Kortec Inc. hopes the sale of its first 144-cavity, PET coinjection molding system will open the door for many more sales.
The company announced the sale, to an undisclosed soft drink maker, at an open house and technology summit Oct. 5-6 at its new, 110,000-square-foot headquarters in Ipswich.
The system, called the Ultra 144, will produce 20-gram, multilayer preforms. It also has an inline, optical-inspection and control system that uses lasers to measure the internal barrier resin layer of each preform. It automatically rejects preforms not up to standard.
``It analyzes the position of the preform to stay in the target range for thickness and position. I'm proud that for the first time, every preform is being inspected and the information is being fed back to the machine to control the production of parts,'' said Paul Swenson, president and chief executive officer of Kortec.
He said the control system differs from others in that it makes changes, while other systems record information so that an operator can make changes later.
``By going to 144 cavities, it will drive down the cost of the bottle. Now, multilayer bottles will be cost-competitive with cans for the first time. PET will continue to grow,'' said Mike Urquhart, vice president of bottles and closures at Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. in Bolton, Ontario.
The Kortec system was built on a 600-ton Husky machine and utilizes a Husky robot. It also works on Husky Index and HyPET machines.
The multilayer preforms on the trial machine will be molded into 12-ounce carbonated soft drink bottles and will have a shelf life greater than 16 weeks. They will have nylon barriers and, according to Kortec, will last twice as long as monolayer PET bottles.
Swenson said the systems may appeal to European and Chinese beer bottlers, U.S. soft drink makers and bottlers of fruit juices, tea and tomato-based sauces.
``There's untapped growth in the high-barrier bottles,'' Swenson said.