Hekuma robot system produces petri dishes
Hekuma GmbH has developed a special takeout robot for the production of petri dishes.
The automation works with cycle times down to four seconds, with very gentle handling of the petri dishes into the process flow. Another feature is a high degree of flexibility, to handle different product dimensions and packaging sizes.
The high-speed, lateral takeout robot can be designed for 12-by-12 cavity molds for the lid and dish.
Hekuma said careful handling is important, since petri dishes are made from brittle, easily breakable polystyrene. So the robot does not grip the covers and dishes mechanically, but instead picks up using fixtures that are tailor-made to their shape and kept in place by vacuum.
Changeovers are fast by using end-of-arm tooling with quick couples, as well as quick connectors for electrical and vacuum circuits.
Depending on the number of cavities, the new automation system guarantees the production of up to 7,200 sets of petri dishes per hour, including packaging.
Hekuma is based in Eching, Germany. It is represented in North American by Autotec Inc. of Sylvania, Ohio.
Tel. 419-885-2529, e-mail us.sales @hekuma.com.
AIS detector tests for container leaks
AIS Container Handling of Dutton, Mich., has released the next generation of its rotary leak detectors for plastic container manufacturing.
The leak detector can test as many as 600 bottles per minute. It is available in multiple configurations, ranging from four to 36 test stations.
Features include Windows-based graphical user interface, built-in diagnostics for troubleshooting and an Ethernet connection for networked and remote monitoring.
Tel. 616-554-1000, fax 616-554-1008, e-mail [email protected] containerhandling.com.
MeltFlipper helping Maxijet tweak molds
Maxijet Inc., which molds lower-water-volume irrigation products, turned to the MeltFlipper melt rotation process from Beaumont Technologies Inc. to help solve molding problems.
Maxijet spray nozzles are used by citrus growers and retailers like Lowes, Ace Hardware and True Value.
Product and color variations are a challenge - the Maxijet products come in eight different part styles, each with eight different nozzle configurations, and is molded in eight colors. In the past, Maxijet had to perform a unique process setup for each configuration, to avoid problems such as flash, sink marks and short shots.
The company was forced to block certain mold cavities and this added up to constant adjustments and tweaking, according to a news release from Beaumont Technologies. After installing the MeltFlipper, the molder has cut scrap by as much as 33 percent, and reduced maintenance and downtime, the release said.
Dundee, Fla.-based Maxijet is owned by the Thayer family, a fifth generation of Florida citrus growers.
Beaumont is in Erie, Pa.
Tel. 814-899-6390, fax 814-899-7117, e-mail [email protected]ntinc .com.
Welex system makes high-barrier sheet
Welex Inc. has introduced what officials of the Blue Bell, Pa., company call an easy system for making high-barrier plastic sheet.
Welex has perfected a simple laminating system that allows the conversion of a single-layer sheet line to produce barrier sheet, by adding a separately produced, high-barrier film to one side of the sheet.
The barrier film is produced by the blown film process, where such films are made on lines that use three to five extruders.
According to Welex, film lamination on sheet lines has long been done by introducing the film at the first nip near the die. But that can destroy the film's barrier properties if a bank arises at this point, although it is not readily visible, the company said.
The patent-pending Welex innovation applies the film using a cooled pressure roll, after the sheet has passed through the first nip. At that point, the sheet is formed and is flat, so there is no danger of a bank formation. The sheet remains hot enough for film adhesion, because it has only had brief contact with the upper roll of the three-roll stack, according to Welex.
The package can be retrofitted to existing sheet lines. It includes an overhead, tension-controlled, two-roll film payoff, followed by some guiding rolls and an expander to eliminate wrinkles before the film is applied to the sheet on the middle roll of the stack.
Usually, the barrier film includes a core of ethylene vinyl alcohol, surrounded by two adhesive layers, which are in turn surrounded by two polyolefin layers that can be heat-set. Since the sheet usually is thermoformed into the package, the residual scrap will be recycled back into the base sheet layer.
The adhesive content can cause severe die buildup, but Welex said that is easily corrected by using a small, two-layer virgin material coextruder on the line. This assures that the die is always in contact with virgin material.
Tel. 215-542-8000, fax 215-542-9841, e-mail [email protected]
Brampton discloses 11-layer line's design
Brampton Engineering Inc. has released more details about the 11-layer blown film line, first announced during the K 2007 show last year in Dusseldorf, Germany.
