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Precision and cost-saving options from custom-built systems

Source:International Plastics News for     Date:2021-03-08
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The global market for blow moulding machines has sustained its growth momentum, with anticipated CAGR of 3.8% up to 2026. Demand for blow moulded plastic products remains high, according to a Transparency Market Research report which cited that blow moulding is the most flexible process as compared to other moulding methods. It is widely utilised in industries such as automotive, medical, packaging, food & beverage (F&B), and others. The report further said that the COVID-19 pandemic has doubled the demand for blow moulding, flexible packaging, and beverage machineries. As consumer demand for hand soaps, sanitizers, and other cleaning products rises, as well as F&B products in containers, the opportunities for those supplying blow moulding systems have expanded. 


All-electric models gain acceptance

As manufacturers of plastic products recognise the importance of cost-saving features in their production operations, the popularity of all-electric blow moulding machines has increased. In response to this trend, producers of blow moulding systems are launching all-electric models and stressing their advantages.


One company, Magic, has been known for its all-electric blow moulding machines, which are the result of years of experience and research and development. For Magic, the advantages brought by the all-electric technology have no end, such as 50%+ less energy consumption than the older technologies, 70% less maintenance costs, and less time spent on required machine maintenance. Through Teleservice, Magic has enabled its customers to connect the machines to the internet for remote software updates.


Magic ME-T50-1000D is an all-electric extrusion blow moulding system.

Magic’s jerrycan machine, model ME-T50-1000D, is said to be the largest all-electric extrusion blow machine in the world. It has 55-tonne clamps and 1-metre stroke. The model uses 50% less energy than a hydraulic machine and requires 70% less maintenance. An even larger T60 size is available with 69-tonne clamps and 1.6-m stroke. The machine can produce up to 50-litre containers and offers good repeatability and cycle-time consistency. Magic machines are ideal for the processing of HDPE and high-molecular-weight PE.


The series of the large ME machines is undoubtedly unique in the world, because for each model Magic has several versions available in order to meet customer’s needs, including machines with long-stroke (LS). The company has spent over 15 years of research and development in the all-electric technology in order to achieve 500 kN of clamping force and long strokes up to 1400 mm, to run for example in 16+16 cavities with 75 mm centre-distance. 


It was in 1997 when the first all-electric machines was introduced to the market, starting a new era of intelligent, connected and environmentally-friendly machine. The first fully electric machine, “Baby Electric” (now ME-100/DE), was brought into the market, mainly for small pharmaceutical and cosmetic containers, generating a huge deal of interest, especially among companies manufacturing their products in sterile rooms.


Today, Magic offers customised solutions available for what concerns components and options. For example, deflashing on the mould, view-stripe, bottle pick and place robot, bottle control through integrated vision system, IML and so on. In terms of energy saving, the medium to large machines are known for reduced energy consumption, with several remarkable details added. For example, all Magic ME machines are equipped with a patented device to recover the electric power during the braking phases. The energy accumulated in the braking phase of the motor is later regenerated and put back into the circuit. 


Revolutionary rotary wheel system

The Graham Engineering Revolution MVP® rotary wheel blow moulding system provides the  precision and output of a Graham wheel with the flexibility of a shuttle. The Revolution MVP system is reconfigurable between 12-24 stations and is able to produce bottles up to 16” (41cm) tall, capable of varying bottle height up to 28% within a configuration. It is integrated with Quick-Change™ moulds and capable of up to 8 RPM and 11,520 BPH (single parison) - 46,080 BPH (dual parison, neck-to-neck).


The revolutionary modular clamp design combined with the variable pitch feature form the basis for the Revolution MVP. Combined with the Quick-Change mould system, this radical design offers the precision and output expected from a Graham wheel along with the flexibility and ability to reconfigure of a shuttle. The machine also allows for change out moulds and/or height within a configuration to run a different bottle, or change the wheel to a new configuration with a different number of stations.  It has also become possible to configure from 12 to 24 stations. With the Variable Pitch feature, there are 100 possible positions, all on the same platform.



Graham Engineering Revolution MVP® rotary wheel blow moulding system 


A key Graham Engineering innovation at the heart of the Revolution MVP is the modular clamp station. Each clamp station is independent of the others and all forces are self-contained within the clamp. Water manifolds through the platens and individual clamps can be removed for offline maintenance to reduce downtime. This modularity enables the number of clamp stations to vary from 12 to 24. This in turn enables the configuration of the wheel to vary based on application and bottle height.


While the modular clamp design enables the number of stations to vary from 12 to 24 on the same platform, the variable pitch innovation creates a multiplier effect enabling 100 possible positions. This not only yields a range of bottle sizes up to 16” in height to be run on a single platform, but also provides flash optimisation at each bottle height, particularly important for multi-layer applications. Each clamp station is adjustable from 39” to 47” in 1” increments. It takes ~5 minutes per clamp station to vary the pitch in a simple process whereby bolts are loosened on each side of the clamp, the radius is adjusted inward or outward, the pin reset and the bolts retightened.


Although Revolution MVP offers unprecedented flexibility, it can be custom configured for a range of applications. The system can comprise up to 10 extruders in sizes from 40mm up to 175mm for monolayer, trilayer, multilayer coex, or view stripe applications. Easy  to  start  up,  the  Revolution  MVP  produces  good  bottles in 4-5 revolutions with a stabilised process in 10-15 minutes. Single- or dual-sided IML is an available option at rates up to 120 BPM. Takeout options include rotary or star wheel. Integration with downstream components is carefully engineered to maximise the throughput and quality of the desired end product.


The system features the award-winning Graham Engineering XBM Navigator® control system with a 15” touchscreen operator panel.  Special features include: intuitive navigation; integrated screen map and help pages; 2 keystrokes maximum to any screen; closed-loop extruder control; operator-adjusted speeds; set value change recording by operator; alarm history reports; integrated trending package; internet connection for remote support and trouble-shooting; security control via password; integrated recipe manager; and detailed machine manual accessible via HMI.


With more than 400 solutions installed in customer locations in 20 countries, Graham Engineering Corporation offers wheel & industrial extrusion blow moulding solutions. The company provides package design, development & plastic processing expertise along with monolayer, multilayer and barrier extrusion blow moulding equipment  as well as technology upgrades.


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