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Blow molding.

From 300-point parison programmers to super-fast leak testers, this show is rich in blow molding news.

Blow molders won't be disappointed by this year's show. Large machines, small machines, oriented-bottle machines, controls, tooling, auxiliaries--you name it, there's plenty new to be seen. Energy efficiency and quietness will be cited frequently as justification for a trend toward all-servo-electric drives. More features at modest cost will be another off-heard refrain. For this just-in-time era of "agile manufacturing," you'll see that quick-mold-change (QMC) provisions are becoming nearly universal. You will also have an opportunity to get acquainted with new players in continuous-extrusion and stretch-blow machines.


Potentially one of the most important new tools for blow molding process and tool design is computerized process simulation--analogous to the mold-filling and cooling programs used in injection molding. NPE '94 will see two such software systems. One was developed for in-house customer-service use by BASF AG in Germany and will be shown by BASF Corp. Plastic Materials, Parsippany, N.J. It's called Moldblow and first appeared at the recent SAE show in Detroit (see PT, April '94, p. 58). Another brand-new system will be offered commercially for sale or lease by AC Technology, Ithaca, N.Y. Its C-Mold program is an evolution of the original PITA system used in-house by GE Plastics, Pittsfield, Mass. (PT, Feb. '93, p. 77).

These systems model the stretching and thinning of the parison during blowing, showing what final wall thickness will be in different areas of the part so that structural properties can be accurately modeled. C-Mold even models stretch-blow molding. It also shows a thermal "map" of the part as it cools. Moldblow, which was designed for complex technical parts such as fuel tanks, calculates the wall-thickness distribution and can also calculate backwards to define the parison program needed to achieve a minimum specified wall thickness. The program can model stretch-blow, injection blow, parison stretching, and preblowing.


Demonstrations of "flashless" molding of complex shapes and sequential extrusion of dual-durometer (hard/soft/hard) parts have starred at recent European shows like K'92 (PT, Dec. '92, p. 21; Jan. '93, p. 76). Both techniques will be shown at once on a single-sided KBS-2-60 from Krupp Kautex Machines Div., Edison, NJ. One of a new series of continuous-extrusion machines for small industrial parts, it will be making nearly flashless, dual-durometer automotive ducts using sequential extrusion, a robotic parison manipulator, and an articulated mold with hinged sections.

Sample parts and technical data on a special "3-D blow molding" machine for producing flashless complex shapes will be exhibited by moldmaker Hobson Brothers Aluminum Foundry & Mould Works Inc., Shell Rock, Iowa. Hobson recently became exclusive North American distributor of Placo machines that have a tilting mold that moves on x-y axes so the parison can be draped into the cavity (PT, Sept. '91, p. 42; March '93, p. 17). Hobson has a machine available for demonstrations.

Hobson (primarily a toolmaker) will have another interesting exhibit: a relatively new technology that's said to be unique in providing complete in-mold deflashing and trimming of industrial parts. Thus, there's no expense for auxiliary deflashing equipment, and the mold cycle time reportedly is not affected.


A number of blow molding machinery suppliers are turning to all-electric servo drives to make the equipment faster, cleaner, quieter, and more energy efficient.

JSW Plastics Machinery Inc., Santa Fe Springs, Calif., will bring to the show one of the new JEB Series servo-electric continuous-extrusion machines that were seen at the recent IPF '94 fair in Tokyo (see PT, April '94, p. 55). The Model JEB-7 to be shown here is a small, single-sided machine for one or two cavities. It makes bottles up to 5.85 in. diam. x 12.5 in. long. Extruder output is 66-77 lb/hr and dry-cycle rate is 1.7 sec. Controls include an EL operator display and 25-point parison programmer that is driven by an a-c servo motor. Blowing speed and parison-cutting speed are stored for repeatable setups. Digital nozzle-centering device is optional.

Magic of Italy is converting all its continuous-extrusion machines to electric servo drive, primarily to reduce noise. Magic North America Inc., Markham, Ont., will be showing an updated model MG-L1/D double-sided machine with a new parison-control system. It uses a Rexroth closed-loop proportional valve in place of the former servo valve. Because the proportional valve is less sensitive to contamination, there is no more need for a separate hydraulic power pack to drive the servo valve, resulting in lower maintenance. Also, feeding the proportional valve from the main hydraulic system yields more stable pressure in the wall-thickness circuit, which can improve bottle quality. The system can be integrated into the machine CRT controller as a 76-point parison programmer. The MG-L1/D makes bottles up to 1 qt.


