Automa SpA is seeking perfection.
The Italian company is launching a new line of modular, fully customizable extrusion shuttle blow molding machines that it said are ideal for any market.
Designed by Automa's new Synthesi business unit, the machines represent a “radical change” in blow molding machine manufacturing, said Massimo Davoli, unit director.
“Normally you go into the market [and] find a machine that's this size, with this clamping and this cutting,” he said in an interview at NPE2012 in Orlando. “We no longer want to do this.”
Instead, Synthesi provides a range of technical features. The machines offer four options each in shuttle stroke (from 340-940 millimeters), mold clamping force (6-27 tons) and neck-cutting force (800-2,600 tons) — a total of 64 different modules.
Along with being customizable, the machines are modular and available in five stroke configurations — one, two, four, six or eight.
All told, there are 320 different machine models, Davoli said.
The modules are an alternative to long-stroke machines, which don't necessarily offer the best way to increase production, he said. Synthesi's machine is simple, cost-effective, and more competitive.
Making the machines modular allows users to increase capacity easily, he said. Previously, converters had to buy multiple machines, but with Synthesi's systems, they pick the combination they want and then add modules.
Cycle time isn't linked to the number of modules, just to the module itself, Davoli said. For example, one module could make 2,500 1-liter bottles per hour. By adding modules, jumps to 5,000 bottles per hour, then 10,000, 15,000 and 20,000, he said.
With the right configuration, the Synthesi system could create up to 100,000 drinkable yogurt bottles, 100 milliliter in size, every hour, he said.
“It's a shuttle machine that exceeds the capacity of a wheel machine, which has not been possible before,” said Kyle Grodzinksi, North American sales manager for PlasBM Machinery Corp., which is representing Synthesi.
Modules also offer several cost-saving benefits, Davoli said.
Compared to a traditional set-up, Synthesi has a 33 percent smaller footprint, while at the same time increasing production per square foot by 50 percent, according to Davoli.
Regardless of the number of modules, finished bottles always exit at the same place. And because it's technically one machine, it only requires one person to oversee it, offering up to a 50 percent reduction in labor costs, he added.
The machines are also designed to be retrofit, so a converter can reconfigure parameters, with the exception of stroke size.
A modular setup also allows one unit to stop production for repair or tool change without affecting the other units, reducing down-time, he said.
The modularity means lower initial investment costs, and a lower final bottle cost for converters, Davoli added.
“This technology is open to everybody in the bottle market,” Davoli said. “Just because we can do high production doesn't mean it's just for the largest companies.”
Synthesi plans to have one module completed by July and will debut the machine at an open house at Automa's headquarters in Bologna, Italy.
The units will be available commercially by the end of the third quarter of 2012, Grodzinksi said, adding that the machines will be priced “competitively.”
The Synthesi machines produce bottles up to 10 liters in size from high density polyethylene, high-molecular-weight HDPE, polypropylene or glycol-modified PET.