Italian machinery group Sacmi Imola S.C. demonstrated its Compression Blow Forming (CBF) technology for production of small blow molded containers for the first time in North America at NPE2009 in Chicago.
The new technology combines the compression molding process the firm developed for plastics cap production together with traditional blow molding in an 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.
The project was carried out with development partner Alcan Packaging Global Pharmaceutical of Pennsauken, N.J., and the NPE display machine will be sent to one of Alcan's packaging plants.
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. Nanetti said the results showed equivalence of product and performance.
The CBF technology can be implemented in two design variants: a 16-cavity model capable of producing containers up to 77 millimeters in diameter and a 20-cavity version for up to 56 mm diameters.
Both machine variants share the same basic construction, with a series of mechanically operated compression molds mounted on a rotary carousel that 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. He sees the process being especially well-suited to production of compact wide neck containers for pharmaeuticals.
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 sorting or additional handling.
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