Uniloy Milacron says it played a key role with the new self-heating can developed by Ontro Inc. of Poway, Calif.
Ontro´s container begins heating beverages or soups when the user removes an aluminum disc at the bottom of the can.
Uniloy Milacron, of Manchester, Mich., developed the mold and prototypes and supplied blow molding machines when Ontro wanted to commercialize the can. A key advantage was that Uniloy´s six-layer BW 3000DE shuttle blow molding machine offered accuracy and repeatability, required to produce the intricate structure. The shuttle design also offered quick mold changes for the initial testing and limited production.
Ontro´s six-layer polypropylene can comes with an internal heat-generation cone filled with crushed limestone. When the disc is removed, water interacts with the limestone and generates heat. Contents of the can reach 80 degrees F after five or six minutes and stay that hot for about 20 minutes.
Original designs called the two main components — the heating cone and the outer shell — to be produced from two different molds. During product development, Uniloy engineers suggested molding the two components from a single parison. The top half of the parison would be the shell of the outer container, and the bottom half is the cone. After molding, the cone is removed and inserted into the shell, then both parts are welded together.
The BW machine´s parison control held tight wall-thickness tolerances and handled the correct pinch-off at the tip of the cone.
Ontro is using the machine to mold containers at its pilot plant in Poway.
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