CHICAGO (June 29, 2:30 p.m. EDT) — Blow molding machinery makers are focusing on an end market they hope will push growth for coextrusion blow molding machines.
Under new regulations pushed by the Environmental Protection Agency for small fuel tanks — think of those used in golf carts, lawn mowers, watercraft, snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles — standards are tightening, and machinery officials hope they can push processors to think of their equipment for solutions.
At Kautex Maschinenbau GmbH, officials talked about the firm's KBSmart 61 Co-Ex. According to Kautex, six-layer coextruded fuel tanks of polyethylene with an ethylene vinyl alcohol barrier layer have been used in automotive fuel-delivery systems all over the world. But the more-stringent regulations for evaporative emissions of hydrocarbon from fuel systems of nonroad vehicles and equipment now are leading to the application of six-layer technology for plastic fuel tanks.
“This is our attempt to accommodate the objectives of the smaller fuel-tank manufacturers that have cost restrictions and have different sizes of tanks,” said Wolfgang Meyer, president of Kautex Machines Inc. in North Branch, N.J.
The new machine is available as a single- and double-station machine with stationary clamps and proven parison transfer via six-axis robot.
“In today's market, you can't be everything to everybody anymore,” Meyer said June 19 at NPE 2006 in Chicago. “You have to really focus on those markets where you have an edge over competitors, or where you will be able to build an edge over competitors. You can't just compete with everything. There are certain products and we have to admit this, where other companies are doing a good job, and there are certain products and markets where we do an excellent job. So I see it as a need to define which markets you want to be in.”
For Bekum America Corp., officials are letting customers know that they've put a large six-layer coextrusion development machine in its applications lab in Williamston, Mich.
The $1.5 million machine was on display at Bekum's NPE booth; officials then moved it to the demo lab.
“Companies have no way of verifying solutions,” said Gary Carr, Bekum's general sales manager, in a June 19 interview at Bekum's booth. “Our goal will be to conduct quarterly coextrusion training.”
Bekum was using these facts to tout the benefits of coextrusion: 82 percent of the world's automotive fuel tanks are presently in coextruded plastic. Coextrusion structures and materials can be tailored to address the current interest in flexible fuels such as E85, Carr said.