DUSSELDORF, GERMANY - Italian injection press maker BMB SpA is entering the North American market for PET preform molding in a joint venture with Electra Form Inc., a mold maker in Vandalia, Ohio. Under the agreement, described by an Electra Form official as a ``handshake deal,'' BMB will supply injection presses to Electra Form, which makes the molds. Electra Form has developed a method that removes the preforms from the mold by robot and cools them, cutting cycle time by cooling the preforms outside of the mold.
BMB was founded 25 years ago to make high-speed packaging machines, said Marco Bugatti, a member of the family that owns the Brescia company. BMB makes about 300 injection presses a year, mostly within Italy.
BMB is hoping the deal with Electra Form can help it export more machines, Bugatti said at BMB's K'95 booth. Preform mold cavity sizes will range from eight to 96 cavities.
``What we have, we believe, is a very good system, very reliable with good performance,'' Bugatti said.
Randy Heimbuch, Electra Form sales manager, said his company looked at other injection press suppliers.
``No other supplier was interested in the total, turnkey approach,'' he said.
The BMB press uses a patented dual-injection system that has two injection units joined by a common injection nozzle with a hydraulically operated shut-off valve. One injection unit plasticizes the resin while the other unit injects.
Heimbuch detailed Electra Form's robotic cooling cell at Plastics High Performance Packaging in Dusseldorf. After the mold cycle ends, a vacuum pump pulls preforms into receiver tubes on a side-entry robot, with end-of-arm cooling. The preforms are cooled for nearly one cycle, then transferred to the cooling cell, a device that uses water-cooled tubes.
The cooling cell has a number of chambers, moving the preforms along to a conveyor. The cell allows for seven to 10 cycles of post-mold cooling - up to three full minutes of cooling time outside the mold.
The robotic system is all-electric except for a vacuum pump.
Heimbuch said the system can cut cycle times by 1.5-3.5 seconds. The modular system can be retrofitted on other types of injection molding machines. It is not exclusive to BMB presses.