“Until very recently, for manufacturing reasons it wasn’t possible to produce containers with an integral handle on PET lines,” says Christian Rommel, head of Packaging Design at KHS Corpoplast. “By developing what are known as active molds we’ve now managed to produce large PET containers with a clip-on grip holding up to 2.5 liters.” These big containers are chiefly used to bottle juice, oil, milk and home and personal care products.
KHS’ active molds differ from conventional blow molds in that they are equipped with two additional moving mold elements. These can be activated pneumatically to form mounting points for a stable grip on the container during the stretch blow molding process. The handle grip is clipped onto these two points later on in the process. Precise timing of the extension of the mold elements is essential if containers of perfect quality are to be manufactured. If the former are extended too soon or too late, the grip cannot be properly affixed further down the line, with high rejection rates then likely. “Thanks to the precise synchronization of the mold elements with the stretching system and valve control on our InnoPET Blomax V stretch blow molder we’re able to supply an extremely reliable system,” explains Rommel.
The KHS packaging system also offers consumers lots of benefits, states Tanja Binnenbruck from Area Sales and Product Management East at KHS Corpoplast. “On the one hand, the convenient integral grip enables perfect handling; on the other, the pouring properties crucial when dosing the product have been optimized.”Further advantages are generated by the choice of material. “PET not only has good barrier properties which provide the product with effective protection; it’s also distinguished by its greater stability at the same weight as competitive materials such as HDPE or PP,” Binnenbruck says. PET container weights can also be continuously reduced. “By using lightweight PET bottles our customers can make considerable savings in materials. This has a positive impact on costs and the product’s carbon footprint,” Binnenbruck smiles.
Besides its extreme precision the very low energy consumption of the next generation of KHS stretch blow molders makes it particularly compelling. Thanks to its optimized near infrared heating concept and new Double Gate technology the Series V consumes up to 40% less energy. The air management system for heater box cooling has also been optimized. The air flow can now be set separately for the neck, reflector and lamps. This means that the machine only cools the parts of the preform which actually need cooling.The InnoPET Blomax Series V also scores on performance with an output of up to 2,500 containers per hour and blow station. Furthermore, the stretch blow molder has been designed so that it can process preforms which contain up to 100% recyclate. Not only owners of the current generation of stretch blow molders benefit from these energy-saving further developments. Users operating a Series IV Blomax can also make use of the latest KHS technology as it can be easily retrofitted.
KHS provides its customers with assistance in all aspects of bottle design. With its holistic Bottles & Shapes service the Dortmund systems supplier enables customized bottles to be developed. A line-compatible concept such as a PET container with a clip-on grip is just one of many examples. During realization of a design aspects of cost and sustainability are taken into account alongside marketing criteria and user handling. At the moment KHS is working together with a Chinese customer to produce an extremely sustainable large container made of PET, among other ideas. “This development will show how KHS meets the expectations and demands of the market,” concludes Binnenbruck.
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