Battenfeld Blowmolding, Inc., Boonton, NJ., will be highlighting examples of so-called "long-stroke" continuous-extrusion machines from two German companies that it is newly representing. Long-stroke machines have appeared in the last two years as a newer type of single-station shuttle machine in which the mold travels on rails a longer distance between the head and the blowing position than is usual for swing-arm type shuttle machines. This provides easier access to the tooling than in double-station machines, Battenfeld says, facilitating mold changes and providing more room for in-mold-labeling devices.

Despite these advantages, a single-sided machine would not previously have been considered attractive for the high-volume needs of the U.S. market. But according to Battenfeld, the newer long-stroke machines can carry the same number of cavities in a single mold as double-sided machines have in two molds--making long-stroke a competitive alternative.

Battenfeld will be showing a long-stroke Hesta HLL 801 machine from R. Stahl Blasformtechnik GmbH of Germany. Battenfeld recently became the exclusive North American representative for Hesta machines (formerly sold here by FGH Systems). The machine will mold HDPE 1-liter bottles in six cavities. A QMC system is standard.

For higher production, Battenfeld is now also representing long-stroke, single-station machines from W. Muller GmbH of Germany. Battenfeld recently purchased 48% of the company and seeks to acquire 100% by next year. (Battenfeld's relationship does not affect W. Muller KG, a separate German company, whose continuous-extrusion heads are supplied here through Meredith-Springfield Associates Inc., Springfield, Mass.)

With a single four-cavity mold, a Muller long-stroke machine can match the throughput of a Battenfeld BFB1-6D machine with dual two-cavity molds. They're also similarly priced. The long-stroke machine requires double the number of parisons to set up and monitor; but it also has a smaller footprint because it discharges bottles out just one side of the machine, saving the cost of a second conveyor and leak detector.

Incidentally, NPE '94 will be the first U.S. showing of a BFB1-6D, which was introduced at K'92 in Dusseldorf. It incorporates QMC capability.

Also showing a long-stroke, single-sided machine is Krupp Kautex Machines Div., Edison, N.J. A model in the KBS-1 series, seen at K'92, will be shown for the first time in the U.S. These intermediate-size industrial machines carry up to 33-ton clamp force and maintain product orientation after blowing. QMC capability is standard. Single-sided models can handle up to 10 cavities on 120-mm centers. Double-sided versions can produce three 1-gal containers or one 5-gal container per side.

A long-stroke, twin-mold variant will debut from Graham Engineering Corp., York, Pa. which also goes by the name Techne North America. The new Techne Graham Model 6000 Twin is essentially a single-station machine with side-by-side mold clamps on a common carriage. It has clamp force of 20 tons per mold, sufficient for handleware and complex parts. And the stroke is only half that of other long-stroke machines, minimizing cycle time. Graham notes that this single-sided machine requires only half the parison extrusion speed of a double-sided machine, affording better parison control and lower melt temperatures.

The new machine can run from two to 10 cavities to produce bottles from 2 oz to 2.5 gal. Finished bottles leave the front of the machine oriented.


A relatively unfamiliar name in this country is B & W Kunststoffmaschinen of Germany, now represented by FGH Systems. As an example of the company's continuous-extrusion machines (designed along Bekum lines), FGH will show the new BW5000DE producing 1-liter handleware. The new "DE" model has a 10-ton hydraulic clamp instead of the 7-ton toggle on the regular "D" version. The extra tonnage allows it to mold handleware up to 1.3 gal. This double-sided machine can take four parsons on 85-mm centers. All movements of mold carriages, clamps, and blow pins are closed-loop controlled by a Moog TMC microprocessor system.

Also new from FGH are special blow pins that direct blowing/cooling air up at the shoulders and handle of large containers, as well as down toward the bottom. This cooling air circulates continuously during the cycle. After cooling the inside of the container, the air is channeled outside the mold and directed against the moil flash.

These blow pins are intended for use with compressed-air coolers from Fasti of Austria, represented by FGH and by Technical Engineered Products Inc., Mequon, Wis. Fasti CAC units provide dry air at temperatures down to -31 F. Also shown will be a Fasti MSP (Mold Sweat Protector), which blankets molds with cool, dry air during summer months, improving cycle times and part quality.

A new name in blow molding equipment is Jackson Machinery, Port Washington, Wis., until now mainly a rebuilder. It is introducing its first new machine. The Versamatic is a U.S.-built, single-sided, continuous-extrusion machine designed along the lines of former Hayssen machines. It's described as an economical ($125,000-130,000), entry-level machine for short runs and quick setups. It can mold up to 1 gal in a single cavity or run two cavities on 165-mm centers and three cavities on 115-mm centers.

