CINCINNATI - Blow molders now have access to an improved automation system with the introduction of a new bottom takeout unit, or BTU, for retrofitting intermittent accumulator-head and reciprocating-screw extrusion machines. Blow Molding Automation Specialists Inc. in Cincinnati recently shipped its first BTUs, which allow for gate-closed operation, freeing the operator for other tasks. John F. McNamara, president of BMASI, said BTU offers the first step toward complete automation for blow molders.
BTU eliminates erratic gate opening times, provides increased production rates and improves part quality through consistent cycles, according to McNamara. The unit is designed for difficult-to-automate machines due to tie-bar, cylinder-rod and other obstructions through the use of cooled picker ``fingers'' that move into access notches at the bottom of the closed mold.
Mold opening initiates rotation of as much as 120 degrees, and activates an adjustable-point ``flying release,'' which lays the part and parison on either level or inclined take-away conveyors.
BMASI began operations in 1993, shipping its first auto-mation equipment that year.
In addition to the BTUs, the company manufactures custom modular finishing systems to give blow molders an alternative to hand finishing.
``When you go into most blow molding facilities, you still see people standing around with knives and hammers,'' McNamara said.
He said that with the number of carpal tunnel and repetitive motion injuries, the risk to workers using the knives and the increasing cost of worker's compensation insurance, the blow molding industry must auto-mate.
McNamara's company builds extensive modular finishing systems that perform multiple functions for many large companies.
McNamara said that blow molding ``lags way behind injection molding when it comes to automation, but it's a growing industry and must automate operations to capture its share of the market.''