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Blow molding.

In accumulator-head and continuous-extrusion blow molding, some unusual new machines at K'92 are clear signs that technical-parts blow molding, with low flash and multiple materials, is coming into its own. In fact, some very advanced parts displayed by European processors show that even more sophisticated work is going on behind the scenes. In packaging, new continuous-extrusion, injection-blow and stretch-blow machines bowed in, as did a new machine maker. Regardless of type, the new machines generally boast greater flexibility, speed and output--and sometimes a lower price.

TECHNICAL PARTS REVOLUTION

Targeting flexibility in production of even the largest technical parts, Bekum showed only the carriage section of its huge new BA 220 accumulator-head machine (see PT, Sept. '92, p. 68) with 150-ton clamp and 5-in.-diam. extruder. This is Bekum's first design in which the whole clamp section rolls free on rails, permitting continuous extrusion and unobstructed access to molds and head. The clamp also boasts "the fastest closing system on the market," giving a 30-sec dry cycle. The tiebar-less, claw-shaped clamp reportedly uses less energy and hydraulic oil than standard clamps. The BA 220 will be built both in the U.S. and Germany. A shuttle version is also available.

Sequential extrusion of two materials from accumulator-head blow molders was demonstrated by two machine companies. Johnson Controls coextruded a hard/soft/hard (PP/TPO/PP) monolayer automotive duct on an Italian-built Uniloy M-10 (PT, Sept. '92, p. 67). Material flow from two accumulators outside the head starts and stops as the ram starts and stops, with multipoint computer control of ram speed.

And Krupp Kautex also demonstrated hard/soft/hard blow molding of an auto bellows on a KEP 5 accumulator-head machine during plant tours held during the show. Krupp says its sequential dual-material blow molding system has been commercial for over six years.

Intriguing "flashless" technical parts were one of the high points of K'92. At BP Chemicals PlasTec GmbH in Germany (formerly Etimex), an astonishing appliance part was exhibited. It's a compound S-shaped washing-machine drain, made on a special blow molder from Tahara Co. in Japan (using a Sumitomo Tool Co. patent). The machine pulls the parison by vacuum through a closed tool as the accumulator head pushes out the shot. (Tahara is represented here by Kanematsu USA Inc.)

R. Stahl Blasformtechnik GmbH in Germany (represented in the U.S. by FGH Systems) showed the first accumulator-head blow molder in the Hesta line. The ST-502 comes with 1-1.75 lb heads and Schleicher parison controls. It costs about $250,000. Stahl is also building the first of a new single-station, high-capacity, continuous-extrusion model HL-801 with up to six cavities, for delivery this quarter.

Davis-Standard's Sterling Div. showed the first model of a new small, flexible, accumulator-head blow molder. The SI-75, with 50-ton clamp and microprocessor controls, can have single or dual heads of 3, 5, 8 or 10 lb and is rated at 350 lb/hr.

POCKET-SIZED BLOW MOLDERS

Three diminutive continuous-extrusion blow molders for vials were shown at K'92. Sinco Technology from Thailand brought a new VK 100 with 0.4-ton clamp. (Sinco has no U.S. agent). It's designed for small custom bottles for nail polish, cosmetics or office correction fluid. Sinco demonstrated making 120-cc mascara bottles of acrylonitrile copolymer. The VK 100 costs $26,000 FOB the U.S.

Another new small model from the Far East is the "Super-N" from Akei Plastic-Machine Manufacturing Ltd. in Hong Kong (U.S. offices in San Francisco). The AO-50SN with 5-ton clamp and 50-mm screw offers simple two-point parison controls and single or dual heads. It costs about $55,000.

Smallest and least expensive was the CMP 500/P/1 continuous-extrusion blow molder, displayed by Central Machinery & Plastic Products of Bombay, India. Its microprocessor control cabinet is slightly bigger than the machine itself, which costs only $8000 FOB India.

FLEXIBLE SHUTTLES

Two large new, shuttle-type continuous-extrusion blow molders, both with three-layer coextrusion and in-mold labeling, were seen for the first time at K'92. Techne Technipack Italia had its first showing of the eight-parison Techne 10,000 machine. And Magic MP of Italy (represented by S.M. Plastics International) ran a three-layer, quad-head MGL 10/D (double-mold). Techne and Magic differ in their integration of in-mold labeling on a double-sided shuttle. Techne uses eight heads to allow labels to enter mold cavities while the carriage is up. Magic uses four heads and labels enter the cavity while the carriage is down. Magic also showed a new small, single-mold MG-LI/ND dual-parison, accumulator head machine, running 8-oz unoriented PET bottles.

Johnson Controls brought out the first double-sided MSK/D, a three-layer coex model built by its Italian plant and sized to make eight 1-liter bottles (4/4), six 2- or 3-liter bottles (3/3) or two 10-liter (1/1). These different mold and blow-pin configurations are said to be quick to change--e.g., 90 min for a four-cavity mold and blow-pin change. Molds have a two-part release technology borrowed from injection molding. Instead of bolts, they're held by hydraulic interlocks and removed from platens on a swing-arm that attaches to the closed molds.

Another new extrusion shuttle machine from Johnson Controls is the UC 750, a three-parison model for small containers with 50-mm center distance, hydraulic shuttle and simple book-style mold clamping.

In other continuous-extrusion news, Automa of Italy (represented by International Business Consultants and John McNamara) introduced a new model called Plus, said to cut energy use by up to 30% using a d-c driven extruder. An aluminum-alloy clamp with proportional hydraulics replaces cast iron. It starts at about $150,000 FOB Italy.