The company in Brampton, Ontario, is not disclosing the latest customer.
The line has an 11-layer SCD-brand multilayer streamlined coextrusion die, surrounded by 11 extruders.
Simply arranging the 11 extruders required expertise. Brampton Engineering ended up piggybacking extruders, with one mounted on top of another.
The layout ended up being two piggybacked setups, plus seven normal extruders, to create a radial configuration similar to a nine-layer line, but with two of the extruders being doubles.
Tel. 905-793-3000, fax 905-793-1753.
Leistritz twin screw makes minibatches
American Leistritz Extruder Corp. has introduced a Nano-16 twin-screw extruder that - as the ``nano'' name implies - simulates the continuous extrusion process for tiny batches of 20-100 grams.
The Nano-16 comes with a microplunger feeder. Other features include segmented screws and barrels, a stainless-steel process section and an advanced package for control and data acquisition.
Leistritz claims the extruder has the lowest free volume available for a twin-screw extruder that is scalable to production- class machinery.
The patent-pending microplunger feeder is a piston that slides within a stainless-steel tube filled with a batch of material. A screw pushes the piston upwards for precision feeding at extremely low rates, according to the company.
Tel. 908-685-2333, ext 612, e-mail [email protected]
Ball keeping wine fresh with coating
Ball Corp. is now making standard, 750-milliliter PET wine bottles for the North American market using barrier technology from Plasmax GmbH of Hamburg, Germany.
Earlier this year, Salzgitter AG bought Plasmax and the Corpoplast PET bottle-related machinery business from SIG Holdings AG.
The Plasmax coating process involves applying an ultrathin, crystal-clear, impermeable and nonreactive layer of silica to the inner surface of the bottle. It prevents oxygen permeation and the loss of carbon dioxide.
According to Plasmax, Ball has been coating 187-ml wine bottles since 2006 for the U.S. market using a Plasmax 12D machine. Ball recently received an order from Artisan Wine Co. to produce 750-ml PET containers for semillon/ chardonnay and cabernet/shiraz wines, in the company's Painted Turtle brand.
Tel. 49-40-6790-7364, fax 49-40-6790-7353.
Bekum introduces HDPE replacement
Berlin-based blow molding machinery maker Bekum Maschinenfabriken GmbH and Swedish resin maker Polykemi AB of Ystad have created a new bioplastic made of a polyethylene with calcium carbonate filler.
Called EcoScan, the material replaces conventional HDPE for blow molded food containers.
The first fully electric blow molding machine, the Eblow 206 D, is being tested as a dual-station unit for three-layer coextrusion of EcoScan.
Bekum delivered a six-layer BM 206 DL machine to German pharmaceuticals company Gaplast GmbH before the Interpack trade show in April in Dusseldorf, Germany. Gaplast ordered a dual-station BM 206 DL with four extrusion heads and six extruders.
Gaplast is making pharmaceutical bottles with a bag-in-box design.
The machine features a centrally arranged extrusion head. To meet quality requirements for pharmaceutical bottles, Bekum engineers installed an additional bobbing hydraulic on the extruder for optimized control over the parison.
The extrusion was combined into a spiral distributor for the bottle - a side-fed die head with a heart-shaped, curved tube for the inside bag.
The company's U.S. operation, Bekum America Corp., is in Williamston, Mich.
Tel. 517-655-4331, fax 517-655-4121, e-mail [email protected] .com.
Intravis improves on CapWatcher camera
Intravis GmbH of Aachen, Germany, has introduced a vision inspection system, CapWatcher II, for examination of caps for plastic containers.
Intravis has upgraded the camera technology, and added new operational software.
CapWatcher II inspects up to 144,000 closures an hour for nearly all visible errors. It can detect invisible microholes by using a high-voltage inspection method.
The unit uses a color camera to examine the inside of closures, detecting flaws in areas such as geometry, ovality, color deviation, contamination and liner integrity quality of the tamper band, if one is present. A second module uses three cameras for the outside of the cap for common flaws like closure height and spots.
A third module reads mold cavity numbers, sorts caps according to cavity number and gives additional cavity-related statistics.
An optional high-voltage module identifies and rejects closures with microholes.
The German company has a North American subsidiary, Intravis Inc. in Norcross, Ga.
