Changing moulds is faster & safer than ever

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PHOTO: SIPA’s mould changing system for ECS SP single-stage injection-stretch-blow moulding machines involves a new automated procedure for loading and unloading the preform core plates. SIPA has developed a patent-pending system that now makes it possible for the procedure to be carried out by one person instead of two, in all safety

A new quick mould change system just developed by SIPA’s top engineers for its ECS SP single-stage injection-stretch-blow moulding machines means changeover times can be slashed by around a quarter. New features also add extra safety and user-friendliness for operators, especially for some critical operations.

The SIPA ECS SP system is ideal for the production of speciality products such as containers for pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, personal care products, and spirits, particularly (but not exclusively) in sizes between 20 and 50ml. Two models are available: the ECS SP 50 with a 500-kN injection clamp force, and the 800-kN ECS SP 80.

Since introducing the range, SIPA has given it a thorough overall, making improvements to numerous aspects – preform injection, conditioning, blowing, and the operator interface. It has also made it easier to mount moulds originally intended for other ISBM systems.

For this reason – and because production runs are quite often of fairly limited duration – there is an important need to be able to change the injection and blow moulds quickly so that downtime between runs is minimized. At the same of course, special care needs to be taken to ensure that change-over operations are carried out very safely.

The system involves a new automated procedure for loading and unloading the preform core plates; this incorporates additional sensors to ensure that the mould opening stroke adjusted correctly according to the preform length. Operations for assembling and disassembling the neck ring plate have also been modified. SIPA has developed a patent-pending system that now makes it possible for the procedure to be carried out by one person instead of two, in all safety.

Changing the blow mould is much easier too. Intelligent modifications to the press and the introduction of roller bearings in critical positions, for example, now mean that once the forklift has positioned the mould next to the clamp unit, the mould can then be pushed into position by hand. Height adjustment of the mould, once it is in the clamp, is also easier.

Finally, modifications have been made to sealing plate and stretch rods, and standard screw fittings for the water cooling system have been replaced by quick-fit push/pull fittings – all with the aim of making things simpler, faster and even safer for the operator of these outstanding ISBM systems.

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