Malterdingen, Germany—During its open house last week, as it celebrated its 50th year as a manufacturer of injection molding machines, Ferromatik Milacron (Malterdingen, Germany), part of Milacron Inc., unveiled a new press aimed at molders of plastic closures. The first machine in the new Cap-Tec range is a 300-tonne unit with a 70-mm screw diameter and maximum injection weight of 490g.
Thierry Fabozzi, product manager for the K-Tec business unit at Ferromatik Milacron, said during the open house that the firm developed this machine range knowing that cap molders "really only mold caps-so they don''t need the option to mold other products." As a result, and to cut the cost of the machines, he says, "We shortened the stroke, to 330 mm, large enough to hold any cap mold." Currently only the 300-tonne unit is offered, but the range will be rapidly expanded to include 200-tonne (for 48-cavity molds) and 400-tonne models, with the latter suitable for 96-cavity molds. During the open house the new Cap-Tec was running a 64-cavity mold made by Italy''s Gefit, operating at about 3.5-sec cycles. For larger tools, the manufacturer recommends its K-Tec machines, already widely used in closure molding.
Why enter the fiercely contested closure-molding market? Market growth and the firm''s good contacts through its sizable installed base in the market are good reasons, said Karlheinz Bourdon, president of Milacron''s plastics machinery business. Winfried Stocklin, K-Tec business unit manager, said the closure-molding market is growing at a fast clip, especially in developing countries. He added that, as an increasing number of beverage brand owners choose to mold their own closures, the firm wanted to offer these a machine tailored for their needs.
The Cap-Tec machines will cost about 5% less than a standard K-Tec machine of the same clamp force, but are more efficient for molding closures. According to Fabozzi, cycle times with Cap-Tec machines are at least 0.5-1.0 sec faster than a K-Tec if running the same mold-a huge reduction in an industry where output is king. The one running at the open house in mid-September in Malterdingen was fitted with Trio Technik (Meinerzhagen, Germany) post-process cooling device to cool caps and allow for even shorter cycle times since product cooling can be completed outside the tool. Fabozzi said, "We''ve already a list of customers ready for delivery of these. First machines will be ready for shipping in January." He cannot yet say who the first customer will be.
The open house was also the first presentation of the largest Ferromatik Elektra evolution all-electric machine range-a 300-tonne machine. "Our Elektra product line is growing very quickly," Fabozzi says. The one in Malterdingen was molding inhaler caps for a medical device. The manufacturer intends to debut an even larger Elektra model in 2007. —[email protected]