By: David Eldridge
EUROPEAN PLASTICS NEWS
October 18, 2013
DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY — Most exhibitors want only some peace and quiet after hectic days talking to customers at K 2013. But when blow molding machine maker Nissei ASB Machine Co. Ltd. packs up its K 2013 stand (Hall 14/B38), it will look forward to celebrating its 35th anniversary Nov. 8, just two weeks after the show closes.
It has been busy for some while for the Komoro, Japan-based company.
In 2012, Nissei ASB moved its share listing from the Osaka stock exchange to the second-tier market of the Tokyo exchange. Then this year, its stock was elevated to the first-tier market after a stellar performance in which its value has grown by more than 300 percent since listing on the exchange.
"This is a very big achievement," Kota Aoki, president and CEO of Nissei ASB, said at K 2013.
The 35th anniversary should be savored by Aoki's father, Daiichi. Now chairman of the company, Daiichi Aoki was 35 years old when he founded it — making 35 a special number for the family and company.
Nissei ASB's group sales have been growing strongly.
In the fiscal year ended in September, its sales increased by 20 percent to nearly 20 billion yen (150 million euros/$203 million).
And the group is growing through investment. In May this year it started operations at a second plant at the same location in Mumbai, India, as an existing facility that it opened in 1997. Nissei ASB's other manufacturing facility is in Komoro.
The company has invested $30 million in the new Indian plant, which makes molds for preforms.
Aoki said: "The manufacturing quality level is very high in India. So we want to make molds in India and export all over the world. In India, we work three shifts in 24 hours, so we can get shorter manufacturing times and quicker delivery to the customer."
The domestic market in India has also been a great success for Nissei ASB.
"Before we had our factory [in 1997] we had roughly 90 machines installed [at Indian customers' plants]. Now we have more than 1,000 machines installed in India. Of course, this has been very well-timed with the growth of PET consumption in India," said Aoki.
As well as India, Nissei ASB has seen good sales in China and other up-and-coming regions.
"In the future the group wants to target the African market and Russian market," said Aoki.
Economic growth in west and east Africa led the company to open a sales office in Lagos, Nigeria, last year and another in Nairobi, Kenya this year.
At K 2013, Nissei ASB is showing its injection stretch blow molding equipment under the slogan "It's time to step up," which plays on the terminology of its processes.
The company produces machines in three different formats. In one-step machines, finished containers are produced directly from plastic resin in one machine that has four stations. Two different machines are used for two-step molding, which is suited to hot-fill containers: one produces the preform and the other reheats the preform and blows the container.
Its signature technology, the so-called 1.5-step machine, incorporates advantages from both of the first two setups within one machine. In the PF series 1.5-step technology, the machine makes the preform, which is then partially cooled, temperature equalized, reheated and blown in what is termed a "cool parison" system.
The PF series machines have a compact injection clamp system at the preform injection station. The blow station uses fewer blow cavities, which reduces the mold investment cost when molding a variety of bottle shapes from common preforms.
"It's a more compact platform and has lower energy consumption than a two-step machine," said Karel Keersmaekers-Michiels, managing director of Nissei ASB GmbH — the group's European operation based in Düsseldorf.
"The quality is the next point. The machine produces the preform; it doesn't leave the machine for the blowing stage. So there are absolutely no scratches, no deformation, no contamination is possible."
Aoki said, "The biggest advantage is cost of production compared to a two-step system with the same productivity."
At K 2013, there are two versions of Nissei ASB's PF24-8B 1.5-step machine. It is showing the machine with a 24-cavity mold, the highest-output machine it has built so far. This is molding a 500-milliliter water bottle, with a 26-millimeter neck diameter and weighing 9.8 grams, at a rate of 9,000 bottles per hour.
It is equipped with E-tech, a heat equalizing technology the company developed to adjust the temperature of injected preforms to maximize the quality of finished containers.
Nissei ASB said one of the key features of the new PF24-8B machine is that it is capable of being converted to mold in two configurations: either 24 injection and eight blow cavities, or 12 injection and four blow cavities can be utilized for up to 1.5-liter and up to 5-liter bottles respectively.
At the exhibition, the PF24-8B 12-cavity model is producing a 5-liter edible oil bottle in PET. The bottle has a 48mm neck diameter, weighs 83 grams and is being molded at an output of 2,400 bottles per hour.
The company said the machine can accommodate a wide range of container designs, "making it suitable for users who are thinking about future production expansion."
Nissei ASB is debuting its HSB-2M machine at K 2013 — a two-step, reheat stretch blow molding unit with a double blow function. The machine is suitable for producing heat-resistant jars of up to 4 liters.
The heat-resistant PET jars molded by the machine enable either hot-filling or in-container pasteurization of a variety of foodstuffs such as jams, pickles and pasta sauce. During the exhibition a 950ml PET heat-resistant jar, with 82mm neck diameter and weighing 66 grams, will be molded at an output of 1,440 bottles per hour.
The machine on show at K 2013 has been sold to global PET packaging producer APPE of Wrexham, Wales.
The ASB-12M one-step machine, also on display, can mold a full range of container designs for products such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, liquor and foodstuffs, in PET and a variety of other materials such as polypropylene, polycarbonate, polyethylene naphthalate, polystyrene, PPSU, polylactic acid and recycled PET.
The ASB-12M utilizes two servo-driven hydraulic pumps that Nissei ASB says reduce energy consumption by about 20 percent vs. similar, hydraulically operated machines.
With K 2013 taking place a little ahead of Halloween, the company is demonstrating the ASB-12M molding a jack-o'-lantern container at an output of 600 containers per hour. This is a 350ml PET container, with a 61mm neck diameter, weighing 25 grams.