‘Our Cape Town office provides a local support base,’ explains director, Giovanni De Rosa. ‘With the number of installed systems growing throughout African, it’s mandatory to have local staff supporting customers who cannot afford downtime, particularly during peak seasons. Establishing close working relationships and becoming a technological partner is our main objective.’
Although exhibiting at Propak Africa was a last-minute decision, Giovanni confirms it was a good one. ‘We saw many local customers and took enquiries from a number of prospects in South Africa and neighbouring countries. Africa’s beverage sector is continuing to expand and we’re well placed to serve this market.’
The range of platforms available from SIPA (PPM May 13, p21) encompasses preform production systems (XFORM range), single-stage machines (ECS Series), linear and rotary stretch blow moulders (SFL and SFR Series), filling machines (Isotronic, Unitronic Series) and palletising systems (Genius Series).
Following the acquisition of the Berchi Group, SIPA entered the market of turnkey filling lines for PET bottles, providing a ‘from pellet to pallet solution’. This, the company claims, places it as the only supplier of such broad-based PET technology expertise under one roof.
Preform production system
‘Recently, we redesigned our preform production systems and our XFORM series is now recognised as being among the best platforms for fast cycles, optimised uptime, a small footprint, low power consumption and design simplicity,’ Giovanni maintains. The various models cover production requirements from fast production, lightweighting preforms to medium-low cavitation systems for special preforms, such as wide-mouth containers.
XFORM’s excellence is attributed to a strong partnership established with Athena Automation (Canada), owned by Robert Schad, Husky’s founder.
SIPA’s customers have come to expect PET preform systems that deliver high output, efficiency and a low cost of ownership, but the XFORM offers an advantage SIPA claims was never previously available – the flexibility to install legacy preform moulds without modification.
‘We believe that in an industry with ever-changing regulations and market demands this freedom to adapt yields considerable savings and opportunities to innovate,’ Giovanni comments.
‘Our customers need more than incremental improvements to help them grow with the changes in their industry,’ explains SIPA’s GM, Enrico Gribaudo. ‘The XFORM is one example of how we’re thinking ahead about what makes a big investment worthwhile.’
‘This new system is capable of handling moulds up to 144 cavities and, in terms of speed it is up there with the best,’ Enrico adds.
Low cost of ownership
According to SIPA, the XFORM’s total cost of ownership (TCO) is the lowest of any machine in its class. And, as it accepts moulds from any leading preform mould maker, initial costs are especially low for preform producers who have already invested in preform moulds. Producers can install a SIPA system alongside existing lines without a major investment in new tooling.
‘The XFORM is designed to run fast, day in, day out. With a dry cycle time of 1.6 seconds, or better, on a 400mm stroke and a lock-to-lock time of around 2.6 seconds, it runs faster than some of its major competitors,’ Enrico argues.
‘Even when it’s not running, it helps converters to save time. For instance, mould changeover takes less than three hours while the cooling system can be changed in under 30 minutes,’ he adds.
From an environmental point of view, XFORM handles up to 50% PET regrind (flakes) without the need for special screws.
‘We’re able to offer customers a new level of confidence as they face the uncertainties and challenges of the future,’ Enrico confirms. ‘Our customers can produce more preforms faster and at a low TCO. Perhaps most importantly, XFORM provides the freedom to handle any mould requirement converters can imagine.’
[Ed’s note: An XFORM with a 72-cavity mould has recently been commissioned in South Africa.]