Blowmolding: OEM takes processing in house as traffic safety device sales grow

As demand for its products took off, officials at highway safety products manufacturer TrafFix Devices Inc. decided to bring their blowmolding in-house to help support continued growth and lower costs. Fast color changeover was one of the reasons the company went with machines from Graham Engineering.

selection of blowmolded products from TrafFix
Shown are some of the 100+ products that TrafFix makes and markets. With demand on the rise, the company has brought its blowmolding in house.

Two extrusion blowmolding machines from Graham (York, PA) now are running at TrafFix; the first was installed last summer and the second started processing product for the OEM in October. TrafFix Devices Inc. (TDI) is one of the largest producers of road safety products in the world, with manufacturing facilities in San Clemente CA, Fairfield, IA, Adelanto, CA and Tijuana, Mexico. Its products include barrier drums, portable sign stands, roll-up signs, plastic barricades, and traffic cones. 

TrafFix already did some captive rotomolding but had no employees with blowmolding experience. Graham's processing team helped TrafFix employees learn how to run the blowmolding machinery in classes conducted at Graham's facility as well as in TrafFix's plant.

TrafFix previously had outsourced its blowmolding but based upon growing business, it converted to in-house molding of its products in its newly constructed plant in Fairfield, Iowa. Anchoring this effort are two accumulator machines from Graham which it had ordered in late 2009.  Both machines are GEC-7460 dual-head blowmolding machines, each outfitted with a 6-inch smooth bore extruder with a 300 HP AC drive, dual 20-lb. series heads, XBM Navigator PC controls and a 74x60 inch press with 190 tons of clamping force. TrafFix started in-house production on the first machine in May 2010, with the second machine entering production in October. Each of these machines runs both high density and linear low-density polyethylene.

Processors running Graham's accumulator head machines are able to quickly change colors—an important criteria for TrafFix, which offers more than100 different products. During the TrafFix machinery acceptance, Graham demonstrated both a liquid color and color concentrate color change from natural HDPE to orange in four shots. According to Jack Kulp, president and founder of TrafFix, "The new GEC equipment allows TrafFix to run all of our products on the same machine size, yielding a higher efficiency on an annual production basis. The GEC spiral heads also provide a much quicker color or material change compared to others. The entire process, from order to installation, training and commissioning, exceeded our expectations."

In addition to its accumulator head blowmolding machinery, Graham also makes shuttle machines up to 10-liter capacity; reciprocating screw and shot pot machinery for lightweight HDPE containers; and multicavity, single-, and dual-parison rotary wheel blowmolders for up to 30-liter packaging applications. —Matt Defosse


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