Injection machinery maker Engel Austria GmbH will launch a new all-electric molding machine designed specifically for production of plastics caps and closures at the K show in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Speaking at a briefing at the company's headquarters in Schwertberg, research and development Vice President Georg Steinbichler said the e-Cap machine is the first all-electric type to be designed specifically for cap production.
No other machine in the market can produce caps and closures as economically as the e-Cap, he said.
A 380-metric-ton version of the e-Cap design has been running for some time in Engel's development laboratory at Schwertberg. However, at K 2010, the company will show a larger 420-metric-ton version that it said is more typical of the type of machine required to handle the high production rates and the 96-cavity tooling typical in this sector.
Key to the e-Cap's high production efficiency is a newly designed injection unit with a special screw developed for high- throughput plasticizing of packaging-grade polymers, as well as an uprated ejector system, Steinbichler said.
At the K show, the 420-tonne machine will be fitted with a 96-cavity mold producing 26-millimeter-diameter x-light closures on a 2.6-second cycle time.
According to Engel, the e-Cap has potential to bring faster cycle times and higher outputs to the plastic caps and closures market, which it estimates amounts to some 750 billion molded components a year worldwide.
A major attraction of the machine will be the low energy consumption of its electric-drive technology. Steinbichler said energy typically accounts for 7.1 percent of overall cost of plastic caps and closure production, making it the second-largest production cost after material which accounts for a typical 67.5 percent of the total.
Steinbichler said other significant costs include molds (6.4 percent), machinery (4.8 percent) and personnel/labor (3.5 percent).
Caps and closures represent a fast-growing niche in the overall plastics packaging marketplace.
According to Basingstoke, England-based beverage market and packaging analyst Canadean Ltd., global demand for caps and closures for beverage applications alone has grown at an average rate of close to 4 percent a year since 2002 and even during last year posted an increase of 1.8 percent.
Canadean estimates plastics account for more than 58 percent of global closure demand, excluding can ends.
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