Jomar Corp., Pleasantville, N.J., which has heretofore specialized exclusively in injection-blow machinery, is introducing its first continuous-extrusion machine. Built by the recently formed Jomar Italy operation, Model EBM 1.5S is a small, fast, single-sided unit with up to six heads. It has a 4-ton swing-arm clamp, 50-mm extruder, mold size of 9.84 x 11.8 in., and dry cycle of 1.5 sec. Lack of tiebars provides free access to the blow station. A variable-volume pump and d-c drive reportedly make the machine energy efficient. It also has closed-loop proportional valves, Bosch/Moog 64-point parison programmer, and Siemens S5/95U controls. Pricing will be "competitive."

The latest from Bekum America Corp., Williamston, Mich., is the U.S.-built BM-304D dual-station, continuous-extrusion machine with in-machine trim and oriented transfer. This intermediate-size machine molds up to 1-gal containers in one cavity and molds smaller parts in up to eight cavities. Bekum will demonstrate the machine's quick-change capabilities and modular automated take-off options such as leak testing.

What's described as an "entry-level" continuous-extrusion, double-shuttle machine that's reportedly popular in Mexico will get its first U.S. showing from Johnson Controls Inc., Plastics Machinery Div., Manchester, Mich. The UC 750 (first shown at K'92) can make up to 1-liter bottles with two parisons.

A new high-speed, double-sided machine from Automa of Italy is the Plus AT 2D, to be shown by Automa's North American agent, Moldpro Inc., Burlington, Ont. Introduced at K'92, the Plus series reportedly gains speed and energy efficiency from a new lightweight aluminum-alloy clamp and a d-c driven extruder. Quick tooling changes are said to be another key feature.

The Plus AT 2D has 4.4-ton clamp, 1.56-sec dry cycle, and one to three heads. Other Plus models have clamp forces of 2, 11, and 16.5 tons; all can have single or dual clamps. All have in-machine deflashing, oriented discharge, and "competitive pricing." Also available with this series are coextrusion, post-cooling, and Moog 64-point parison programmer.

Rocheleau Tool & Die Co., Inc., Fitchburg, Mass., will show its new continuous-extrusion machine, model CS-1, which replaces the company's former model R-7 (PT, Sept. '93; p. 81). The CS-1 has a new tiebarless design that permits oriented discharge and in-line trim (not available on the R-7), as well as unobstructed access for quick mold changes. The machine has a 1.75-in. extruder capable of 90 lb/hr of HDPE and 5-ton clamp (both larger than on the R-7). It can take single, double, and triple parison heads and makes containers up to 11 in. long. Extruder and finish station are adjustable to permit production of containers with off-center necks.

Plastimac Div. of American Jet Stream Inc., East Brunswick, N.J., will show three relatively new continuous-extrusion machines. One is a PB 2000/D double-station, triple-head model for containers up to 2 liters. It has a 70-mm extruder, 32-point electronic parison programmer, and in-line leak tester. Two machines previously shown at K'92 are the single-station PB 250 for small bottles and PB 5000 coextrusion machine with two extruders and three-layer head for containers up to 5 liters.

In wheel machines, Wilmington Machinery, Inc., Wilmington, N.C., will show a 120-ton, 12-station model with new three-layer head for sandwiching recycle between virgin layers. This head is Wilmington's own design, replacing heads the company formerly imported from Japan. Also new for Wilmington's wheel machine is a dual-parison head that arranges one parison "outboard" of the other along the radial axis of the wheel. The parisons are clamped simultaneously in an unusual stack-type mold with three platens and two parting lines.


A new series of accumulator-head machines for medium to large parts will be shown for the first time by Improved Blow Molding Equipment Co., Inc., Hudson, N.H. The BAX series comes with single or dual heads of 8- to 50-lb capacity and 200-ton proportional hydraulic clamps, which roll out from the machine for easier mold and head access. The main new feature of this series is the higher push-out speeds and head pressures (3400 psi), enabling them to run engineering resins like polycarbonate and ABS (PT, March '94, p. 51).

Also making its public debut is a new line of large-part accumulator-head machines from Cincinnati Milacron's U.S. Plastics Machinery Div., Batavia, Ohio. The T Series has been on the market for a year, but never exhibited (PT, March '93 p. 74; Nov. '93, p. 15).

