DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY (Oct. 30, 2:20 p.m. EST) — Officials of Husky Injection Molding Systems Inc. want the IndexSB blow molding machine, unveiled at K 2001, to propel the company into the world of single-step PET machines, where the Canadian firm faces tough competition from Japanese companies.
In PET, Husky is the world leader for injection molding machines to make preforms. In the early 1990s, Husky launched an effort to build a two-step blow molding machine, but abandoned the project as too expensive and complicated. The IndexSB is a single-step machine that first injection molds preforms, then blows them into finished bottles, all in a single machine.
“This is really the introduction of single-stage blow molding using Index techhnology,” said David Whiffen, sales manager for the IndexSB.
Bolton, Ontario-based Husky introduced the high-speed Index preform technology the 1997 NPE show in Chicago. A revolving turret block carries sets of preform molds, cycling through the injection press. In Dusseldorf, as onlookers packed around the machine, the IndexSB molded 12 preforms at a time. The preforms were moved by a robot to a carousel-shaped blow molding setup. Bottles were removed at the end and placed on a conveyor belt.
“We've had great response,” Whiffen said during the K show.
At a K show sprinkled with massive, 144-cavity preform molds — including one at Husky's booth — Husky is aiming the IndexSB at lower-volume PET containers such as household cleaning products, cosmetics, health and personal-care, and food and beverage containers. Husky defines “low volume” as fewer than 50 million parts per year.
Molders can produce containers ranging in size from 25 millimeters to 5 liters on a single machine, the company said.
“The IndexSB gives molders this kind of flexibility in one system without having to operate and maintain several different machine models,” Whiffen said.
Husky said molds can be changed quickly, with a complete changeover taking just two hours. Changing only the blow molds takes 15 minutes.
As the revolving mold turret pumps out preforms at a high rate, Husky has designed the blow molding machine with a 2-to-1 ratio of injection to blow mold cavities. That combination reduces the impact of slower injection cycles that can bog down the entire output of a single-step machine. For special applications, the company is working on presses with ratios of 3-to-1 and 4-to-1.
The IndexSB puts Husky squarely into a single-step market dominated by two Japanese companies — Nissei ASB Machine Co. Ltd. and Aoki Technical Laboratory Inc. At their K show booths, officials from both companies declined to comment on the Husky machine.
Whiffen said Husky has sold several IndexSB units, but he declined to provide any details in Dusseldorf.
Meanwhile, Husky also announced that it had inked a deal with Plastic Technologies Inc. of Holland, Ohio, to collaborate to support customers worldwide with new package and process development for PET containers. The deal includes the Asia Pacific region and Husky's technical center in Shanghai, China, which is under development.
The first phase of the collaboration includes setting up a new IndexSB unit at Husky's advanced manufacturing center in Bolton, and at PTI's facility in Ohio.