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NPE Newsfinder: Blow Molding


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Examples of the growing trend toward all-electric blow molding machines for packaging will either be physically present or shown in videos and brochures at NPE. Superior accuracy, repeatability, speed, quietness, cleanliness, and energy efficiency are all claimed for the five new all-electric models being presented by four firms at the show.

Another trend on view in Chicago is the huge proliferation of PET stretch-blow machines and vendors. The newest reheat models promise wider wide-mouth capability, faster production rates, and/or shorter changeover times. Some boast new features such as preferential heating or heat-setting capability. Also look for new integrated or single-stage PET machines that can make bottles from 100% regrind or can make quick changes from round to flat bottle styles.

In extrusion blow molding, expect to see two entries in rotary continuous machinery, including the first such unit from a manufacturer of PET machines. Two brand-new dual-station machines and another with updated features are being unveiled.

Other introductions include two new 3D blow molding technologies, a new PET barrier coating technology, three new developments in PET preform tooling, a new self-teaching leak tester, new bottle profile gauge, and new bottle packaging systems.


Going all-electric

The Fischer-W. Muller div. of Krupp Plastics & Rubber Machinery (USA) Inc., North Branch, N.J., has extended its all-electric offerings beyond the FMB1-D double-station shuttle machine to its long-stroke FMB line. The new all-electric FMB4-100 model features a four-parison extrusion head with a 100-mm center distance. An electric servomotor and ball screw for each platen govern mold movements, while a separate pair of servomotors accomplishes clamping. Another servomotor and newly developed “clamping-knuckle” device (akin to a toggle) is used to build 18.5 tons of clamp force. The FMB 6-, 8-, and 12-parison, long-stroke models (22, 33, and 44 tons, respectively) will also go all-electric, says Jack McGarry, national sales manager. A new controller for the new machines features neck-calibration and blow-pin technology developed by Tahara Machinery Ltd. in Japan.

Other firms providing literature and videos on all-electric extrusion blow machines include JSW Plastics Machinery, Elk Grove Village, Ill., and Magic North America, Markham, Ont. On the PET stretch-blow side, Uniloy Milacron and American Plastics Technologies plan to show new all-electric models (see below).


Roll-out the reheat units

Uniloy Milacron, Manchester, Mich., will unveil its first entry in two-stage PET machines, a new all-electric unit named VersaPet. The reheat machine has a 75-ton clamp, single-lane preform heating, and separate servomotor drives for the stretch-blow pin and the clamp. A four-cavity unit will produce half-gallon bottles at the show at 4000 bottles/hr, while a six-cavity version will make 16-oz bottles at 7800/hr.

As reported last month (p. 41), another new name in PET reheat machines is Tetra Pak PET Packaging Systems North America, Schaumburg, Ill. This arm of a Swedish packaging company is introducing its LX-series linear reheat machines, which are said to provide 20% higher output per cavity and tooling changeovers at least twice as fast as competing models. They are offered with one, two, and six cavities.

Krupp Corpoplast, North Branch, N.J., will unveil the dual-cavity, 16-station Blowmax 16D, which will produce 0.5 liter bottles at 33,000 bottles/hr. Maximum output is 42,600 bottles/hr.

Sidel Inc., Norcross, Ga., is demonstrating the new ACTIS 20 amorphous-carbon plasma treater for making barrier PET bottles. It will be linked with an SBO 8 machine producing 50-cc bottles at 10,000/hr.

Narrow-neck, wide-mouth, and heat-set bottle capabilities are offered on two new reheat machines from Mag-Plastic North America Inc., Atlanta. The SSB-20HP two-cavity machine can produce bottles up to 2.5 liters at up to 3000 bottles/hr. The firm’s smallest modular stretch-blow machine, model MBS-4, can make bottles up to 2L at 6000/hr. With add-on modules, the MBS can have up to 20 cavities.

SIPA North America Inc., Atlanta, is rolling out its first line of rotary blow molders for PET or PEN packaging, called the SFR series. The first model to be produced is the 16-cavity SFR 16, capable of making bottles up to 2.5L at 22,400 bottles/hr. Its 12- and 20-cavity units will make bottles up to 2.5L at 16,800 and 28,000 bottles/hr, respectively. A 32-cavity model makes containers up to 0.6L at 38,400/hr. Modular oven design and a vertical blow mold closure are two new features.