Tel. 770-662-5458, e-mail [email protected]
McCormick markets Amcor liquor bottle
McCormick Distilling Co. has commercialized what it claims is the first liquor bottle with a built-in handle - a 1.75-liter PET vodka bottle made by Amcor PET Packaging.
No one had created a commercial PET liquor bottle with a handle before because of the difficulty of blow molding around a separate grip, the firm said.
``With a lot of competition in the value-priced category, we were looking for a way to differentiate ourselves,'' said Jim Zargo, McCormick Distilling's president and chief operating officer.
Amcor's project engineer, Jonathan Zjarman, said the grip must be placed perfectly inside the mold. A proprietary reheat-blow molding machine was built for the project.
Amcor blow molds the bottle at its factory in Nicholasville, Ky.
After two years of development, the bottle was launched at the beginning of the year. McCormick Distillers developed a special Web site heralding the handled bottle.
McCormick Distilling is headquartered in Weston, Mo. Amcor PET Packaging is based in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Tel. 734-302-2802, e-mail [email protected]
Motan's large dryers use very little energy
Motan Inc. has developed large-scale dryers - the Luxor 1800 and 2400 - to handle big injection molded parts and some extruded parts that, in many cases, must be pre-dried.
The Luxor 2400 is Motan's biggest ever, able to handle throughput of up to 4,400 pounds of material per hour.
Motan of Plainwell, Mich., said the big dryer uses the lowest possible amount of energy, thanks to heat recovery systems in the process and regeneration circuit, load-dependent regeneration and other elements of Motan's patented ETA-process technology.
Tel. 269-685-1050, e-mail [email protected] motan-inc.com.
Kamweld introduces new plastic welders
Kamweld Technologies Inc. said its new Fusion plastic welders, dubbed the FW-5 series, include four models that offer features like rapid heating of in-line air and preset temperature limits that prevent overheating without air flow.
Two models include built-in air compressors for using the welder off-site.
A digital temperature controller displays and maintains the air-flow temperature within 2° F.
Prices start at $890.
Kamweld is in Norwood, Mass.
Tel. 781-762-6922, fax 781-762-0052.
Inkcups Now's laser has add-on modules
Inkcups Now Corp. of Danvers, Mass., said its Cobalt 1000 laser comes with add-on components such as a linear motion table and a rotary engraving module.
The linear motion table, for automated laser etching of small items and large images, has a 20-inch stroke and fully programmable indexing positions. The rotary module is for handling round or cylindrical parts such as pens, mugs, flashlights and tubes. It is a programmable, servo-controlled motor.
In other news, Inkcups Now has opened a direct sales office in Tucson, Ariz. A bilingual crew offers sales and technical support in English and Spanish.
Pressure transmitter improves linearity
Dynisco LLC has improved its SPX line of pressure transmitters with the SPX-L, which uses a newly developed technique to reduce the effects of nonlinearity in a measurement by a sensor.
SPX-L improves SPX linearity by 80 percent, according to the company. Dynisco added a feature called DynaLarity, which uses a unique algorithm.
In other news, Dynisco introduced a temperature indicator, Model 1392, billed as a very stable instrument designed for demanding plastic extrusion applications.
Dynisco is based in Franklin, Mass.
Tel. 508-541-9400, fax 508-541-6206, e-mail [email protected]
IQMS is integrating third-party software
IQMS Inc. has started to integrate Spreadsheet Server from Global Software Inc. into the IQMS enterprise resource planning software.
The new product will be called EnterpriseIQ Spreadsheet Server. IQMS clients will be able to retrieve ``live'' general ledger data from an Excel spreadsheet, using their existing IQMS financial software package.
IQMS is based in Paso Robles, Calif. Global Software is in Raleigh, N.C.
Tel. 805-227-1122, fax 805-227-1120.
AccuNip enhances nip station operation
AccuNip nip stations from PFE Rolls Inc. are now available with welded aluminum frames, reducing the price, cutting lead times and making maintenance easier.
The nip stations are used for laminating, thermal bonding, web heating/cooling, pulling and squeezing.
The aluminum frame models offer nip loads up to 2,000 pounds.
PFE Rolls is based Orange, Mass.
Tel. 978-544-7803, fax 978-544-6748, e-mail [email protected]
Thermo Fisher touts spectrometer for labs
Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. is billing its DXR SmartRaman spectrometer as the first Raman analyzer designed specifically for the needs of quality control labs.
