When it came to working with PET and designing the right mold, William “Bill” Gaiser was a pioneer and innovator. Gaiser, 88, who developed the first PET preform, died Aug. 18 from complications from Alzheimer's disease.
Gaiser founded multiple mold making and container companies including the Broadway Cos. and Encon Inc. A veteran of the Army Air Corps in 1944 and 1945, he earned a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Cincinnati.
He started Broadway Mold and Tool in 1955 and worked in the plastic industry until health issues forced him to retire when he was in his early 80s.
“He took the industry out of glass into PET,” said his daughter Karin Gaiser, who is president and CEO of Dayton, Ohio-based Encon.
In 1973 he designed and developed a process for injection molding a preform and stretch blow molding it to form a container.
“Pepsi was trying to develop a new container made of plastic but no one could get it down right. So he said that he could not do it exactly the way they wanted, but that he could do it. That's the way he was. Even if he couldn't do it exactly the way they wanted it, he would do it,” she said.
Gaiser started Encon in 1977 to mold preforms.
His accomplishments did not go unnoticed. In 2007, the Society of Plastics Engineers Blow Molding Division honored Gaiser with its Lifetime Achievement Award.
Gaiser is credited with designing and producing the first sine wave injection mold for PET preforms, which allowed larger-cavity molds to be used in smaller tonnage presses.
“Everyone else was putting 72 cavities on a 600 ton machine, but he was able to take 80 cavities and fit them into a 300 ton machine,” she said.
He also helped Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. enter the preform tooling market by developing a hot runner valve gated injection mold — the Brosky mold — in 1979.
Karin Gaiser said her father worked on numerous projects, including the development of a preform that could be used for a 5-gallon container, and the mold design for the plastic tennis ball can.
His daughter also noted that he contributed to the first Corvette convertible. She said that while he was looking over the new model, he told the engineers, “I love it. I want one of these convertibles for my wife and of course, I want it with air conditioning.”
But AC was not an option, so he worked with them on the molding the first air conditioning tube mold, so that it could be included.
He loved to travel and collaborate with people. She said his most recent adventure involved developing a preform mold for truck propane tanks that could be used in the harsh conditions of Siberia.
“He always enjoyed the next project,” his daughter said.
Bill Gaiser is survived by his sister JoAnne, his wife Sue Story, three children — Debbie, Karin and John, a grandchild Meagan, stepson Ben and nephew William. A burial service was held Aug. 22 at the Tobias Funeral Home in Centerville, Ohio.