Inotech Kunststofftechnik GmbH in Nabburg, Germany developed a unique technology to produce multi-component preforms.
Multi-component moulding is a multi-step moulding process that produces preforms with two or more integrated components. The multi-component preform enables one to produce bottles with individual colour and material combinations without any separate assemblies.
In general in the 2-steps process for multi-component moulding, resin A is used in Shot #1. After this shot the mould or part of the mould is rotating in the machine, and resin B is used in Shot #2.
With the Bi-Color Preform, it is possible to produce multi-component designs in blow-moulded bottles thus 3-D effects using differing types of material are possible.
By using different colours, additional accents can be set such as the highlighting of certain areas. In the same way, opaque areas can be produced to hide for example deposits at the bottom of the bottle. Unique 3D effects or transparent areas for windows and filling levels can be created. The Bi-Color Preform aims to be feasible with PET, LPDE and HDPE.
The future of this technology
The multi-component moulding technology opens a wide window of interesting applications.
In development together with pharmaceutical giant Merck KGaA in Darmstadt, Inotech is developing a bottle with special pigments (Securalic pigments) to have a brand and product protective packaging solution.
The Securalic Pigments from Merck are not removable and therefore a secure counterfeiting item. While the share of the Pigments on the total volume of the container is minimal, they are useless after the recycling process.
These security pigments are based on a protected technology by Merck KGaA Darmstadt.
Together with an undisclosed research company, Inotech also focuses on the shelf life time of beverages. Instead of using the currant technologies of hot filling, preservatives or aseptic filling, this new development is working with an anti-microbial material as a partial inner layer of the bottle. The results are encouraging. Filling and storage of fresh milk and orange juice in the new bottle at 30°C reduces bacteria in the product and enlarges the shelf life time.
The “active polymer coating” is injected partial at the inner layer of the bottle. In a second step the bottle is built with PET. Note: For the fact sheets of reaction of bacterias, click here for pdf-file: Presentation_Bi-Color_Petnology
The Multi-Component-Preforms can be produced with Standard IR or NIR Heating Systems or on Krones new FlexWave (microwave) System. In other words they can be handled like standard preforms. However some specific designs may only be possible to be heated on the FlexWave System.
Krones FlexWave System
The FlexWave technology, recently awarded with the German Packaging Prize, is a microwave heating technology incorporated in its stretch blow-moulding machines.
With the innovative microwave heating technology from Krones, the process for producing PET containers in stretch blow-moulding machines has become significantly more sustainable, more energy-economical, more flexible, faster and more versatile. The reason lies in the system’s innovative technology: FlexWave heats up PET preforms using microwaves, a process that differs significantly from conventional methods of stretch blow-moulding.
FlexWave offers enhanced independence for the users of stretch blow-moulding machines: the system enables the heating process to be individually set and monitored for each PET preform. This means firstly that deleterious environmental factors can be compensated for, and PET preforms can be mixed with different proportions of recycled material.
Secondly, multi-coloured bottles can be produced as well, opening up new options for container design. In comparison to conventional infra-red ovens, the microwave technology requires up to 50% less energy, with concomitantly substantial cost advantages. FlexWave also scores well in terms of shorter production times, as the exceptionally fast heat-up phase takes about three seconds, and is thus up to 80% shorter than with other systems.