Italian machinery group Sacmi Imola S.C. demonstrates its Compression Blow Forming (CBF) technology for production of small blow molded containers for the first time in North America on its booth at NPE2009.
The new production technology combines the compression molding process that the firm developed for plastics cap production together with traditional blow molding in a single, integrated in-line sequence.
According to Sacmi Imola closures and container marketing manager Lucca Nanetti, the technology enables producers to reduce container weight, cut scrap, raise product quality and cut manufacturing costs compared to traditional injection blow molding. It can also be competitive with a number of extrusion blow molding designs.
"We have not invented anything new," Nanetti said. "We have just combined two technologies where we believe we are leaders."
At its booth, Sacmi Imola is demonstrating the CBF process manufacturing an industry-standard 110cc stock round pharmaceutical bottle.
The project has been carried out with development partner Alcan Packaging Global Pharmaceutical of Pennsauken, New Jersey, and the show machine will be going to one of Alcan Packaging’s plants after NPE closes.
Nanetti said that the demonstration here in North America is different from earlier outings of CBF in Europe because the focus has been on showing that the technology is capable of producing not only a product but one with equivalent performance and qualilty to current industry standards.
It has submitted 12 gram stock bottles manufactured using the CBF process together with a 14 gram equivalent produced by Alcan Packaging in the same grade of high density polyethylene -- Continuum DMDA 6620 Health Plus from Dow -- for blind testing at Whitehouse Analytical Laboratories, LLC, Whitehouse, New Jersey. The results show equivalence of product and performance.
"We are not saying that the industry should go this way. But we are saying that if you want to go to CBF you will be within specification," Nanetti said.
The CBF technology can be implemented in two design variants: a 16-cavity model capable of producing containers up to 77mm diameter and a 20-cavity version for containers up to 56mm diameter.
Both machine variants share the same basic construction, with a series of mechanically operated compression moulds mounted on a rotary carousel which is loaded with a dosed plug of molten polymer to produce a preform molding. The machines can be configured for blow molding or stretch blow molding operation.
Nanetti said the major appeal of the CBF technology is its energy consumption, which is 30 percent to 35 percent less than that for injection stretch blow molding machines, depending on the polymer being used. He sees the process being especially well suited to production of the compact wide neck containers used by the pharmaceutical sector.
The technology also lends itself to integration into Combo filling lines because the bottles are delivered in line to the filling station, he said. There is no need for any sorting or additional handlling of the containers.
The CBF technology is based on the CCM production machines Saccmi supplies to the plastics cap manufacturing industry. Sacmi showed the latest version of its CCM machine on its booth producing a lightweight water closure in HDPE.
Nanetti said that this technology is capable of running closures at up to 2,000 parts a minute and will be demonstrated in public at the Drinktec exhibition in Munich, Germany, in September.