Thermoforming at NPE: Less Scrap, More Power For the Buck
Most of the developments will focus on in-line systems.
NPE2012 will showcase new developments in thermoforming that highlight scrap reduction, enhanced control capabilities, reduced energy consumption, and flexibility. The news is mainly in in-line packaging machines.
Scrap reduction is a reportedly a key benefit of roll-fed, in-mold-cut thermoformers from GN Thermoforming Equipment. Making its North American debut, the GN 760 plug-assist thermoformer will be running a unique common-cut die tool that is said to reduce skeletal web scrap from roughly 30% down to a range of 16-18% vs. typical form-cut-stack machines. The GN 760 comes with an expanded forming area of 30 x 21 in. and servo drives for plug assist, material transport, stripping, and stacking. These reportedly help slash electrical consumption by 35% to 50% compared with competitive equipment. The machine also has a 60-zone radiant heating system and an electronic regeneration system resulting in improved energy efficiency and additional savings in power costs.
Swiss company W.M. Wrapping Machinery S.A. will be operating the latest version of its roll-fed pressure former with steel-rule cutting, the model FC 780E Speedmaster Plus. The model, now in its third generation, features upgraded electronic servo controls and a forming station with a clamp force of 75 tons. The cutting station has a force of 60 tons. Max. mold dimensions are 30.7 x 22.4 in. with positive and negative draw up to 5 in.
The machine is available with servo motors to drive the plugs, and can be fitted with a two- or three-axis robot for stacking differently shaped products, as well as A/B stacking. A new-generation PC enables fully digital control of forming. It stores tool-setting recipes. A faster remote-access connection has replaced a traditional modem, enhancing remote technical support.
Upgrading a thermoformer is said to be straightforward with the Micro Phaser III (MPIII) enhanced machine control from Irwin Research and Development. The machine-side PC and screen are programmed with easy-to-read drop-down menus that allow operators to control heating zones and other production parameters by simple point-and-touch selection.
Extending the range and flexibility of its in-line extrusion/forming equipment, OMV-USA is introducing the all-new F88 high-speed thermoformer for shallow-draw products. The F88 is available as an inline system with extruder or as a standalone roll-fed machine. It features in-mold trim. The company will be producing 16-oz bowls from PP sheet using a 28-cavity mold.
Designed for production of clamshells, trays, lids and other food packaging, the Focus M is an addition to the line of Gabler Thermoform GmbH. The multi-station machine has a forming area of 20.6 x 13 in. and is especially suited for small to medium outputs. A new drive system consisting of servo motors and a toggle lever ensures precise, smooth movements. The company is also introducing the M60, a new North American addition to its line of tilting machines. It has a forming area of 20.6 x 13 in. and is especially suited for medium production of PET packaging.
Kiefel GmbH will feature its top-of-the-line cup former, the Thermorunner KTR 6 L Speed with forming area of 30.7 x 22 in. It will run a 50-cavity tool for PP drink cups at the show. It is integrated with the KIST 78/56 vertical inline stacker.
If you’re not ready for an altogether new machine, SencorpWhite is launching a new service to buy, repair, upgrade, and sell the company’s pre-owned thermoform packaging systems. The service, called Pre-Owned Machine Shop, provides formers with a high-value, low-cost option to purchasing new equipment, with the same level of performance and post-sale technical support.
A 2010 Quick Change 4-Way Adjustable Clamp Frame will be featured by Thermoformer Parts Supplier (TPS) Inc. It is constructed from steel cylinders and heavy-duty aluminum extrusions. The frame is easily and quickly adjustable from 6 in. up to maximum frame size with no loss of forming size on a manufacturer’s current machine. Quick-disconnect valves allow air lines to be disconnected and rapidly reconnected once the frame’s short sections are slid into position.
The excitement in the air of the recent Innovation Takes Root conference was a sense of arrival.
For parts needing high heat and chemical resistance, thermoformers get a new way to compete with injection molding.
Plastics made from renewable carbon chains, not fossil carbon from oil or gas, are suddenly a solid commercial reality. The draw isn’t just “green” marketing, but the “green” of stable prices not linked to petrochemicals.