Düsseldorf, Germany — Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. has a continuing investment program in its hot runners business. Its senior managers outlined these investments at a K 2016 news briefing, where they also discussed its other businesses in PET preform systems and tooling for medical and specialty packaging.
Stefano Mirti, president of Husky's hot runners and controllers business, discussed recent investments in that sector. The company invested $8 million at its Milton, Vt., plant and spent $12 million on its Luxembourg facility, where it added a new manifold cell. In Shanghai, Husky has added a test lab to serve the Asia-Pacific region and doubled the manufacturing capacity at its Chennai, India, facility.
Other investments will be announced in mid-2017, Mirti said.
At Husky's press event on Oct. 20, the heads of its three business units had a total of 72 years of Husky tenure between them.
Gerardo Chiaia is president of Global Beverage Packaging and has 22 years' service at the Bolton, Ontario-based company, previously as head of hot runners. Steve Lawrynuik, president of Medical and Specialty Packaging, has 30 years' experience at Husky, and Stefano Mirti has spent 20 years at Husky.
Chiaia spoke of the promising market reception of Husky's multilayer barrier technology for PET preform production. “We have 14 orders for our multilayer PET systems,” he said. “The first beta systems were shipped just over a year ago. Five are now in the field, and two are currently being installed.”
He said the technology targets drink products needing enhanced barrier properties that are traditionally packaged in materials such as glass, paper cartons and aluminum.
The barrier technology is built on the company's HyPET HPP5 preform molding system, a high-performance system with the capability to precisely dose the barrier layer. Husky says the technology supports recyclability by reducing the amount of barrier material required, as well as demonstrating the potential to integrate new recyclable barrier materials into PET packaging.
At K 2016, Husky showed a hot runner system for the multilayer barrier technology, which was used by an Asian customer. The 48-cavity hot runner system was used by the customer for six months to make barrier PET preforms for carbonated soft drink bottles. The customer converted from a 5.5 percent nylon barrier blend to 2.5 percent multilayer barrier. It has since upgraded to a 72-cavity version of the system.
Lawrynuik said his Medical and Specialty Packaging division at Husky was formed after the group bought Schöttli, the Swiss medical mold maker, in 2013.
“It was a strategic acquisition to expand our innovation processes into the medical space,” he said.
Schöttli is one of the top names in the medical mold sector, he said, and it has brought to Husky expertise regarding the high level of precision needed for medical products.
Husky had on display a variety of parts for target medical applications. It also showed a 64-cavity Schöttli syringe barrel mold, showcasing the high capacity and precision manufacturing Schöttli is known for.
Husky is investigating the needs of medical customers, such as specific demands for precision, quality and productivity. From this research, it will seek to develop integrated solutions. It has been teaming Schöttli molds with Husky hot runner systems as part of its drive to an integrated system offering.
“It's about putting a mold with a machine in a unique way, so 1 plus 1 doesn't equal 2; 1 plus 1 equals 3,” Lawrynuik said.
In an interview, he added that Husky has learned a lot from its integrated approach to molds and machines used for PET preform production. But it can't just presume medical customers have the same needs as PET customers when applying its learning, he said.