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5/7/2018 | 2 MINUTE READ

Trend Watch: What to Look for in Thermoforming

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At NPE2018, look for IML technologies and advancements to increase speed and productivity among thermoforming exhibitors.

Increasing productivity and IML technology are two trends in thermoforming to look out for at NPE2018.

Among thermoforming machinery suppliers, NPE2018 exhibitors focus on packaging over industrial applications, so keep an eye out for technologies offering higher speeds, reduced scrap and increased productivity. Lines are now being developed with an extraordinary range of materials at faster speeds than ever (more than 50 cycles/min in the case of PP cups, for example).

  • The M100 from Gabler Thermoform GmbH (Booth W7763is billed as a revolutionary new tilt-bed machine, offering output increases of up to 50% compared to current industry standards. At the show, the machine will be forming a transparent PP drinking cup with 69.5-mm diam and a height of 96 mm using a 90-cavity tool supplied by Marbach. A completely re-engineered forming station with state-of-the art drive-and-guide technology provides a forming area of 1130 x 550 mm.
  • GN Thermoforming Equipment (Booth W1283is showcasing its new GN800 Thermoformer for the first time in North America. The GN800 offers many standard features to ensure manufacturers’ needs are met in today’s changing marketplace. These include such benefits as forming capability of 5-in. above and below the sheet line, in-mold-cut capability, auto-grease, heavy-duty bearings in the toggle system, and high-efficiency SOLAR heaters.GN is running a meat tray in PET/PE laminate with a 12-cavity mold while maintaining a reduced scrap rate of 18%.
  • SencorpWhite (Booth W591)  took the wraps off the Ultra 2. Designed for multiple industries looking for more precision and control of form and trim—along with efficiency—the Ultra 2 is equipped with a more robust, heavy-duty, rail transport system, said to be unmatched in the industry.
  • Illig (Booth W3353)is displaying its RKDP 72 thermoformer running a six-up tool for PET tray production at 42 cycles/min. On its KTR-6 thermoformer equipped with new tooling from Bosch-Sprang, Kiefel (Booth W2727)is forming PP K-cups. WM Thermoforming will showcase its FC 780 IM thermoformer with a six-up tool by Kiefer to produce tamper-evident PET clamshells, while OMG will run a six-up CPLA tool.

Interestingly, all these machine builders are using HYTAC syntactic foam plug-assist materials furnished by CMT Materials (Booth W9121)the leading provider of plug-assist materials for the thermoforming industry, will showcase its range of materials.

More automation is coming to thermoforming too. Ranger Automation (Booth W3673is showing its new TR Series Robots increase productivity and save labor on thermoforming lines and other packaging applications. Ultra-high-speed servo drives allow part extraction and stacking at cycle times as fast as 3 sec.