American Plastics Technologies (APT) Inc., Schiller Park, Ill., plans to show new all-electric one- and two-cavity reheat units featuring a toggle press.

Less familiar nameplates at the show include Wei Li Plastics Machinery Co. of Hong Kong. Its WL-AP03 Ex-Wide PET stretch-blow machine is one of the first to make wide-mouth (180-mm) jars as big as 12 liters. Wei Li will also show models that produce bottles and jars up to 5L.

Steca Bottles of Saint-Quentin Cedex, France, will show its reheat machines in the U.S. for the first time. It offers semi-automatic machines for rates of 600 bottles/hr and fully automatic units for 1500-6000/hr. Bottle sizes range from 0.25 to 5L. Steca also offers a preform injection machine, model PF 1000.

One of three reheat machines produced by Gerosa of Bergamo, Italy, will be shown in the U.S. for the first time through its representative, Europlast Systems Inc., Miami, Fla. The Blow/1 machine can mold containers from 0.25 to 5L at 1000 bottles/hr. It comes in either a linear or rotary arrangement, and can be integrated with a Gerosa filling system. The firm also offers the Blow/3 (3000 bottles/hr) and the Blow/6 (5000/hr)

Beutelspacher of Mexico City, a maker of reheat machines (offered here through Best Used Machinery, Chicago) will show its SB 2000 PET machine, redesigned with new controls, new preform loader, new oven system, and new clamp locking mechanism. It comes with one or two cavities and makes bottles or jars up to 2L at rates around 1200 bottles/cavity/hr.


New integrated PET units

Uniloy Milacron will bring out the Uniloy 750 NN, a new integrated (one-stage) stretch-blow machine capable of making bottles of 3L or more and neck diameters to 75 mm. It has a 60-ton clamp and two to 14 cavities.

Speedier quick-change capability will be demonstrated by Krupp Kautex, North Branch, N.J. Its Ecomax 10/2 single-cavity PET unit will mold a 1L mouthwash bottle, then swap molds in less than 30 min to make a 32-oz trigger sprayer.

Reground PET will be processed into bottles on the new 250LL-50 one-stage machine from Aoki Laboratory America Inc., Elk Grove Village, Ill.

Other new PET preform related developments include the CPCM-5000 preform crystallizer from Chum Power Machinery Corp. of Taichung Hsien, Taiwan. From R&D Tool & Engineering Group in Lee’s Summit, Mo., comes Short Gate Technology for hot-runner PET preform molds on one-stage injection stretch-blow machines. It’s said to produce preforms with shorter, cleaner gate vestiges, resulting in better bottles, fewer rejects, and no need for secondary gate-clipping operations.


Extrusion offerings expand

Making cosmetic bottles with a soft-touch coating is one way to draw attention to the new H-111S single-sided machine that Bekum America Corp., Williamston, Mich., will introduce at the show. It molds up to 3L containers. Bekum will also unveil the BM-905D twin-station machine for bottles from 250 cc in 24 cavities to 10L in six cavities. The company also has on hand the new BA-34.2 unit for technical parts and canisters up to 30L.

Five-gallon polycarbonate water bottles with handles will be molded on the new SL 15-30/ND machine from Magic. It will use an accumulator head at the show but can also be configured for continuous extrusion. Single- and double-station models are offered.

Heins Plastic Container Machinery Ltd., Brampton, Ont., will introduce its CM series of single- and dual-station units for making HPDE or PVC bottles from 10 cc to 10L at 77 to 440 lb/hr.

Graham Machinery Group, York, Pa., will be demonstrating one model of the German-built Hesta line that it acquired last year. The Hesta-Graham HLD-620 is a dual-station, long-stroke shuttle machine.

Rocheleau Tool & Die Co. Inc., Fitchburg, Mass., has a new Model RS-25/32 reciprocating-screw machine for eight-cavity bottle production. Also new at the show is Model RS-25/24 reciprocating-screw machine for three-cavity production of gallon containers.

Garold Automation Inc., Milton, Ontario, will show its Model G4008 four-station wheel machine with 8-ton clamp, updated drive, and robotic picker.

PM367-S and PM366-D are single- and dual-head blow molders from Pacific Machinery Co. Ltd. of Taiwan, which is represented by Fu-Kuang Industrial Co. Ltd., Taichung, Taiwan.

Hong Kong-based Akei Plastic-Machine Manufacturing Ltd. (office in New Castle, Pa.) is introducing an extrusion blow molder with in-mold labeling and view-stripe capabilities.