New features on a 120-ton, 25-lb accumulator-head industrial machine to be shown by Wilmington Machinery include an Allen-Bradley PLC/540 controller with color graphic CRT. The control and the clamp design allow each mold platen to move independently.

Sterling Div. of Davis-Standard, Edison, N.J., will show a brand-new SI-755D small, economical accumulator-head machine. It has dual 5-lb heads and will be shown with the new Barber-Colman MACO 6500 control. The 60-ton (metric) clamp is of a completely new design for Sterling: it's mounted on ways and integrated into the main base instead of being free-standing.

A new clamp design is also featured on Sterling's SD-415 machine. It has a 200-ton clamp mounted on ways to support heavy molds. The clamp cylinders are mounted on just one side of the press and act as tiebars, passing through to the opposite platen. This design reportedly provides improved access for robotic part handling.


Two themes of stretch-blow machinery exhibits will be versatility for a variety of applications and improved precision of preform heating to help make that possible.

Sidel Inc., Atlanta, will demonstrate a model SBO 6/10 machine capable of molding 11,000 PET bottles/hr. Although the machine isn't new, it will utilize a new "preferential heating system," which creates profiled heat zones on the preform. Zone heating is said to permit weight savings of 10-15% or more.

Sidel will also show an updated model SBO 2/3 machine suitable for 2400 bottles/hr (first seen at K'92). The novelty here will be reheat-blow molding PEN bottles made with a developmental resin from Shell Chemical Co., Akron, Ohio. PEN bottles reportedly can be filled at higher temperatures than heat-set PET and also offer improved gas, solvent, and uv barrier.

Also new at the show is the Mag-Plastic SSB-20SX reheat-stretch-blow machine from Switzerland (represented by FGH and by Mag-Plastic Inc., Toronto). The new "SX" version of this modular system has an extended oven with three modules instead of the usual two and 10 vertical zones of i-r heating along the preform length instead of the usual four. This finer degree of temperature-profile capability is aimed at custom and refillable PET bottles. Automatic closed-loop heat control is achieved with an infrared camera that "reads" the preform temperatures and feeds back to the heaters.

The machine can run up to 2-liter bottles at 2000/hr (14 million/yr). Complete product changeovers are said to be possible in under 2 hr.

Krupp Corpoplast, Edison, N.J., will show for the first time in the U.S. the B 66 reheat-stretch-blow machine introduced at K'92. It molds 6600 1-liter bottles/hr and has a clamping system with pneumatic "pancake" cylinders built into the mold arm. These cylinders reportedly ensure tight enough mold closure to eliminate visible parting-line seams on bottles. This is the first Corpoplast system with this clamping system as a standard feature.

The showpiece of Johnson Controls' exhibit will be the U.S. debut of the USB 200 NN one-stage injection-stretch-blow machine. Unlike the version introduced at K'92, this 75-ton machine will be a new Americanized model. Production ranges from half-liters in 12 cavities to 2.5-liters in six cavities. Dry cycle is 2.5-3.0 sec.

Nissei ASB Co., Atlanta, will emphasize the versatility of its relatively new ASB-70DPH machine (also shown at K'92), which can produce both wide and narrow necks. It will be running six different container shapes simultaneously from the same preform, requiring only different blowing cavities and different settings at the conditioning station. A model 70DPHT will be molding three-layer parts with recycle in the center.

Three relatively new injection-stretch-blow machines will be shown by Aoki Technical Laboratory, Inc. (Formex, Inc., Dayton, Ohio). The SBIII-100LL-20 (22 tons) was also shown at JP '92 Osaka (PT, June '92, p. 76) and K'92 in Dusseldorf. It's a small machine with up to two cavities for 1-4 million bottles/yr. The machine is designed for frequent product changes (taking as little as 20 min to change blow tooling and injection cores) and modest price (around $280,000). Sized for higher production is an updated version of the SBIII-250LL-50 (55 tons) with up to six cavities that can produce bottles with wide or narrow necks. Recent enhancements are said to increase productivity to 4-8 million bottles/yr. A second model of this machine will be shown with a new feature for PET that the company would not reveal before the show.

The first oriented-bottle machine ever from Jomar Corp. will debut at the show--an integrated injection-stretch-blow system in which the parison cores rotate 180|degrees^ from the injection station to the stretch-blow-eject station.

