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What's new in blow molding.

Look for novel coex machines, scrap recycling, extrusion blowing of PET, new controls, and leak testers.

Some exciting new machines at the NPE '91 show may at first glance look like familiar faces. They're redesigns of old favorites like Uniloy "dairy" machines or the Nissei ASB stretch-blow molder, retooled for higher outputs and multilayer capability. But don't be fooled. Under the hood, these are not your father's blow molders. There will be novelties such as a four-head, three-layer reciprocating-screw machine and standard extrusion blow machines running new PET resins that don't need orientation and make handleware readily feasible. There will also be several high-production PET stretch-blow machines and several multi-layer accumulator and continuous-extrusion machines running recycled resins. Brand-new lines of wheels and accumulator heads and a new nameplate in shuttle machines will make their debut. In controls, SPC/SQC features will be ubiquitous.


A three-layer, four-parison coex version of the Uniloy reciprocating-screw, intermittent-extrusion machine used by 98% of dairies will be running continuously at the booth of Johnson Controls, Inc., Manchester, Mich. The display model 350R3-3L (see diagram) is the first of its kind. It has a 3.5-in. diam. middle extruder for a midlayer of post-consumer recycle resin and two 2-in. auxiliary extruders with a gear pump for inner and outer virgin HDPE layers.

Manifolding three layers through one block and then splitting each four ways would seem a challenge in itself. But even without coex capability, the 3L machine is noteworthy for having twice the maximum number of die heads ever to work off one manifold before with a reciprocating screw.

The 3L's die head also has a patented layer-thickness control feature that mechanically adjusts the gaps at the merging points of the flowing streams in the head. The four-parison machine can make 900-1200 containers/hr and will run gallon antifreeze bottles four-up. It costs $700,000-800,000.



Another familiar machine with a new twist is a new dual-lane version of a small stretch-blow machine from Nissei ASB Co., Atlanta. This is the first showing of the dual-lane ASB 70-DPW, with two lanes of injection molded preforms and two blow stations for doubled output rates. The W model will run 4-oz PET containers 20-up at 5500-7000/hr at the show. Also new are its Texas Instruments' closed-loop SPC/SQC controls, first shown at JP90 in Tokyo (see PT, Feb. '91, p. 61). The W machine costs less than $350,000.

Possibly the most unusual new stretch-blow machine is Model UWM-150 from B&G Machinery Co., Grand Rapids, Mich. The booth will accommodate only a video of the machine blowing 5-gal PET water bottles in about 30 sec--possibly the biggest reheat stretch-blown bottle anywhere. Oriented 5-gal bottles were previously made on one-step injection stretch-blow equipment and were not successful. The machine also targets 5.2-gal beer spheres. B&G expects to cut cycle time to 20-25 sec, but at 30 sec it's still roughly twice as fast as extrusion blowing 5-gal polycarbonate bottles (50-60 sec), and even faster compared with a one-step stretch-blow process, which takes upwards of 80-90 sec, according to B&G.

The new UWM-150 (universal wide-mouth) with 50-ton clamp is possibly the only commercial machine on the market with RF heating. It was designed by Sam Belcher's Sabel Plastechs Inc. in Cincinnati and costs $388,000.




Other stretch-blow molders at NPE include some U.S. product introductions, like a wide-mouth configuation of the B-60W rotary wheel from Krupp Corpoplast, Edison, N.J. It's designed for PET jars with up to 90-mm neck openings (the narrow-mouth B-60 version was introduced at K'89 in Dusseldorf), and will blow 83-mm finish jars at 6000/hr. It converts for narrow-neck bottles, heat sets for either neck size, and costs about $1.2 million.

A modular PET reheat stretch-blow molding machine, Model SSB-F from Mag-Plastic in Switzerland, will be shown for the first time in the U.S. by FGH Systems Inc., Denville, N.J. The SSB-F blows up to 5-liter containers with neck openings to 110 mm, and reportedly changes molds with kit parts in under 2 hr. It handles complex asymmetrical shapes, using hydraulic proportional valves to control stretch rods and clamp speed, and costs about $500,000.