A new quadruple-head blow molder for small bottles, the PK75CF, is being introduced by Parker Plastic Machinery Co. Ltd., Taichung, Taiwan.


Industrial units debut

Two firms will show their latest in “3D” blow molding technology. Meico S.r.L. of Italy (represented by Liebco in Cleveland) will introduce to the U.S. its flashless 3D molding and sequential coextrusion system for filler-pipe and air-duct production.

NPE will also be the first North American demonstration of the “Flat Desk” segmented-mold system from Krupp Fischer-W. Muller. This “clampless” 3D parison-manipulation machine can produce multi-layer or sequentially coextruded parts.

Although the machine is too big to bring to the show, JSW Plastics Machinery will present information on a new system for producing six-layer fuel tanks by moving the molds rather than the die head (see PT, Jan. 2000, p. 19). The new PFT (Plastic Fuel Tank) Model NB 150-2CCE-MLG uses two separate mold carriages so that one is receiving a parison while the other is cooling and demolding a finished part. This system is said to more than double the output rate of auto gas tanks.

Davis-Standard Blow Molding Systems, Edison, N.J., is introducing the D-S Series accumulator-head design and digital, closed-loop shoot-and-fill control (DLC) system. The new head reportedly cuts color-change times and eliminates weld lines. DLC works with a Barber-Colman MACO 6500 controller to control fill rate and push-out speed. It will be demonstrated on a SED420D machine with twin 20-lb heads.

Krupp Kautex, will roll out its U.S.-built, 20-liter CP120S accumulator-head machine for drums. And Wilmington Machinery Inc., Wilmington, N.C., is introducing a high-volume reciprocating-screw machine for multi-layer industrial parts.


Injection-blow on show

FGH Systems Inc., Denville, N.J., will introduce top-and-bottom cutting capability on the Ossberger DSE 50 injection blow molder, designed for CV-joint boots, rack-and-pinion steering boots, and shock-absorber bellows.

Jomar will show its 175-ton injection-blow molder for the first time in the U.S. It will be running a 20-cavity, 0.5-oz HDPE bottle.


Auxiliary items

New devices for cooling, deflashing, and QC testing will also be displayed:

AGR International Inc., Butler, Pa., is bringing its HHTP2000 hand-held thickness probe.

Blow Molding Parts & Systems (BMPS) Inc., Concord, Ont., will introduce PET preform injection molds and a spin trimmer for flash removal.

Fanuc Robotics North America, Inc., Rochester, Mich., will demonstrate the M-710i jointed-arm robot, which is mounted on a traversing overhead rail. It will deflash a blow-molded part without using costly sensors or vision systems to detect the parting line.

Fasti USA Inc., Elgin, Ill., is showing its Blow Molding Booster (BMB) which cools parts internally.

Heins PCM will display the HSP1 4000 spin trimmer for neck-to-neck, bottom-blow applications.

Proco Machinery Ltd., Mississauga, Ont., will introduce Robopik and Propak bottle packaging systems, Unipik take-away and finishing system, Petpik preform take-out system, and the Industrial take-out and finishing system.

PTI /Packaging Technologies & Inspection, Tuckahoe, N.Y., will unveil its Self-Teach Series P-125 bottle leak tester and P-125/2 in-line tester.

Topwave International Inc., Marietta, Ga., is introducing the Profiler gauge for quick, automatic bottle wall-thickness measurement.

New BA-34.2 unit from Bekum America makes technical parts and canisters of up to 30 liters with calibrated neck finishes,in-machine post-cooling, deflashing, and upright discharge.

Proco Machinery’s new Unipik take-away bottle system for reciprocating screw machines orients bottles more efficiently than older cooling bed systems. Its Provac vacuum conveyor indexes bottles without guiderails, which reduces conveyor changeover times.

Make up to 5-gal polycarbonate water bottles with handles, using either an accumulator head or continuous extrusion, with the new SL 15-30/ND machine from Magic North America.

R&D Tool & Engineering says its new “Short Gate” technology for hot-runner PET preform molds on one-stage stretch-blow machines results in better bottles and no need for secondary gate clipping.

The Blow/1 PET reheat machine from Gerosa of Italy will be shown in the U.S. for the first time. The single-cavity unit molds containers from 0.25 to 5L at 1000 bottles/hr, and comes in either a linear or rotary arrangement.