The instrument simplifies Raman spectroscopy, according to the supplier in Madison, Wis. It can verify material identification and composition, and can even distinguish between polymorphs, the company said.
The DXR SmartRaman gives highly reproducible, highly specific characterization of materials directly through glass and plastic packaging. It includes a new laser power regulator, adding a new dimension to the reproducibility of results for Raman.
Thermo Fisher Scientific has also launched the DXR Raman microscope.
Tel. 800-532-4752, e-mail [email protected]
Xaloy's mixer blends fillers and additives
Xaloy Inc. said its nXmix operates in-line with a conventional extruder to disperse and distribute fillers and additives at low levels of shear, temperature and energy use.
The nXmix is a two-stage device. The first stage uses an incised rotor to generate high-sheer mixing of very short duration to break up material and disentangle polymer chains to reduce viscosity. In the second stage, material passes through a special rotor and stator, each with a multitude of pockets arranged in a helical configuration. This produces an elongated flow and mixes thoroughly.
The product announcement follows a licensing agreement between Xaloy of New Castle, Pa., and Stratek Plastic Ltd. of Wallingford, Conn. Stratek has patents over its technology.
``With this agreement, Xaloy assumes exclusive responsibility for manufacture and worldwide marketing of equipment for this advanced extrusion mixing technology,'' said Walter Cox, Xaloy's chief executive officer. ``We think it has enormous potential.''
According to Tim Womer, Xaloy's chief technical officer, nXmix is very good for reducing particle size, exfoliating agglomerates such as nanoclays or clumps of pigments, reducing the degradation of heat-sensitive fillers such as wood fibers of PVC, and dispersing conventional additives, even at very low addition levels.
It works with standard single-screw and twin-screw extruders.
``It opens the way to in-line compounding of highly filled materials in making blown film, sheet, pipe and profiles with single-screw extrusion,'' Womer said. The nXmix system also works in traditional compounding, such as pelletizing and masterbatch production, he said.
Tel. 800-897-2830, e-mail [email protected]
RJG putting version of products on Web
RJG Inc. announced that online versions of several of its products are now available.
RJG's A. Routsis Associates Inc. division released the online Intelligent Molder training series. The interactive training parallels the curricula covered by RJG's Master Molder certification series.
Traverse City, Mich.-based RJG also has launched the online injection molding gap analysis test for free. The test helps users evaluate a machine's strengths and weaknesses in the following areas: injection molding safety, molding and machinery, processing, plastic materials, tooling, process controls, and quality and economics.
After completing the test, RJG immediately sends a report to the user's e-mail address and gives detailed recommendations for training.
RJG also said its eDart training now is available over the Internet.
In other news, RJG has developed a press-fit mold-cavity temperature sensor. The sensor works with the eDart process control system to help diagnose processing problems relating to temperature issues.
Tel. 231-933-8136, fax 231-947-6403, e-mail [email protected]
Hot-runner control keeps voltage even
Incoe Corp. said its Microcom hot-runner temperature controller sports a patented voltage correction technology for reliable and uninterrupted operation. It automatically maintains constant voltage output to the hot-runner system, even when line voltages fluctuate.
The modular control system comes with up to 48 zones. Added features include the selection of two ``soft start'' routines, adjustable temperature set-point limits, preset restart procedures and a lock feature for security.
Incoe is based in Troy, Mich.
Tel. 248-616-0220, fax 248-616-0225, e-mail [email protected]
Drymax line offers energy use rating
Wittmann Inc. has created a testing program to establish energy ratings for each of its Drymax twin-bed desiccant dryers. The auxiliary equipment maker also has designated the Drymax line ready for bioresin.
After years of research, Wittmann said it has developed a standardized rating method for dryers, based on test conditions that give repeatable results for the actual amount of energy consumed.
Wittmann defines the actual energy rating as the basic energy consumption per mass flow of air.
Once tested, every dryer model will be labeled with an energy sticker that shows the measured test results in terms of kilowatt hour per unit weight of dry air.
The Drymax line's bioresin readiness highlights its ability to maintain constant, low temperature operation with no temperature spikes, and a constant low dew point, the company said.
Wittmann is based in Torrington, Conn.
Tel. 860-496-9603, ext. 175, fax 860-482-2069, e-mail smorneault @wittmann-ct.com.