Sidel of France, with U.S. offices in Doraville, Ga., will demonstrate a new SBO 6/10 horizontal rotary machine, making 1-liter PET bottles in six molds at 6000/hr. This machine also reportedly makes mold changes in 15 min/mold. (Sidel will exhibit with Husky Injection Molding Systems, its new Canadian representative.) The 6/10 rotary has a special 10-module reheating oven (the standard 6/6 machine has six modules), which provides greater latitude for processing thick preforms for hot filling, Sidel says. Sidel also says it's building a 40-mold SBO rotary in a new 2-liter version for delivery to a U.S. customer late this year.

Two other new models are significantly faster versions of proven machines. Aoki Technical Laboratory Inc. of Japan and its distributor Formex, Inc., Dayton, Ohio, will show a faster SBIII-1000NL, combining the capabilities of its previous N and L models (N can fit 12, 16, or 20 cavities; L means 350-mm max. bottle height). The 1000NL will produce narrow-neck bottles 20-up for some 6000 parts/hr and costs around $600,000. Another speeded-up Aoki machine is the SBIII-250-50 (introduced at JP90), making bottles six-up at 2000/hr in 10 sec, 2-3 sec faster than its predecessor at about the same cost--$285,000 (PT, Feb. '91, p. 62).


The first U.S. demonstrations of unoriented extrusion blow molding PET will be seen at several booths at NPE (see PT, Feb. '91, p. 23). Battenfeld Fischer Blowmolding Machines Inc., Waldwick, N.J., will run PET on a continuous-extrusion BFB1-D with two-parisons feeding four 22-oz bottle cavities. The PET adaptation is an intensively cooled, grooved-feed throat on its 80-mm extruder, which reduces gel content to "unobservable levels," Battenfeld Fischer says. The twin-station BFB1-D, which doubles the output of the previous one-parison model, features tiebarless hydraulic clamps for mold changing in under 1 hr. The clamp, borrowed from Battenfeld's injection molding machines and adapted to blow molding last year, is suspended on swings from the machine frame and guided by bars below the mold, which leaves the mold area free on three sides. Force is applied centrally to the platens, not through the tie bars. The PET adaptation adds $10,000-15,000 to machine price.

Bekum Plastics Machinery, Inc., Williamston, Mich., will also show multiparison, continuous-extrusion blowing of cylinder or oval PET bottles on an HBM-122, with a special (but commercially available) feedscrew. Closed-loop material handling will show granulation of bottle flash, recrystallizing, drying, and proportioning of regrind back in with virgin PET.

FGH will also show extrusion blow molding of PET on a high-speed Hesta HS 451 machine, making 2-oz PET bottles, and on a compact Hesta HW 551 machine, blowing institutional round bottles three-up.


A large new three-layer continuous-extrusion industrial blow molder will be demonstrated by Krupp Kautex Div. of Krupp Plastics & Rubber Machinery, Inc., Edison, N.J. The three-layer KB-150 has platens 43-in. wide x 55-in. high and will blow 32-gal, three-layer trash cans (and can do up to 60-gal cans). The machine has a 100-mm, 25:1 recycle extruder for the middle layer and two 60-mm extruders for inner and outer virgin layers.

The KB-150 features automatic parison transfer, said not to have been seen on such large parts before, and removes parts robotically from primary to secondary cooling molds, which reportedly improves output 40-45%. Krupp's MCC-200 microcomputer controls and Siemens S5-115U hardware offer 64-point parison programming, fault diagnostics, and SPC readouts on a 14-in. color monitor. The KB-150 also has robotic part removal, automatic deflashing, lid cutting, and conveying equipment. Base price for a three-layer KB-150 is around $1.2 million, excluding automation.

