Sacmi is working to further develop its “innovative” compression blow forming (CBF) technology, in an effort to increase the appeal of the equipment to dairy product manufacturers.
Speaking with DairyReporter.com, Sacmi sales and marketing manager for containers, Luca Nanetti, revealed that the company is developing its CBF technology to produce a larger, more varied range of preform bottle and container sizes.
The Imola, Italy-based firm is also working to expand the machine’s resin range, which currently includes high-density polyethylene (HDPE), high-impact polystyrene (HIPS), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and polypropylene (PP).
Through these developments, Sacmi hopes to expand the appeal of CBF to the manufacturers of drinking yogurts, flavoured milk, fresh milk and other liquid dairy products.
Future dairy CBF preform applications
“We are continuing to develop this technology to extend it to produce new bottle shapes, and for it to work with new types of resin,” said Nanetti. “Development is something that never stops.”
The dairy and pharmaceutical industries currently present the highest level of interest in CBF, said Nanetti.
Dairy industry interest in CBF containers currently comes almost exclusively from probiotic dairy drink manufacturers, according to Nanetti. As time goes on, however, he expects demand from the dairy industry for preform bottles manufactured using CBF to become more varied.
“In dairy, this could be a single serve preform, a 250ml preform, or a 500ml preform, whatever,” he said.
“In future, CBF preform applications within the dairy industry could include drinking yogurt, fresh milk, school-based milk, or storable dairy products. Basically any type of liquid dairy that is compliant with the resins we use.”
Lower melting temperatures, competitive manufacturing costs
Sacmi has previously branded its CBF development as the “unique combination” of two well-known and established technologies widely used in the preform container market – compression and blowing.
The process is based on the continuous extrusion of plastic raw material, which is employed first to produce pellets – or gobs – of resin These are placed in an open mould and moulded into a preform using compression.
This preform can then be stretched depending on the resin used. Inside this mould, the preform is thermo-regulated to a temperature that allows blow moulding to form the container.
According to Nanetti, the light weight and better physical properties of CBF-manufactured preforms containers and bottles create an attractive prospect for dairy manufacturers.
“The main point we like to stress when it comes to CBF is that this technology produces a better quality preform bottle,” he said, adding that the lower melt temperatures and competitive manufacturing costs of the technology also appeal to its customers.
“The other aspect of it is cost,” he said. “CBF can offer better cost of ownership.”
“CBF uses less energy than other similar technology because the process takes place at lower temperatures, which means that adopting CBF can improve a company’s carbon footprint,” he said.