During the last three years, leading players have fine-tuned their systems, developing components that not only address market drivers but also appeal to both large- and small-scale rigid plastics operations.
Taking efficiency to a new dimension
Spotlighting system integration and automation, Engel’s 25-machine exhibits focused on vital topics in the injection moulding industry.
Visitors were particularly excited about the new-generation Engel CC 300 control unit that takes overall efficiency to a new dimension.
‘We’ve experienced a positive willingness to invest,’ remarked Dr Peter Neumann, Engel’s CEO. ‘Our pre-show forecasts were more than fulfilled. The investment climate is excellent internationally and we were delighted to see that the upward trend was reinforced at K2013.’
Numerous visitors to the Engel stand tried out the latest control unit, experiencing a totally new system that still looked familiar. ‘Devices such as smartphones acted as role models for developing the user interface,’ added Dr Neumann. ‘At the same time, the central control element, e-move, helps us give operators a feel for the machine. With this combination, the CC 300 sets a new industry trend.’
As he explained, increased process integration and automation and the rising complexity of production processes represent tough challenges for control technology: ‘The more intuitive and convenient the control unit, the more safely and efficiently the production system can work. Our aim is to lead the field globally when it comes to creating customer benefits.’
Engel South Africa, situated in Johannesburg, is headed by Patrick Bracke.
Promoting all-round savings
Minimising raw material content, creating less waste and reducing carbon footprint. These were key drivers behind the design of Sipa’s latest X-MOULD injection moulding technology that allows production of lightweight bottles with mechanical properties and performance that comply with today’s bottling industry demands.
As processors can fill thinner wall sections, longer or wider preforms can be created to produce containers with more suitable stretch ratios (for example, a 500ml bottle preform weighing as little as 7.2g that presents no production issues, either in injection or in stretch-blow with existing legacy equipment).
Sipa’s X-Mould technology is available on the latest-generation XFORM PET preform injection moulding system, or on other brands of preform injection moulding machines. Similarly, preforms can be blown on Sipa linear and rotary stretch-blow lines or lines from other suppliers.
The hot half of each mould requires maintenance only after five million cycles, and mould components such as piston, flange O-rings and pin valves can be maintained without opening the whole mould.
Furthermore, with maximised distribution flow and a high water temperature (14-15°C instead of 8°C), water consumption is minimised and condensation reduced.
Combining the best of hydraulic and electric
Showcasing its latest machines and complete plants for caps, preforms and large ‘one-step’ items, Sacmi focused on combining the best of hydraulic and full electric technologies.
Innovative devices on the new CCM 48S, fitted with the innovative COOL+ mould, result in a high-output combi capable of manufacturing a 29mm mineral water closure in just 1.44 seconds.
In the compression blow forming field, Sacmi’s all-new CBF gained considerable visitor attention thanks to its outstanding flexibility. Based on an innovative thermoplastic material conversion process it allows converters to process all commercially available resins (HDPE, PS, PET and PP) and obtain a container directly from the granulated material.
Another crowd pleaser was Sacmi’s popular IPS (injection preform system), available in a 48- or 72-cavity version, which can be fully integrated in a bottling line with its latest highly-automated dynamic buffer unit.
Reducing energy consumption
Among other advanced technologies on show was Netstal’s Elion 4200. With a clamping force of 4 200kN, it’s ideal for closures and thin-walled packaging.
Based on an established hybrid drive concept, it comes standard with Netstal’s Eco Powerunit.
‘In comparison to conventional, hydraulically-driven toggle lever machines, the Elion hybrid reduces energy consumption by up to 50% at a level of performance that simply cannot be matched by all-electric machines,’ claimed Dr Hans Ulrich Golz, Netstal CEO. ‘Thanks to its innovative dual-valve technology, its high-performance injection unit, also used in our EVOS series, it’s able to reach injection speeds up to 2 200mm/second at extreme levels of acceleration. This level of injection performance allows minimal material use and reduced cycle times, considerably reducing overall production costs.’
Netstal is represented in South Africa by Packaging Plant & Consumables.