Hot-runner maker Mold–Masters Ltd. and Abba Systems Ltd., a precision machining company, have joined forces to sell PET preform molds, they announced at the Drinktec trade show in Munich.
The two companies will sell preform molds, under the brand name of iPET Systems, available in two- to 192-cavity molds.
Mold-Masters and Abba Systems offer new molds, conversions, retrofits, refurbishment, spare parts and service from five manufacturing locations and 40 sales and service offices around the world.
The companies announced the iPET Systems venture at the Drinktec trade show, held Sept. 14-19 in Munich.
The iPET Systems business is a direct challenge to the dominant PET preform mold maker, Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd., which also makes injection molding machines, hot runners and robots. Husky has more than a 70 percent worldwide market share for preform molds, and significantly more than 70 percent in North America, according to a company spokeswoman.
Bolton, Ontario-based Husky declined to comment on the Mold-Masters partnership with Abba.
Husky has several smaller competitors on preform molds, but Mold-Masters is the only tooling company large enough to compete with Husky globally, according to Bruce Catoen, Mold-Masters' vice president of marketing and product development.
This is really about having a global alternative. It's a massive market and the industry's been begging for an alternative for years, Catoen said in a telephone interview from Munich.
And nobody has stepped up because there's not been the capacity to fulfill the demand. None of these smaller players have been able to ramp up to meet the demand that the industry demands, outside of Husky. But Mold-Masters can deliver its global footprint and capacity as the No. 1 suppler of hot runners globally.
Mold-Masters has hot-runner manufacturing operations at its headquarters in Georgetown, Ontario, and in Baden-Baden, Germany; Kunshan City, China; São Paulo, Brazil; and Kanagawa, Japan.
Abba is based in Brantford, Ontario, not far from Mold-Masters.
Abba supplies mold-stack components for the PET preform molds, such as cores, cavities and neck rings, as well as post-mold cooling components. Founded in 1993, the employee-owned machining company employs 78 people in an 18,000-square-foot plant. Mold-Masters is much larger, with about 1,000 employees worldwide.
Mold-Masters makes a hot runner that is designed for PET processing, Catoen said. The company also has large-machining capacity, so Mold-Masters will make large plates for the preform molds and post-mold cooling. Final assembly of the mold will be at the Mold-Masters facility closest to the customer.
According to the companies, the iPET preform molds and hot runners are interchangeable with existing PET mold platforms, and they fit in all brands of injection molding presses.
Catoen said the mold partners offer some new technology. The iFlow hot-runner manifold reduces pressure drop, provides more-uniform filling and generates less preferential shear than conventional, gun-drilled manifolds, officials said. Also, the valve gate has been engineered for molding PET, so it generates less PET dust, reduces crystallinity in the gate and makes it easier to do in-press service, they said.
The patented iCool technology allows the preform molds to cool
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