Lee's Summit, Mo. — When plastic packaging manufacturer PET Pak d.o.o. in Slovenia needed a better way to produce preforms for a wide range of bottles and neck finishes, company officials turned to engineering firm R&D/Leverage's European business to help with the technical tooling challenge.
In addition to three different necks, there were variations in bottle shapes — cylindrical, dome, bullet and for pharmaceutical — heights and weights.
Lee's Summit-based R&D/Leverage officials said they focused on a versatile preform design and tooling package that would be flexible enough to minimize change part tooling and optimize quality and cycle times, which meant maintaining the right stretch ratios to achieve the best variations in material thickness.
The neck and related preform tooling components were designed to allow for three kinds of finishes from one preform design with minimal tool change parts. Testing then was done at the R&D/Leverage Product Solutions Laboratory in Sutton-in-Ashfield, England, where the company develops single-stage bottle solutions for color, weight reduction and strict specifications in addition to preform design flexibility, optimized cycle times and tooling validation.
The results were "immediately very positive" and achieved the high technical demand and stringent specification set out by PET Pak, according to a news release from R&D/Leverage, which also offers tool manufacturing on the same U.K. campus.
Meeting the preform challenge will lead to a packaging facility expansion, according to PET Pak Project Manager Mitja Nadoh, who said in a news release that the R&D/Leverage team "closely cooperated with us and delivered the exact solution we were hoping to get."
"Because of our ambition to work only with the best partners in order to provide top-quality products to our customers, we are now able to expand with a newly-built, modern 10,000-square-meter production plant, which will allow us to improve our already high production standards and services," Nadoh said.