Graham Engineering plans to exhibit its new “Mini Wheel” rotary extrusion blowmolding machine at the NPE show in Chicago this June. On display will be the rotary portion of the machine, along with a complete five-material, six-layer extruder system and controls. The company recently expanded the Mini wheel line from 12 stations to include nine- and 10-station versions, allowing for processing of larger containers on the machines. The Mini Wheel is small enough to ship in a standard freight container and is marketed towards processors who don’t need the full output available on Graham’s larger-wheeled machines.
Graham’s Mini is shown here in a 12-station configuration.
The Mini Wheel has only one flowhead to control. The parison is captured on both ends, between the preceding mold and the flowhead, and is thus always the same length. As a result, says the manufacturer, there is no possibility of parison curling or movement due to static electricity or air currents. This enables the operator to more accurately “program” the thickness of the neck, sidewall, shoulders, or bottom of the bottle. This aids bottle-to-bottle weight consistency, as well as lightweighting capability. According to Graham, the Mini Wheel is “significantly more energy efficient” than shuttle machines. Its hydraulic unit typically pulls less than 1% of the total system power when the machine is in operation. Mold weight is 9-10 kg (20-25 lbs), so molds can be handled without a lifting hoist and changeovers can be accomplished in times competitive with shuttle machinery. The clamp units are balanced in design and the spool and frame of the machine do not bear clamp loads. —[email protected]