PET container specialist SIPA demonstrated its XFORM PET preform injection molding system at K 2013. The XFORM two-platen production platform was invented by Canadian company Athena Automation, founded by Robert Schad. Athena and SIPA have a cooperation agreement on development, sales and service.
A 150-tonne version of the XFORM is already available. SIPA and Athena Automation are now preparing for the launch of the 300-tonne XFORM 300. Both are ideal for low-cavitation molds, short runs and frequent mold changes. The XFORM 150 accepts molds with as few as two cavities and as many as 48, while molds with up to 96 cavities will fit on the XFORM 300. The two models complement SIPA's own XFORM 500, which accepts all the largest PET preform molds.
The XFORM 150/300 models have a hybrid construction, with a hydraulic injection unit and an electrically operated two-platen clamp unit. Customers taking the XFORM 150 can choose from two types of injection unit, either a single-stage type with a hydraulic reciprocating screw (various screw diameters are available) or a two-stage version with an electrically driven extruder feeding a hydraulic shooting pot. The XFORM 300 will be available with two-stage injection units.
The company says that power consumption of the XFORM 150/300 is on par with that of an all-electric machine. Noise is also very low, at under 70 dBA.
The machines can produce all types of preform for standard bottles, wide-mouth jars, heavy and larger containers. Changing from one mold to another takes approximately one hour, thanks to such features as accurately aligned post-mold cooling components and integration of robot, transfer station, cooling station and conveyor into the machine base.
Accepts all molds Just like the XFORM 500, the new machines accept not only preform molds built by SIPA, but from any other mold maker.
XFORM 150/300 machines have no servo valves, come with a central vacuum system, and have all service connections located at the injection end of the machine. Operators can access the mold from both sides for servicing. Oil change interval is five years.
Sipa touts the XFORM 150/300 has the smallest footprint on the market for machines with horizontal clamps, while still offering one of the largest daylights and above-average tie bar spacing.
The XFORM 150/300 uses a post mold cooling system that is available in two different configurations. The MONO cooling system matches the performance of a conventional PET system, whereas the DUO cooling system can further reduce preform temperature by up to 15 °C.