives processors an added safeguard on their capital investment if the product mix changes, since cavitation or mold sizes are adjustable.
The new XBM Navigator PC-based control system, part of a system-wide upgrade of controls across all of GEC’s machine platforms, incorporates all of the company’s equipment manuals with machine schematics and parts lists. The control system also enables remote technical support and diagnostics via Ethernet connection.
SHUTTLE & INJECTION-BLOW ENTRIES
The dual-station BM-606D is the latest addition to the line of automated shuttle machines from Bekum America Corp. The 22.4-ton machine has a max. mold width of 650 mm, can produce multi-layer bottles, and features in-machine deflashing and a quick mold-change system. Bekum will be demonstrating two-parison, four-cavity production of a 2.5-gal (10L) “F-style” agricultural chemical bottle with a 63-mm Rieke neck finish. The 300-g bottle is designed for lightweighting with structural ribbing for column strength. Anticipated production of the bottle is more than 6 million/year.
FGH Systems will be operating a high-volume production cell utilizing B&W Uniloy Milacron’s new UMS 24LS.D long-stroke extrusion blow molder to make 32-oz HDPE bottles. The double-sided machine has an upgraded 30-ton clamp, B&R PC-based control system, and 6 x 125 mm extrusion head with view stripe furnished by W. Muller USA. A pick-and-place system with vacuum suction pads provides a space-saving footprint.
In injection blow molding, FGH will be displaying a new machine from Ossberger GmbH. The Pressblower DSE 80 provides a number of enhancements of previous designs for molding CV joint boots, steering bellows, sleeves for shock absorbers, and the like. The gripper unit is driven electrically in both the horizontal and vertical directions. New devices provide trimming at both ends simultaneously, leading to possible cycle-time reductions.
PET BOTTLE MACHINES
In PET bottle news, Amsler Equipment will show its new all-electric, L32 reheat stretch-blow machine with electric servo stretch rods (described in last month’s Keeping Up section). The machine is targeted for high-volume production of small- to medium-size custom PET containers. In addition to being more energy efficient than pneumatic stretch rods, servo-driven rods provide precise speed control and excellent repeatability. The machine, which can take one to three cavities, will be producing an oval bottle without the added cost and complexity of a preferential heating oven typically used for such applications.
Mould & Matic from Austria has expanded for the first time into blow molding machinery. The maker of injection and thermoforming molds and thermoforming machines has introduced the Blowliner, an integrated, all-in-one injection stretch-blow machine in a horizontal layout resembling an injection press. It can produce bottles from 5 ml to 10L at rates from 500 to 10,000/hr.
TOOLING AND TESTING
Fueled by an upswing in demand for its extrusion blow molds, R&B’s sister company, Monroe Molds, is currently expanding its manufacturing facility in Monroe, Mich. The company will be highlighting its enhanced services as a result of the expansion. These include an enlarged engineering center to boost the efficiency of prototype work, pre-production testing, and mold design/development, as well as increased capacity to repair damaged or worn molds, a market that continues to show strong growth.
For high-volume PET bottle production, where speed and efficiency are critical, Deutsche Edelstahlwerke GmbH of Germany is offering a new specialty mold steel, Corroplast FM, with a balance of hardness, machinability, and corrosion resistance to optimize productivity. The steel is said to be suited to filigree components and molds with complex shapes and minimal spacing between cavities.
In testing, Agr International Inc. is launching line of container inspection products. Pilot Vision is Agr’s new vision-based inspection system that mounts inside the blow molding machine to detect randomly occurring defects during PET bottle production.
Meanwhile, Amsler’s OptiCheck system features an enhanced level of vision-based quality management for rigid containers. This multi-camera inspection product offers comprehensive detection of defects over the entire bottle, including seal surface, sidewall, base, and label, as well as laboratory-precision finish gauging on the conveyor line.
Amsler is also introducing a high-speed single-flying-head leak tester. It boasts a smaller footprint than competitive models and runs 50% faster than a stationary-head leak tester.
New barrier materials for small fuel tanks, tooling developments for large, flat, and odd-shaped industrial parts, new all-electric machines for large containers, and gravimetric extrusion control for bottles are some of the topics discussed at the recent SPE Blow Molding Div. annual conference in Pittsburgh.
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