And Johnson Controls brought a 12-station wheel blow molder with what's said to be the first commercial in-mold labeling for a wheel. Johnson Controls says it's sold 12 wheel blow molders over the past two years, including the first for 6-layer PP bottles.

SMALL STRETCH-BLOW MODELS

Procrea SRL of Italy (no U.S. agent) showed its first injection stretch-blow machine, model ISB 250, said to be the only one on the market with only two stations, injection and blow. Preform conditioning is done in the water-cooled injection molds. This keeps machine layout compact, but sacrifices cycle time (half-liter PET bottles in eight cavities take 20 sec). Racks of four preforms shuttle to four blowing nozzles on each side of the machine. ISB 250 without tooling costs $275,000 FOB Italy.

A new injection stretch-blow machine from Magic also eliminates a separate conditioning station and conditions preforms in the injection molds. Model VF-146J for wide-mouth jars moves neck inserts and cores to the injection manifolds and cavities, not vice versa.

Mag-Plastic Machinery Div. of Jean Gallay SA in Switzerland (represented by Mag-Plastic Inc. in Toronto and FGH Systems) brought out a compact reheat-stretch-blow model. SSB-60 has six cavities and capacity for 6000 2-liter bottles/hr.

HIGH-VOLUME STRETCH-BLOW

In larger injection stretch-blow machines, Nissei ASB Machine Co. of Japan demonstrated its new double-mold ASB-70DPH making 4-oz cylindrical bottles. Originally expected at NPE '91, its 10-preform cavitation took longer to develop. At K'92 it was shown with a 20-cavity mold, making 5530 bottles/hr. Nissei also showed a 30% faster version of its ASB650NHII. The updated model made half-liter bottles in a 9.2-sec cycle (4600 bottles/hr).

SIPA SpA of Italy showed one of its high-output ECS injection stretch-blow models, based on technology licensed from Van Dorn. The ECS (Energy Cost Saving) line is five years old, but has only been exhibited once (in Lyons, France). Modular and highly robotic, it has one of the highest outputs on the market. The 24-cavity 6000 model at K'92 makes 6400 1.5-liter bottles/hr. SIPA says it took an order at K'92 for its biggest machine ever, the first 48-cavity model 8000, which is expected to make 14,000 1-liter bottles/hr. SIPA plans an even bigger 64-cavity version. A special large-diam., low-pressure screw sequentially fills four preform molds of six, eight, 10 or 12 cavities. Preforms then travel robotically down the two sides of the machine, allowing different preforms and bottles to be made on each side at the same time. A 32-cavity SIPA 8000 costs about $2 million FOB Italy.

Johnson Controls showed its USB 200 NN (narrow-neck) injection stretch-blow machine for PET for the first time (a USB 100 was seen at the Milan show in '91). So far, Johnson Controls has made mainly PP versions of the same machine. Whereas the PET version has three indexes--injection molding preforms, conditioning and blowing--the PP version is a much larger six-station rotary with two conditioning stages.

In smaller injection stretch-blow machines, Krupp Corpoplast brought a new B 66, a version with 10% higher capacity version than its earlier narrow-neck B 60 (a six-station rotary introduced at K'89). The B 66 with improved heating and blow-pressure controls is said to make 6600 1-liter bottles/hr or 3000 refillable types. It costs about $1.2 million.

A two-cavity reheat stretch-blow model, also for refillable bottles, was shown for the first time by Sidel of France. SBO 2/3 (two cavities/three heating modules) has automatic heat controls on several circuits in the tooling. It makes 2000 one-trip 1.5-liter bottles/hr or 1000 thicker refillable bottles.

Unusual bottle displays at K'92 included Nissei's 2-liter beverage bottles with colored handles crimped into folds in the side wall. They're commercial in Greece, Japan, Spain and soon the U.K. And from Bekum, a three-layer HDPE milk bottle, commercial in France, has a recycled midlayer.

INJECTION BLOWN PET

Johnson Controls demonstrated injection blow molding (without stretching) of PET, running what is said to be the smallest neck finish ever shown with that material. The demonstration, on an Italian-built IBM-42 Uniloy, made 10-cc mascara bottles with 8-mm neck finish in six cavities. This model can't run PET in the U.S., however, because of a patent conflict with Wheaton Industries in Millville, N.J. But the same model can process PVC or PE.

Similar patent restrictions apply to Jomar Corp.'s demonstration of injection blow molding of a 120-ml PET medical bottle. The machine was a model 40 specially equipped to run PET. Features include a different screw, close-tolerance heat controls (|+ or -~1|degree~ F) and options to conform with European Community standards. Jomar doesn't intend to sell the machine in the U.S.

NEW FACE AT K

This was the first K' for B&W Kunstoffmaschinen GmbH in Berlin, a maker of continuous-extrusion machines for up to 40-liter containers. B&W (represented in the U.S. by Blomo-Pack Concepts) was begun five years ago by former Bekum employees who were restoring old Bekum's. Three years ago they built their first new machines and now have 14 in the U.S. B&W displayed a three-layer coex BV 5000 D (double-sided) with a horizontal main extruder and two small vertical extruders from Willi Muller GmbH in Germany (see PT, July '90, p. 109). B&W machines can be equipped with Moog TMC closed-loop controls. The BV 5000 D starts at about $250,000 FOB U.S.
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Title Annotation:Making Sense of K '92
Author:Schut, Jan H.
Publication:Plastics Technology
Date:Jan 1, 1993
Words:1840
Previous Article:Compounding.
Next Article:Thermoforming.
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