German blow molding machinery maker Bekum Maschinenfabriken GmbH launched its first all-electric blow molding machine at the Dusseldorf K show, targeting high-efficiency packaging production.
The E-Blow design uses a new tie-barless C-frame clamp arrangement and crank-drive technology that is claimed to provide high speeds and very high levels of platen alignment.
Karlheinz Moser, Bekum technical director, said the new clamp arrangement separates clamping actions from alignment control, allowing it to achieve platen parallelism of less than 0.1 millimeter over the full stroke.
The machine uses a new hybrid drive technology developed by Bosch Rexroth AG of Lohr, Germany, for which Bekum has exclusive access in blow molding applications for five years. That all-electric system combines ball-screw high-speed movement with a hydrostatic clamp.
Moser said the new drive provides several benefits including the ability to maintain positional accuracy to within 0.01mm without any mechanical stops. It also requires no energy to maintain the mold in the closed position.
Berlin-based Bekum has one machine in operation with a customer, as well as its own prototype machine. Moser said it already has been established that the drive technology requires almost no maintenance during more than 8,000 hours of operation.
E-Blow machines are available in five clamp variants able to handle molds of between 350mm and 700mm in width. Clamp capacities range from 10-24 metric tons, and the units are available in single- or double-station configurations, with or without Tandem calibration. Existing molds can be accepted.
Prices for the new machines will be similar to their hydraulic predecessors, said Moser.
Bekum expects the new machine to help it increase sales next year. Sales director Andreas Mehnart said the company sold equipment to the value of $55 million in 2009 and is on course for a 10 percent increase this year.
While the company has seen good levels of activity in the consumer packaging sector, Mehnart said it also has seen strong sales in the automotive sector, especially in fuel-tank and filler-pipe applications.
One of its most recent automotive applications went into production at Magna Steyr AG & Co. KG's Austria plant in summer 2010. The BAR 10 D-model robotic three-dimensional production system is making seven-layer fuel-tank filler pipes for the Audi A6.