Privately-held Graham Engineering Corp. (York, PA) has installed the first Graham rotary wheel extrusion blow molding system for use in mainland China. The Mega 26 dual-parison system production line was commissioned last month at the Guangzhou facility of a converter for a leading U.S.-based global consumer packaged goods (CPG) brand.
“For decades we have served the world’s leading converters and CPGs with our flagship Graham rotary extrusion blow molding solutions,” says Graham CEO David Schroeder. “While we have sold rotary wheel systems for converters elsewhere in Asia, this project demonstrates the need for rapid evolution, technological advancement, and automation to combat China’s increasing costs, growing regulation, and desire for high quality products for its domestic packaging market.”
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Introduced to the project by the U.S.-based CPG, the leading brand in its category, the Graham team worked with the company to define the project scope, evaluate production alternatives and build the business case. They ultimately decided to proceed with one of their converters, who committed to a near-site greenfield plant with a fully-automated production line.
The volume justified a 26-station, dual-parison, quad-cavity wheel producing 46,800 bottles per hour, replacing twelve locally-manufactured shuttle machines. The line’s speed, capacity, and automation facilitates greater efficiencies in production and in downstream bottle handling. It also enables the brand owner to move away from a stock package to a new bottle design consistent with its global standard.
Custom details on a custom machine
“Mega is our largest platform, and our Mega wheel systems are primarily found in very-high volume applications such as single-serve dairy, juice, and motor oil,” Gina Haines, Graham Engineering’s vp and chief marketing officer, tells PlasticsToday. “This system in China produces high volumes of a small, custom, wide-mouth package for the sugar and confectionery segment of the food market.”
There are nearly a hundred Mega systems installed fairly equally among CPGs and leading converters worldwide, according to Haines.
Where is she seeing the most business activity for Graham’s systems worldwide?
“The accelerating recovery in capital equipment investment for the packaging market over the past two years continues to generate healthy levels of interest,” Haines responds. “In addition to beverage and food, household, lubricant and medical markets have all generated activity. For our Graham Engineering rotary wheel systems, North America continues to generate the majority of the activity—a little more than half—though we have also responded to opportunities in Asia-Pacific (APAC), Europe-Middle-East-Africa (EMEA) and Latin America (LAM) markets.”