Italian machinery group Sacmi Imola SC (Booth 50020) demonstrated its compression blow forming (CBF) technology for production of small blow molded containers for the first time in North America at NPE2009.
The new technology combines the compression molding process that the firm developed for plastics cap production together with traditional blow molding in a single, integrated in-line sequence.
According to Sacmi closures and container marketing manager Lucca Nanetti, the technology enables producers to reduce container weight, cut scrap, raise product quality and cut manufacturing costs compared to traditional injection blow molding. It can also be competitive with a number of extrusion blow molding designs.
We have not invented anything new, Nanetti said. We have just combined two technologies where we believe we are leaders.
At its booth, Sacmi is using CBF to make an industry-standard pharmaceutical bottle.
The project has been carried out with development partner Alcan Packaging Global Pharmaceutical of Pennsauken, N.J., and the show machine will be going to one of Alcan's packaging plants after NPE closes.
Nanetti said that the North American CBF demonstration is different from earlier outings of the machine in Europe because the focus has been on showing that the technology is capable of producing not only a product, but one with equivalent performance and qualilty to current industry standards.
Sacmi submitted 12-gram pharmaceutical bottles manufactured using the CBF process together with a 14-gram equivalent produced by Alcan Packaging in the same grade of high density polyethylene Continuum DMDA 6620 Health Plus from Dow for blind testing at Whitehouse Analytical Laboratories LLC, in Whitehouse, N.J. The results show equivalence of product and performance, Nanetti said.
We are not saying that the industry should go this way. But we are saying that if you want to go to CBF, you will be within specification, he said.
The CBF technology can be implemented in two design variants: a 16-cavity model capable of producing containers up to 77-millimeter diameter and a 20-cavity version for containers up to 56mm in diameters
Both machine variants share the same basic construction, with a series of mechanically operated compression molds mounted on a rotary carousel which is loaded with a dosed plug of molten polymer to produce a preform molding. The machines can be configured for blow molding or stretch blow molding operation.
Nanetti said the major appeal of the CBF technology is its energy consumption, which is 30-35 percent less than that for injection stretch blow molding machines, depending on the polymer being used. He sees the process being especially well-suited to production of the compact wide-neck containers used by the pharmaceutical sector.
The technology also lends itself to integration into Combo filling lines because the bottles are delivered in line to the filling station, he said. There is no need for any sorting or additional handlling of the containers.
The CBF technology is based on the CCM production machines Sacmi supplies to the plastics cap manufacturing industry. Sacmi showed the latest version of its CCM machine at its booth producing a lightweight water closure in HDPE.
The technology is capable of running closures at speeds of up to 2,000 parts a minute and will be demonstrated at Germany's Drinktec exhibition in September in Munich, according to Nanetti.
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