CHICAGO (June 27, 2:30 p.m. EDT) — Wilmington Machinery showcased a new large-platen structural foam machine called the Lumina, plus a new high-speed blow molding machine to make small bottles.
President Russ LaBelle also is looking into the future by unveiling plans for the NextGen structural foam press, which will be able to mold parts weighing up to 150 pounds. “This is where we would like to go next,” LaBelle said, giving a glimpse inside his drawing board.
The NextGen will feature a two-platen hybrid design that uses a linear-bearing guidance/traverse system — an advance that LaBelle said will reduce friction and give superior guidance. Another new feature: fully retractable tie bars that will be standard.
LaBelle said two-platen designs have not been previously available in structural foam machines.
New at NPE 2006 was the Lumina LP series, which has a shot size of up to 300 pounds. The LP stands for large platen.
The “supersized” platens enable the Lumina to make large parts such as pallets and collapsible shipping bins, construction products such as lattice and decorative trim, outdoor irrigation and electrical boxes, trash containers, outdoor storage sheds, underground parts for drainage and septic systems, and big automotive parts.
A hybrid design means the press uses electric power to run the injection end and hydraulics on the clamp end.
A new feature, Versafil, gives completely independent nozzle control, making it easy to configure the machine for sequential filling.
An improved five-cylinder clamping system makes it easy to convert from structural foam to gas-assist processing. LaBelle said typically structural foam machines have three-cylinder clamps, but as the presses keep getting bigger, Wilmington has gone to a five-cylinder design.
The Lumina comes in clamping forces from 350-2,000 tons.
Wilmington's small bottle series machine is designed for high-speed, high-volume blow molding of single-serve bottles for dairy, food, juice and drinkable yogurt packaged in containers from 6-15 ounces. The economical, simple machines can be built with up to 60 cavities. They can mold up to 30,000 bottles an hour, depending on the container.
Wilmington has downsized the clamp to make even smaller bottles — down to 2.5 ounces, and just 3 inches tall.
In other blow molding news, the company's Series IV is the newest of its high-speed wheel machines. Features include single-point water connections, simplified on-board pneumatic controls, and a motorized mold open/close feature for fast, safe mold changes.