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Netstal PET-Line Image: KraussMaffei

KraussMaffei Debuts Side-Entry Netstal PET-Line

The first machine in the new series, with a clamping force of 4,000 kN and 6000 injection unit accommodating molds with up to 128 cavities, is now available.

KraussMaffei HighPerformance launched today its new side-entry Netstal PET-Line that is fully compatible with legacy side-entry molds and post-mold cooling stations. A machine with a 4,000-kN clamping force and 6000 injection unit that accommodates molds with up to 128 cavities is now available; other models will follow to suit the full range of common beverage applications, said KraussMaffei.

The laterally positioned post-mold cooling station is the most obvious feature of the new preform system, said KraussMaffei in making the announcement, adding that a closer inspection will reveal numerous other optimizations. For example, the company believes that the proportion of recycled PET (rPET) in bottle production will continue to increase in the years ahead. “For this reason, our focus in terms of application is centered on the optimized processing of rPET,” explained PET Systems Product Manager Stefan Kleinfeld. A new screw design was developed for the high-performance, two-stage injection unit. Preform molders benefit from an expansive process window and robust plasticizing during processing of up to 100% rPET. Intrusion and automatic metering ensure a homogeneous and consistent melt quality, low AA values, minimal IV drop, and gentle material feed, said KraussMaffei.

Netstal PET-Line
The design of KraussMaffei's new Netstal PET-Line has been optimized to effectively process recycled PET. Image courtesy KraussMaffei.

A dynamic five-point dual toggle lever operates within the fully electric clamping unit. Lock-to-lock time at 4,000 kN clamping force is 1.9 seconds. Output is increased further through shorter cycle times. “Thanks to the particularly smooth, high-precision kinematics of the clamping unit, reliable and mold-friendly operation is guaranteed under production conditions,” said Kleinfeld. The machine also is the most energy efficient that KraussMaffei has developed. Up to four post-mold cooling stations can be installed, and efficient interior and exterior cooling ensures a consistent premium and uniform preform quality.

The Netstal PET-Line is equipped with the latest generation of aXos controller technology, which is also receiving its world premiere with this product launch. The aXos 9 controller marries the former aXos design with an innovative operation concept to make it more user friendly. “The new operator panel comprises a central touchscreen flanked by haptic keys. Navigation between the individual settings occurs exclusively via the touchscreen. In contrast, all the axial motion is triggered exclusively via the haptic keys,” explained Kleinfeld. Feedback from the haptic keys simplifies blind operation with regard to the moving axes.

Smart Operation technology, unveiled two years ago, is built into the new line. It consists of four keys that are used to intuitively operate the system within a production environment. Clear information and color indications enable simple, fast, and reliable process control. Preparation and start of preform production can be performed using just two keys. “The volume of written process descriptions, checklists, and instructions at the machine is drastically reduced,” said Kleinfeld. The system was developed based on insights gained from medical injection molding applications. “In medical technology, compliance with certified manufacturing processes is an essential criterion. Smart Operation now effectively prevents operational errors in PET applications,” said Kleinfeld.

KraussMaffei had planned to unveil the new PET-Line at its facility in Näfels, Switzerland, in the company of several hundred guests, but that has been called off because of the pandemic. Instead, the company is organizing exclusive presentations in Näfels while practicing rigorous safety precautions as well as digital presentations for those who would rather not travel. Contact KraussMaffei for further information.

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