Düsseldorf, Germany — Chester, Nova Scotia-based GN Thermoforming Equipment Co. introduced a new form/cut/stack machine as part of its strategic plan to grow in the food, medical and industrial packaging markets.
The GN 580 is a smaller version of the GN 800 thermoformer launched at K 2016, making it suitable for factories where space is a challenge. The machine has a forming area of 580 -by-465 millimeters, a cycle time of 45 cycles per minute at full stroke, and it forms 120 mm deep parts above and below the sheet line.
The GN 580 on exhibit at K 2019 in Düsseldorf was sold to packaging manufacturer in central Europe for producing food trays and blister packs. During the trade show, it ran with 100 percent post consumer recycled PET with a common-edge tool to produce meat trays with minimal scrap.
Common-edge tooling forms a series of square or rectangular trays in a row or multiple rows while eliminating the web between the products. Over the years, GN says it has perfected the technology for its line of thermoformers.
To get to the next phase of growth, the company developed form-cut-stack and plug-assist machines, GN Sales and Marketing Manager Paul Phillips told Plastics News. The GN800 was the first in the series.
"The plastic comes in direct contact with a heat plate and air is blown up through into the mold," Phillips explained. "You put in a plug at the same time to push the air and form the part with more definition and make it stronger."
The 580 and 800 models are flexible machines for businesses that run a variety of parts and need to make a lot of tool changes, Phillips said.
"Both are designed to do quick 1½-to-2 hour tool changes. If your company is a small to medium size thermoformer company and you have 50-60 products you need to make in small runs, they can be swapped in and out.," Phillips said.
The two machine models are "in direct competition with a few of our larger competitors size wise," Phillips added.
The GN 580 also features an operator friendly control system with integrated diagnostics and remote connection, an energy recovery system incorporated in all drives and maintenance-free precision roller bearings in the toggles.
GN tries to distinguish itself when it come to customer service, Phillips also said.
"If you talk to customers with us since the beginning, they will say our high degree of service and technical supports sets apart with quick response times," he added. "You can talk to someone when challenges arise. We will jump on a plane and go to the customer site not worrying about who will pay or whether there's a contract. That's secondary for us. It's getting the machine back up and running and making sure there's no down time."
GN President Jerome Romkey said the company provides an "industry-leading level of service and support, giving customers added confidence when launching new machines like the GN580."
Founded 35 years ago, GN has exported equipment to 70 countries and has a technical service and sales center in Jihlava, Czech Republic.
Plastics News staff writer Bill Bregar contributed to this story.