R&B Plastics Machinery LLC is building three of its largest-size, indexing-wheel blow molding machines, Rotary 8-15 models, with extra-wide platens.
The Rotary series combines the high-output advantages of wheel machines with the calibrated neck finish of shuttle machines.
During a plant tour Aug. 21 at R&B's Saline headquarters, employees were finishing up the first one. The R8-15 has eight stations with 15 tons of clamping force. The platen size - 32 inches wide by 18 inches high - is a foot wider than the two smaller Rotary series machines, the R4-11 and R8-11.
James Sheely, vice president of business development, said the press will be shipped by the end of September. He declined to identify the customer. The R8-15 will make a three-layer package for a consumer product, he said.
R&B is building the second and third R8-15s now.
The wide-platen press has a higher output than smaller R&B Rotary line machines, because it can hold more mold cavities. It also can blow mold larger products, such as two-up on 2½-gallon containers or four-up on 1-gallon containers. Two-up and four-up refer to the number of extruded parisons on each of the eight molding stations that shuttle past.
The first R8-15 is a two-up machine, with a total of 16 cavities. The second and third blow molding machines will be four-up, so they will have 32 cavities.
R&B said indexing-wheel machines can turn out a huge number of bottles. The RS-15 maxes out at 16,200 bottles an hour when using nine parisons to mold smaller personal-care or beverage bottles on a 9-by-85-millimeter center distance.
Traditional wheel machines turn continuously, as a series of molds grab an extruded parison. In recent years, machinery makers have boosted shuttle-machine output by introducing ``long-stroke'' shuttles with more mold cavities, said R&B President Robert LaGanke. He said R&B's indexing-wheel machines bridge both technologies.
Applications include packaging for household chemicals, personal-care items, food and beverages, and automotive products such as quart bottles for motor oil.
In addition to providing a calibrated neck finish, the indexing-wheel machine can blow mold multilayer bottles.
Sheely added that the press is well-suited to in-mold labeling, since the stations stop before molding, so placement of plastic or paper labels can be more accurate, without interrupting the cycle.
A standard wheel machine turns continuously, so the labels have to hit a moving target.
R&B started selling the four-station indexing rotary in 1994.
Sheely said R&B has sold 17 of the big machines so far. When completed, the first R8-15 press will be able to blow mold up to 4,000 pounds of polyethylene an hour, using three extruders, each with a screw diameter of 4½ inches and a 30-1 length-to-diameter ratio. R&B uses Xaloy Inc.'s new Fusion II screw.
Each molding station stops to accept the continuously extruded parison, which comes down from the top.
Sheely said R&B designed its own parison programmer in-house, to provide for uniform wall distribution and consistent container weight. An Allen-Bradley programmable logic controller runs the blow molding machine.
Another feature is R&B's patented, clamp-mounted X-Y blow pin assembly, mounted on each station, which permits the container necks to be formed in the mold - reducing the time and equipment needed for deflashing and trimming.
Before the mold opens, a take-away device inserts into the neck of the containers. Containers are indexed into the tail-removing device, then they go via a conveyor to a trimming operation, if trimming is needed. The bottles then move to a case packaging system.
R&B is making dual-feed trimmers for all three of the R8-15s.
Tel. 734-429-9421, fax 734-429-1805, email jmsheely@rbplastics machinery.com.