Hartig Plastics Machinery Div. of Somerset Technologies Inc., New Brunswick, N.J., will show a new multi-layer 10-lb coextrusion accumulator head--possibly the largest coex accumulator-head demonstration at NPE. The head will be on a Hartig SMP 3510/3240S65 with 3.5-in. diam. main extruder for reclaim and a 2-in. extruder for inner and outer virgin layers. The SMP machine has 32 x 40 in. platens and a 65-ton clamp.

Bekum will also show its new Tri-Ex three-layer multiparison BKB extrusion head, designed to minimize flash production, so blow molders can easily reuse their own regrind while maintaining a given percent post-consumer recycle. The BKB head will run on a BM-602D machine, which features a 30-min. mold change.

An unusual coextrusion sample will also be shown by Battenfeld Fischer--a three-layer automobile airduct with a sound-deadening inside layer of PP foam, outside layer of HDPE, and mid-layer of recycled HDPE commingled with PP-containing part tailings. The duct was blown on the company's VK3-100.

Coextrusion is an option on a line of shuttle-mold extrusion blow machines to be introduced at the show by Techne North America. This new firm, an affiliate of Graham Engineering located at Graham's facilities in York, Pa., will build and service machines in the U.S. from entirely U.S.-sourced components based on designs from Technipack Italia in Italy. (Some years ago, Techne machines were imported to the U.S. by a now defunct entity called Technipack Engineering.) The first U.S.-built Techne machine, the System 5000 S, will be displayed at NPE with in-mold labeling and Moog parison programming and microprocessor controls. The 5000S can blow 6-oz to 6-liter containers and has 24:1 L/D extruder and linear transducers for fast carriage and clamp closing. Base price is about $200,000. Techne will build machines for products up to 8 gal with one to four cavities.


At least two companies are introducing entire new lines of accumulator-head industrial blow molders at NPE. NRM-Steelastic, Columbiana, Ohio, will display the head for its new compact 25-lb machine (see PT, Jan. '91, p. 89). The head features a hydraulically removable spreader. The machine comes with dual servovalve controls for parison programming and ram-cylinder control.

Cincinnati Milacron Plastics Machinery Systems in Cincinnati will show the first of its new Eclipse line of accumulator-head industrial blow molders, presenting an EH-90 model with hydraulic clamp and 90 mm extruder, which carries a 2.5-10 lb head. The new line, constituting a larger size range than the former Hayssen line acquired by Milacron, uses proprietary closed-loop, microprocessor controls (PT, March '91, p. 70). EH-90 costs in the $250,000-$320,000 range.

Incidentally, the Sterling line of industrial accumulator-head machines in Edison, N.J., is back under its own name. The Sterling unit was bought late last year by Davis-Standard Div. of Crompton & Knowles Corp. from APV Chemical Machiner Inc. (PT, Jan. '91, p. 89; Feb. '91, p. 96).


Improved Blow Molding Equipment Co., Inc., Hudson, N.H., will introduce larger extruder options and new 7.5- and 10-lb shot capacities on its standard B30 reciprocating-screw extrusion blow molder. The new models have Barber-Colman MACO 8000 microprocessor controls. The 7.5-lb model on display costs about $280,000. The 10-lb model, with output of 600 lb/hr, costs about $320,000.

Jomar Corp., Pleasantville, N.J., a maker of injection-blow molding machines, will introduce the 115-ton Model 115R, a horizontal-screw version of its 115V vertical plastifier. It's designed for engineering resins like PC and nylon and costs somewhat more than the 115V.


Both NRM-Steelastic and Cincinnati Milacron will demonstrate the very first models of their respective new vertical wheel lines. NRM will run its new 12-station system, utilizing a continuous-wrap parison and reportedly unique mold-closing mechanism. NRM's wheel can use various die head configurations, including dual side-by-side cavitation. It uses NRM-Steelastic's Sentry 1600 microprocessor controls with 100-point parison programming.

Milacron will also run the first of a new line of wheels in development at Millcreek Blow Moulding Systems in Canada when it was acquired by Milacron and moved to Cincinnati (PT, March '91, p. 83). The nine-station wheel has wrapped parisons, automatic trimming, and two of Milacron's new line of single-screw extruders (see Extrusion features). Prices start at $250,000, but a full system with automated downstream handling could run as high as $1.2 million.


