LAS VEGAS (Feb. 27, 12:05 p.m. ET) — With rising energy and material prices, many companies are looking for ways to cut costs without sacrificing quality.
KHS Corpoplast GmbH recently introduced its blocked blow molding system — a combination blower, filler, and capper unit that can be used in PET applications.
The InnoPet Blofill blocked system is designed to increase efficiency and cut costs, said Bj"ern von Lengerke, general sales manager for KHS, during a presentation at The Packaging Conference.
“You can blow your own package and you can fill it right away in line. By doing so, you can reduce the packaging costs and increase the advantages on the logistics side,” he said in a Feb. 7 presentation at the Las Vegas conference.
The system connects the blower directly to the filler and capper unit, cutting out the air conveyer, bottle rinser and other components. Instead, a multi-functional star wheel conveys the bottles from blower to filler by way of a transfer block. The block separates the dry blow molder from the wet filler and includes an airlock with constant air flow.
“You make sure the wet side, the humid side from the filling side isn't entering the stretch blow molder, because the stretch blow molder doesn't like that,” von Lengerke said.
The base system can be used for water or other non-carbonated soft drinks and can make up to 72,000 bottles per hour.
With some modification, the system can also be used for carbonated beverage applications and hot fill applications at 185-190° F.
A cooling system – a star wheel equipped with a set number of spray nozzles – can cool bottles bases from approximately 167° F to 131° F. This eliminates the risk of stress fracturing, which is a common deterrent to using blocked systems, von Lengerke said.
“There are less and less arguments against blocked systems like this,” he said.
The cooling system can be modified based on production needs, is efficient and has low water consumption, he added.
The Blofill blocked system can make several bottle types at maximum speed, giving users a flexibility that was not available with previous blocked models, von Lengerke said. New heating technology also cuts down on start up time and reduces pre-form losses.
Temperature restrictions can make the system difficult for some hot fill applications in the US, but with some adjustments can be used for a variety of juices, teas, and other drinks, he said.
Because blocked systems like the Blofill eliminate the traditional air conveyer, they have several advantages over standard systems, von Lengerke said.
The machine can handle delicate light-weight pre-forms, even in hot-fill applications. The design also saves space and uses less energy, an important consideration in plants in Europe and Asia, and companies can save on human resources costs because the system only requires one operator, he said.
The blocked blower and filler unit may be less efficient than separate blower and fillers, but standard lines are limited by their least efficient component – often the air conveyer, von Lengerke said. In these cases, blocked systems can be more efficient than traditional ones.