Mold-Masters Ltd. is taking aim at the packaging industry with technology that will allow molders to produce caps and closures with an integrated barrier — opening the potential for more adoption of plastics to replace glass and metal containers.
At the recent NPE2012 show, Mold-Masters was running its Iris technology, at its exhibit booth, as part of a work cell capable of producing a high density polyethylene cap coinjected with an ethylene vinyl alcohol barrier.
The complete production system, which integrated a combination of Mold-Masters' equipment, meets requirements for hot-filled containers, according to the company.
The one-process system is faster than post-injection application of barrier liners, which requires secondary processing.
“This could be used in any tomato-based product like [pasta] sauce, or for baby food jars,” said Bruce Catoen, chief technology officer. “Baby food is the holy grail.”
Mold-Masters used its processes on an Engel press with a 16-cavity closure mold made by F&S Tool Inc., IMD detection equipment, material handling supplied by Piovan SpA and resin from PolyOne Corp. The caps were made using five different Mold-Masters' processes.
The Iris coinjection nozzle iFlow manifold technology combined melt streams of HDPE and EVOH to provide a balanced fill. An E-Drive valve-gate control opened and closed valve-gate pins, and an M2 TempMaster controlled hot-runner temperature. An E-Multi auxiliary injection unit was mounted on the mold close to the gates.
Those core technologies have been at the center of Mold-Masters' global growth, according to CEO Bill Barker. Mold-Masters has seen steady growth each year since the last NPE, with the strongest showing in Asia, but continuing growth in Europe as well, Barker said.
The company recently completed a $20 million expansion of its hot-runner plant in Kunshan, China. In Germany, Mold-Masters is boosting its plate machining capacity at its Baden-Baden plant. When the project is completed, that site will be capable of producing 3 million euros' ($4 million) worth of plate machining per year.
The company expects those expansion trends to continue, especially in light of macroeconomic changes including a growing middle class in Asia, a continuing shift to plastics for producing lighter-weight automotive parts, and greater demand for health-care and medical products and devices as the baby boomer generation ages.
A focus on higher-technology production in established markets — with thin walls, engineering resins and coinjection using multiple materials — also brings increased need for key Mold-Masters products in hot runners, control systems and manifolds, the company said.
Mold-Masters recently signed an exclusive deal with Ritemp Technologies of Edwardstown, Australia, to sell its YGrene evaporative cooling technology for hot-runner applications in the Americas.
The Ritemp system can provide faster cycle times with less energy, reduced water usage and uniform cooling, according to the company.
Mold-Masters, headquartered in Georgetown, Ontario, is a major supplier of hot-runner technologies and systems. The company was co-founded by Jobst Gellert and his wife, Waltraud, in 1963.
Jobst Gellert was inducted into the Plastics Hall of Fame at a ceremony during NPE2012, held April 1-5 in Orlando.