TECUMSEH, MICH. — Uniloy wants its customers to go to school — at “Uniloy University” in a new 15,000-square-foot laboratory with three blow molding machines and testing and prototyping equipment, at its Michigan headquarters.
Uniloy's lab and demonstration center had been squeezed into a small area at its Tecumseh operation, which also is a major manufacturer of blow molds. Uniloy's parent company, Milacron LLC, invested about $3.5 million to expand the lab in a new high-bay area, said Eric Hallstrom, sales manager for new business development.
Uniloy University has its own secure entry, to ensure intellectual property protection and confidentiality. A classroom has the ability to do video teleconferencing, as the lab can be used for both research and development, and training.
The Uniloy lab includes two reciprocating screw blow molders — a UR70 and a 350R — and a UMS 12E.S all-electric Uniloy/B&W series shuttle extrusion extrusion blow molder.
In addition to the production lab, the facility has an analytical lab with testing equipment and a 3-D printer.
The goal is to foster blow molding innovation, Uniloy officials said at a news conference May 22 in Tecumseh. “We're combining prototyping, process development, testing and validation and training,” said Mike Kippnick, global product manager.
Uniloy announced a partnership with mold maker Big 3 Precision Products Inc. to bring hot-runner and coinjection technology to the injection blow molding segment, using Mold-Masters and Kortec, two other Milacron units.
Kippnick said Uniloy technicians in the lab are developing lightweight milk jugs, down from 64 grams of polyethylene to 56 grams, through a new design. Another innovation is neck-to-neck blow molding to produce two bottles on a reciprocating screw machine, then separating them using a high-speed spin trimmer.