10 Oct 2023
The new generation of the high-speed Contiform stretch blow molder
Environmentally friendly, sustainable, and cost-effective operation: That was one of the paramount goals for the latest evolution of the Contiform. The greatest potential for improvement in these areas often lies in reducing energy consumption in preform heating and, of course, in lowering compressed air consumption in the blowing process. Krones R+D made the most of these opportunities: They’ve shortened the distance between the heaters, made the heating space even more compact overall, and redesigned the heaters with parabolic reflectors. As a result, they’ve cut energy consumption by 11 percent compared to the previous generation. The team has also achieved substantial savings on compressed air. Unlike the technology customary on the market to date, the new Air Wizard Triple air recycling system can reduce compressed air consumption by as much as 20 percent. But the focus on sustainability hasn’t been limited to the machine’s operation. It also includes the materials used in the installation process. As an example, the protective panels used are made of recycled plastic. The Contiform uses a newly developed skip-and-run technology, which monitors the mold-hanger locking device and allows a blowing station that is not locked to pass along the main cam, for instance to eject a defective preform without triggering an emergency stop of the entire machine. To help relieve operating personnel of especially challenging tasks, Krones has developed Contiloop AI, an automatic process control system, and put it to use in the new Contiform: The combination of AI-based software and newly developed hardware makes it possible to detect even the slightest variations in material distribution in the production of PET containers and to automatically adjust key stretch-blow-molding parameters in real time – and thus to ensure that the bottle quality meets specifications.