At this year’s NPE, Netstal will be demonstrating its high level of system expertise in the thin-walled packaging sector in combination with its extensive application know-how as a general contractor. At its booth W-903, the Swiss-based machine manufacturer will showcase a turnkey project, recently executed on behalf of an American customer. An ELION 3200-2900 will produce 44 oz stadium cups with IML.
"It is only thanks to our many years of experience and extensive IML knowledge that we were able to carry out this turnkey project at all," said Mark Dal Pian, VP of sales & marketing. Nijaz Husidic, head of sales for business unit PAC, added: "Production systems that deliver maximum availability, the shortest cycle times and the best product quality are our forte. Thanks to these factors, we will be able to safeguard our leading position in the thin-walled packaging sector in the future, too."
From a technical perspective, the production of drinking vessels is highly complex. When producing thin-walled packaging, the ratio of flow path to wall thickness (F/W) denotes the level of difficulty involved, which increases as the ratio rises. For the 44 oz cup, the ratio is 300:1. It requires a machine with corresponding injection performance in order to be able to fill the cavity quickly. In addition, any slight core shift, i.e. the lack of concentricity between the mold (= outer contour of the cup) and core (= inner contour), has a direct impact on product quality. "For this purpose, Netstal has devised a best practice known as thin-wall centering, which centers the core by means of rheological flow paths and varying melt pressure levels," explained Sven Hallauer, project leader for business unit PAC.
The entire project – from the order through to the start of production in Kansas City – was completed in just six months. The manufacturing cell was fully assembled, commissioned and accepted by the customer at Netstal's headquarters in Näfels. The manufacturing cell is the result of a Swiss partnership: The machine is a Netstal product, the mold is made by Glaroform only a few minutes down the road and Beck Automation, which manufactures IML robots, is a short drive away near Zurich.