The Shotscope process- and production-monitoring system for injection molding has now been applied for the first time to injection-stretch-blow molding. T.G. Branden Corp., Wilsonville, Ore., says this system--available in both portable and central plantwide versions--can monitor the injection, stretching and blowing process on each cycle, displaying and recording all relevant process data for quality monitoring or process diagnostics.


A new high-speed parison programmer capable of controlling independent 100-point profiles on up to eight heads is a prime feature of the new MACO 6500 from Barber-Colman Industrial Instruments, Loves Park, Ill. (PT, Jan. '94, p. 28; April '94, p. 23). Each parison-head control loop is run every 0.1 millisec--reportedly about 20 times faster than the industry average. MACO 6500 has a compact EL display.

Bloc 64 PRG is a new panel-mounted electronic parison programmer from Moog Inc.'s Electronics & Systems Div., East Aurora, N.Y. It can have 64 or 128 points and control up to four heads. Programming is via keypad or downloading from a host computer. It stores up to 100 programs and includes self-diagnostics.

New from Hunkar Laboratories Inc., Cincinnati, is the Smart Box 2000, a combination of a parison programmer and real-time process and production monitor with alarms and SPC (PT, March '94, p. 14). This stand-alone box provides many of the benefits of a Hunkar CIM system, with virtually all the same screen displays, since it contains the same SPC-Pro software. (The Smart Box can also serve as the link to a CIM network.)

As an aid to programming complex parts, the Smart Box has a 300-point "Touch Plot" parison programmer. The profiles are simply "drawn" with a finger or plastic stylus on the EL touchscreen. Two profiles for two heads or a two-layer coex part can be run at once.

For more all-inclusive process control, the Smart Box has an "Auto-Learn" program that automatically determines the upper and lower process-control limits for 22 parameters while the machine is making good parts. Then the Smart Box "enforces" those operating limits by means of alarms and diagnostic messages if the limits are exceeded. Based on those process-control limits, the Smart Box can automatically designate "good" and "bad" cycles.

The unit also provides production tracking and cycle efficiencies, with Pareto charts and other aids to analyzing causes of downtime, rejects, and process alarms. An "expert" program to suggest solutions to common problems is also built in. The Smart Box accommodates all types of extrusion blow molding machines. It costs $9000 without hydraulic control valve--less than a previous Hunkar parison programmer alone.


The state of the art in leak detection has made a significant advance with the arrival of a dielectric leak detector that measures the flow of electric current between a high-voltage probe inside a container and a grounded metal shield outside. Current flow is negligible--except when there's a hole. The virtue of this system over conventional pressure-decay leak testers is that it finds holes, no matter how small, virtually instantaneously, regardless of container size. This eliminates the necessary time delay for pressure decay, which can be quite substantial for larger containers. The so-called "Plasma" leak detector was first introduced at Interplas '93 in England by the U.K. firm of Blow Molding Controls Ltd., which recently established Blow Molding Controls Inc. in Glendale, Wis. (PT, Dec. '93, p. 17).

In addition, a new high-speed, rotary-style on-line leak detector from Wilco AG of Switzerland will be exhibited by PTI, Tuckahoe, N.Y.

And a new dual-drive spin trimmer will be introduced by M.C. Molds, Inc., Williamston, Mich. It has two independent belts and drives for reliability and control.


A brand-new family of screw mixing-section designs will be unveiled by R. Dray Mfg., Inc., Richardson, Texas. The "VI" (Velocity Interrupt) series comes in three versions tailored for high-, medium-, and low-viscosity resins. Accordingly, the different versions create varying degrees of distributive or dispersive mixing.

NPE will see the public introduction of a newly patented guide pin and alignment system for blow molds that's said to minimize pinchoff wear, damaged bushings, and wear on clamp toggle pins. Whereas conventional guide pins let the molds align themselves during final closing, these tapered pins create the alignment themselves. The pins are made of highly wear- and corrosion-resistant material and are available in sizes for molding containers up to about 5 gal. Now that a patent has been awarded, the inventor, Airo Tool & Manufacturing in Marengo, Ill., will sell the system to other toolmakers.

What to Look For

* Computer process simulation goes commercial.

* Dual-durometer, sequential extrusion makes hard/soft/hard parts.

* Robotic parison manipulation yields flashless molding.

* All-electric servo-driven machines proliferate.

* 'Long-stroke' machines invade U.S.

* Fastest leak tester ever.
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Title Annotation:Special Show Preview: NPE '94; plastics machinery
Author:Naitove, Matthew H.
Publication:Plastics Technology
Date:May 1, 1994
Previous Article:Extrusion.
Next Article:Thermoforming.

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