Versatile Stretch-Blow Molder for Wide or Narrow Necks
FlexBlow reheat stretch-blow molder makes bottles with 18-to-110-mm necks and supports quick changeovers.
UAB Terekas of Lithuania is presenting the newest version of its highly versatile FlexBlow RSBM system. The all-electric, two-cavity FlexBlow 2 WM is able to produce both wide-mouth (up to 110 mm) and narrow-neck (18-mm) containers. It can mold up to 73-mm necks in two cavities and wider in one cavity. Bottles from 1.5 to 3 L can be molded at 700 to 750/hr. Changing the bottle format, including molds, neck, and gripper parts, and fine-tuning the machine settings afterwards, takes no longer than 30 min, says FlexBlow marketing manager Gytis Sirvinskas. Changing just the mold requires loosening four bolts and takes only 5 min. FlexBlow is demonstrating live changeover daily of this machine that can mold wide-mouth jars, cosmetic bottles, and large bottles.
A number of upgrades on this model include new control functions such as an integrated operator manual and troubleshooting guide, and reporting of machine production and efficiency statistics for performance tracking. The challenge of automatically loading preforms with a wide range of neck diameters is addressed by a dual preform loading system. Adjustable feeding slides allow loading preforms with very small support rings (down to 0.8 mm), suitable for cosmetics jars. Inversed preforms with a body wider than the neck can also be handled by the feeding system. And both air and water cooling are now available to cool the neck inside the oven.
Another new feature is customized preform grippers made by 3D printing. This allows for very precise detailing for custom designs and permits quick changes, too. One FlexBlow customer ordered grippers for five different neck sizes, so Terekas color-coded the grippers in anodized aluminum.
Many food and beverage companies are either using or thinking about using recycled materials in their packaging.
Many conditions must be met to get the best wall distribution in a PET bottle. Skilled operators are, as always, indispensable.
No Breakthrough in Beer, But Juice & Soda Surge Ahead