A new company in Jackson, Mich., is making blow molding machines: Open Machine Systems LLC.
Open Machine Systems is marketing reciprocating-screw extrusion blow molding machines. President Bryan Street said the first machine should be completed by mid-January. The machine will be configured to run four 1-gallon polyethylene milk jugs on 8-inch centers.
Street's background includes posts as an engineering manager at Johnson Controls Inc.'s Plastics Machinery Division, the dominant maker of reciprocating blow molding machines. He left JCI in 1992 to become part owner and vice president of engineering at Allied Tool Inc., which makes blow molds in Michigan Center, Mich.
Street said Open Machine Systems' blow molding machines are just that — built around an open-ended design. The basic machine is easily expandable, so a customer can later add configurations of as many as 16 heads, parison programming and other options, such as two rotary actuators and a side-shift arrangement for pre-finishing necks on bottles.
A customer can make those changes without major modifications to the machine, according to the company.
``We've tried to make it very, very flexible. Basically we build the same base machine every time,'' Street said.
Open Machine Systems' blow molding machines are being built at Owen Machine and Tool Inc., a Jackson company that makes custom machines. Forest Owen, owner of Owen Machine, is Street's partner in Open Machine Systems.
Owen Machine employs about 50. Most of its specialty machines do metalworking operations for the auto industry.
Major markets for the company's blow molding machines include high density PE dairy bottles, detergent bottles and industrial containers.
Street said the Open Machine Systems reciprocating line will compete directly with JCI. A spokesman for JCI's Plastics Machinery Division in Manchester, Mich., said the company had no comment on Street's firm.
The Open Machine Systems blow molder uses a Barber-Colman Maco 6500 controller. The machine also has Rexroth hydraulic and pneumatic components. Street said the hydraulic system has enough capacity to run the machine with all potential components that could be added later. Capped-off manifolds are already in place for future add-ons, he said.
To add parison programming, a separate hydraulic system can be bolted in at any time. Many blow molders consider it a must to run parison programming through their own hydraulic systems, rather than the machine hydraulics, according to Street.
Whenever possible, Open Machine has picked standard components, so replacements can be easily obtained worldwide.
The standard machine will be able to blow mold about 500 pounds of material an hour. Shot capacity exceeds 45 ounces. An air-cooled barrel is standard.
The company offers water cooling as an option.
The standard machine has a single cooling system for hydraulics and molds; a dual cooling system is optional.
Platens are controlled by a rotary actuator that is positioned by a linear transducer. Swing arms are standard. A direct load trimmer, which can trim one or two containers at a time, also is standard.
The die head will accept industry standard tooling.
Street said the company has borrowed some machine-design features from injection molding machines. For example, to shorten the blow molding press, the hydraulic cylinder has been moved up in front of the drive motor.