Some interesting machinery entries from the Far East, talk of new stretch-blown PP (despite recycle concerns), new touchscreen controls and a high-tech cooling retrofit highlighted the blow molding news at NPE.
MACHINES FROM THE FAR EAST
Excel Machinery Corp., Schaumburg, Ill., showed a new Taiwanese accumulator-head blow molder, model ABI 100, from Fong Kee Iron Works (see PT, July '91, p. 12) that transfers the whole mold-clamping unit forward on rollers and also has robotic part removal.
Excel also brought drawings of Fong Kee's new multilayer accumulator-head model, with three extruders and 25-lb shot for under $600,000. The first one is headed for a molder in Australia, says U.S. general manager Larry Wei.
At the other end of the price spectrum, Japan Steel Works Ltd., Tokyo, may be testing U.S. waters for its large, premium-priced, industrial coex blow molders for auto fuel tanks. It showed brochures on its new NB series and a large schematic of the NB's 5-layer head design (see PT, Feb. '91, p. 62). The NB80G, NB100G and NB120G (80, 100 and 120 clamp tons, respectively) all have three extruders in a variety of sizes. The main extruder is for HMWPE, and two smaller extruders are for a thin polyamide barrier layer and PE adhesive layers.
Not yet distributed in the U.S., a few NB100Gs have been brought in to make fuel tanks for transplants. One was shipped last month to Nissan's Smyrna, Tenn., plant and two (unlabeled) are at Aeroquip Inoac in Fremont, Ohio, Japan Steel Works says. The 100G has a 40-lb main shot, 5-lb barrier and adhesive shots, and in the U.S. costs about $4.5 million. Japan Steel Works may offer the 100G in the future directly through its Houston office.
Another Japanese blow molding machine, the TZ-5554M from Tahara, was shown at NPE by Wilmington Machinery of Greensboro, N.C., which formed an agreement with Tahara last year to import machines and fit them with Barber-Colman MACO 8000 controls and UL-compliant electrics. Seen at the show, the TZ-5554M shuttle-mold blow molding machine with two heads and in-mold labeling comes with one to four heads and costs approximately $350,000.
Wilmington will market Tahara's small-to-medium output, shuttle-mold extrusion blow molders with optional coex and in-mold labeling for custom and captive makers of personal care bottles (2 oz to 5 gal). It also will offer Tahara's unusual TBA industrial accumulator-head machines, which mold long parisons using a patented 3-D "flashless" molding process for applications like auto ducting. TBA machines can mold multimaterial parisons in sequence, as well as layers, says Wilmington president Russ La Belle.
The quiet commercialization of Uniloy's USB-300 (300-ton clamp pressure) two-stage injection stretch-blow machines from Johnson Controls Inc., Manchester, Mich., was only signaled by a video at NPE of the machine blowing PET. In fact, since Johnson Controls decided three years ago to sell the machines, previously only used in-house, the company has sold eight of them, says product manager Jack Tinsley. The company, which builds USBs in Italy, is introducing two smaller models: USB-100 with 45 clamp tons and USB-200 with 200 clamp tons.
Interestingly, all eight (including two delivered this month) are specially modified for stretch-blown PP. All make PP bottles for medical applications. (Stretch-blown PP recently lost its first big food application when General Foods cancelled a major project out of concerns that PP isn't recycled.)
Processing PP takes extra conditioning of the parison after it comes out of the parison mold, because of PP's narrow temperature window of [+ or -] 1.5-2 [degrees] (the exact temperature is proprietary), Tinsley says. The USB-300 lists for $585,000 for PET, plus another $130,000 for the PP preblow station (not including tooling).
INTEGRATED STRETCH-BLOW UNITS
An integrated injection stretchblow machine--the Magic Biaxial VF-146 (shown at Interplas '90 in Birmingham, England) made its first North American appearance at NPE. Magic Biaxial (stretch-blow) and Magic MP Spa (extrusion blow) of Monza, Italy, are newly represented in North America by SM Plastics International Ltd., a div. of SM Graphics in Markam, Ont. (Magic's extrusion blow line was shown at NPE '88 by Big M in Montreal, but then North American representation lapsed for several years.) Magic Biaxial's VF-146 is an in-line stretch-blow machine with a four-cavity injection manifold and three-zone parison conditioning station. The VF-146, which made 250-ml ovals in PET with a 14.5-sec cycle at the show costs about $260,000.
Also at the show, a new hydraulic update of Magic's Mini extrusion blow-molder model 100D/E, with a 5-sec cycle made PVC mascara vials. The hydraulic update trims 0.005 sec off the Mini's previous dry cycle, to 0.75 sec, possibly the industry's fastest dry cycle, says Magic sales manager Gianni Benzoni. The two-station Mini costs just over $100,000.
BLOW MOLDING CONTROLS
NRM-Steelastic, Inc., Akron, Ohio, showed off its new Sentry 1700 Series blow molding controller with color touchscreen monitor. It offers 100-point parison programming with the ability to "zoom" in on any one of four "quadrants" of 25 points at a time. The operator presets the increment of change for a program point, and then each touch of the setup screen changes the profile at that point by one increment. At a touch, the user can select linear interpolation between points or an automatically ramped interpolation curve. Both set and actual parison profiles can be displayed one above the other, with automatic color shading of any regions of variation. In addition, the control can display a trend curve of up to 100 points, such as bottle weights or wall thicknesses that have been entered either manually or via an electronic caliper or scale.
Moog Inc. in East Aurora, N.Y., gave the first U.S. display of its new TMC (total machine control) program for blow molding. In addition to Moog's well-known 101-point multichannel parison controls, the new TMC, developed by its German subsidiary, Moog GmbH, for the first time controls other machine functions like temperature, mold position, mold speed and parison pushout.
The IBM-compatible program is menu-driven, with numeric and graphic display of real-time machine data. For each function, like pressure and temperature, the display offers a "zoom" capability and gives both set and actual values.
LIQUID NITROGEN RETROFIT
Battenfeld Fischer Blow Molding Machines Inc., Waldwick, N.J., ran demonstrations at NPE of a nitrogen-cooling retrofit to raise output. Liquid nitrogen cooling can shorten cycle time 28% on 1-gal handleware to about 10.7 sec from about 15 sec, Battenfeld Fischer says.
The retrofit, developed by AirCo, Murray Hill, N.J., injects liquid nitrogen into the bottle, rather than less controllable chilled air. AirCo says its Cool-Kwik system uses 0.65 lb nitrogen/lb of plastic for a cost of about 6 [cents]/lb. The retrofit costs about $50,000.
Proco Machinery Inc., Mississauga, Ont., introduced what's said to be the first retrofit for takeout and trimming inside a shuttle-mold blow molding machine. "Some newer machines already do in-machine trimming, but we're the only ones that can convert an older style Bekum or Battenfeld Fischer [to finish bottles inside the machine]," says president John McCormick.
Proco's Automate system removes bottles by means of the tail flash. When the mold transfers back to the blow position, the same movement places the trim fixture into the trim station, according to the company. Neck and tail flash are punched off onto a built-in scrap conveyor. A two-station Automate system costs about $60,000; one-station costs $45,000.
PHOTO : The first U.S. display of Fong Kee Iron Work's accumulator-head blow molder from Taiwan was at Excel Machinery's booth. A three-extruder coex unit is also new.
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|Title Annotation:||National Plastic Exposition wrap-up: shopping guide to the latest technology|
|Author:||Schut, Jan H.|
|Article Type:||Cover Story|
|Date:||Aug 1, 1991|
|Next Article:||RIM & urethanes.|