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Uniloy, Big 3 announce partnership

By: Bill Bregar

May 23, 2014

TECUMSEH, MICH. — A new partnership between Uniloy and mold supplier Big 3 Precision Products Inc. — to develop hot-runner and coinjection technology in the injection blow molding segment — shows how Uniloy’s parent company, Milacron LLC, can bring together its Mold-Masters and Kortec businesses to bear on blow molding, company officials said.

Uniloy and Big 3 announced the tooling partnership May 22 during a news conference at Uniloy’s new laboratory in Tecumseh.

The injection blow molding technical center will be located at Big 3’s plant in Millville, N.J.

“We want to take the black magic out of the injection blow molding process,” said Eric Hallstrom, sales manager in charge of new business development.

Big 3 and Uniloy have already put together a work cell in its Abramo Division plant in Holliston, Mass., which focuses on injection blow, said Mark Abramo, sales manager. That cell includes equipment from Uniloy, Mold-Masters and Kortec. The operation will be moved to Millville-and greatly expanded there, Abramo said.

The technical center in Millville will house two Uniloy blow molding machines. A monolayer UIB 199-3 hybrid injection blow machine, equipped with a 20-cavity test mold, equipped with Mold-Masters’ Axiom hot runners, will run pill tablet bottles. Another Uniloy injection blow molding press will be used develop conjection molded applications, using Mold-Masters and Kortec technology, including Mold-Masters’ E-Multi auxiliary injection unit.

Officials said the partner companies have already developed the first commercially available system with hot runners and coinjection molding.

Abramo said coinjection and hot runners both have a bright future in injection blow molding — used to produce small bottles for personal care and medical products on high-cavitation molds, up to 20 or 30 cavities. It can be a challenge to make hot-runner manifolds for those types of molds, he said, adding that Big 3 will rely on expertise from Mold-Masters and Kortec.

Coinjection molding is often used to create a barrier layer or to bury lower-priced regrind or recycled plastic between two layers of virgin resin, to reduce costs. Abramo and Hallstrom said coinjection can reduce costs in other ways, such as bottles with thinner walls and faster cycle times.

Coinjection also could be used to make injection blow molded containers for medical fluids, in hospitals or doctor’s offices, Abramo said.

The Millville tech center will do mold testing and be a customer showroom.

Milacron, the machinery manufacturer based in Cincinnati, bought hot runner major Mold-Masters in 2012, and earlier this year, acquired Kortec, a coinjection specialist. Milacron also owns DME, which makes mold bases and mold components.

Milacron executives have said they want to expand the technologies in blow molding, working with the Uniloy operation.

At the news conference, Uniloy showed off its new 15,000-square-foot laboratory, running two injection stretch blow molding machines and a continuous extrusion blow molder. Hallstrom said Uniloy invested about $3.5 million in the lab and classroom, dubbed Uniloy University.