In developing a new fast changeover concept KHS has greatly reduced changeover times on its InnoPET Blomax stretch blow molders. The optimized active mandrel now enables format changeover times to be reduced by more than half for all standard neck designs. This new option is of interest to all beverage producers who bottle products with different types of neck.
During a format changeover operators not only switch over the blow molds but other components as well. The conveying mandrel in particular is of especial significance in this process as a full changeover of these format parts was extremely time consuming to date. “Depending on its size a high-performance Blomax stretch blow molder can have around 280 conveying mandrels,” explains Marco Böhnke, product manager for stretch blow molding technology at KHS. When a product is changed over during beverage production and requires a change in the type of bottle neck, to date each individual mandrel had to be exchanged in its entirety.
As part of KHS’ constant striving to improve its lines and machines the systems supplier has now developed a variant which is much quicker to replace, making changeovers ergonomic and tool free without any great force being required. Besides the conveying mandrels the shields, grippers and other parts can now also be easily switched over using quick-change mechanisms; in some cases these can be adjusted without any installation work being required by simply rotating the part. Thanks to the above measures formats can be changed over in less than half of the time operators used to need.
In its new development KHS has retained its tried-and-tested active mandrel design. “The optimized changeover process is distinguished by the fact that only the actual format part, i.e. the mandrel head itself, is replaced, with the entire mandrel mechanism left untouched. This enables customers to save money and gain valuable production time,” states Böhnke, as a mandrel can now be replaced in about five seconds.
The new procedure can be easily retrofitted on any InnoPET Blomax Series IV stretch blow molder as following one-time adjustment of the conveying mandrels no further mechanical or electrical conversion of the machine is required. One KHS customer has already subjected the quick-change process to successful long-term testing. The system is also to be installed at a company on the German market in the near future.