When the results of a market analysis carried out by GN Thermoforming Equipment (Chester, Nova Scotia) showed that packaging manufacturers were making increasing use of form/cut/stack technology, the company decided that it was time to gain a toehold in that market. The fastest way? A partnership.
The launch of the GN800, a high-speed form/cut/stack thermoformer developed in partnership with Agripak s.r.l., Milan, Italy, marks GN’s entrance into the form/cut/stack market and expands the company’s plug-assist machine offering.
“We saw the changes in the marketplace so we wanted to move swiftly to counter the competition,” said Jerome Romkey, GN Marketing Manager. “Our strategy was to adapt and enhance Agripak’s proven technology to meet the requirements of today’s processors and gain a strong foothold in this highly attractive market.”
The first unit, says GN has already been sold: to a European processor for production of PET sealed containers.
Agripak s.r.l., Milan, Italy manufactured and sold form/cut/stack thermoforming machines until 2003. GN, who has manufactured roll-fed thermoformers for the production of high-quality plastic packaging for the past 35 years, bought the rights to Agripak’s original machine design and has added new features and technologies to make it a “GN machine,” according to Romkey. “We used their proven design, and combined it with GN’s own proven technologies,” said Romkey. The enhancements offered in this new thermoformer came in response to input from customers and toolmakers to ensure GN’s new machine would meet today’s changing market conditions.
The GN800 is the first GN model that offers movable top and bottom platens.
It has a forming area of 800 mm x 570 mm (31.5-in x 22.4-in), is capable of forming 150 mm above and below the sheet line, and the cutting force of the forming and cutting stations is 75 tons. The GN800 also has additional space between the forming and cutting stations, providing extra cooling time when running heavier gauge materials or PP.
The machine features a standard oven that is four times the index length of the forming area. The machine incorporates high-efficiency solar heaters and is equipped with cut-in-place capabilities as a standard feature. The unit also features independent top and bottom servo-plug drives for better material distribution.
The GN800 handles sheet widths up to 880 mm (34.6-in). The machine can run sheet thicknesses ranging from 0.25 mm (0.010-in) to 1.5 mm (0.060-in). The unit comes fully equipped and handles all thermoformable grades of PET, OPS, HIPS, PLA, PP and PVC. The company is currently targeting food, medical and industrial packaging.