Many firms will show improved closed-loop controls, SPC monitoring, and automation at NPE. Battenfeld Fischer will demonstrate proprietary software for MACO 8000 controls on an FHB 106-2 continuous-extrusion shuttle machine, which lets operators watch up to 10 process parameters.

The machine will also have an automatic take-off unit from MTM Systems Inc., Beaverton, Ore. (formerly Machine Tool and Mold, Calif.). The FHB 106-2 will run HDPE half-gallon handleware two-up. The LCT (linear container transfer) takeaway grips a bottle's tail flash, orients by pulling downward to a conveyer, and positions bottles for top deflashing. The LCT, which is designed for odd-shaped bottles on any shuttle blow molder, costs $52,000-55,000.

A new IQ Series of controls and networking components will be introduced by Buhl Automatic Inc., Guelph, Ontario. The products feature extremely rapid communications potential (SPI Protocol optional), modular building blocks of compatible elements that can be assembled in almost any combination, novel all-graphic operator CRT interfaces, and equally novel hand-held control terminals that an operator can carry and plug into various controls (PT, April '91, p. 15).

FGH will demonstrate its Vestech SPC-SQC Systems Monitor for remote control of blow molding and auxiliary equipment and SPC monitoring. The IBM-compatible system has tape backup and line stabilizer with power backup.

Moog Inc., East Aurora, N.Y., will show its new TMC control package for extrusion blow molders. It features multichannel parison control, plus temperature, mold position and speed, push-out speed, and other open- and closed-loop function controls. The program controls up to eight heads with 101-point profile and 10 timer functions. Together with the new package, Moog offers customized hardware and software support.


Wilco Precision Testers, Tuckahoe, N.Y., will show what's said to be the world's first tabletop leak detection system. Compact Wilcomat W-6FT machine is designed for developmental testing of retort trays, cups, pouches, blister packs, vials, and bottles. The single-station unit is semiautomatic, computer-controlled, and interfaces with an RS-232 printer.

Air Logic Power Systems (ALPS), in Milwaukee, Wis., will show for the first time what it calls a "Smart" Test Module (STM) to monitor ALPS leak inspectors. The STM is microprocessor-controlled and will show quick setup and container testing on a new ALPS 110 Series and other leak inspectors. The STM provides a wide variety of test data on causes of reject parts, alerting operators to potential problems. ALPS 110 with STM controls costs from $5,000 to $16,000.

Another new leak detector, Model 209-24A, is being shown by Randolph Machinery Operations Div. of Alcoa Packaging Machinery, Randolph, N.Y. The latest in its 209 Tester series has 24 test heads, programmable controls, proximity-sensor timing, and automatic bad-part rejection. It's designed for high-speed testing of 1-liter blow-molded bottles and costs up to $55,000.

A new, nondestructive wall-thickness gauge is being shown by Elektro-Physik USA, Inc., Arlington Heights, Ill. The Minitest FH 4000 stores and organizes data that can be downloaded to a personal computer. It costs $5500 and includes a small printer.


Watch for the first public display of "jacket mold cooling" for blow molds, developed by Heise Industries, East Berlin, Conn. Jacket cooling has contoured water channels that follow the part shape, instead of straight-drilled lines. Molds for a 6-oz oval bottle will be displayed. According to v.p. Tad Heise, jacket cooling solved a problem of flat bottle panels that sink and make labeling difficult. Heise will also display a new detabber removes bottle tail flash at mold pinchoff.

A first-time exhibitor, Blow Mold Tooling Ltd., Mississauga, Ontario, will show water or oil temperature-controlled core rods for injection-blow molding.
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Title Annotation:National Plastic Exposition '91
Author:Schut, Jan H.
Publication:Plastics Technology
Date:May 1, 1991
Previous Article:What's new in extrusion.
Next Article:What's new in thermoforming.

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