Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Last week we were invited to take some of the newer employees of Packaging Options Direct on a tour of a local PVC and PET manufacturing facility. This field trip is just a part of the continued education experience for our packaging experts. Understanding the processes that create the products you find on our website help us better serve you, our customers.
We started the tour in a large conference room that displayed some of the more recent packaging designs that were currently in use. It was a good place to get a refresher course on the ins and outs of Extrusion Blow Molding or EMB for short. This method is one of the tried and true methods of manufacturing plastic containers. Check out the image below for a diagram that explains how it works:
1. Feed from the extruder.
2. Melted plastic.
3. Extruder head.
4. Air tube
5. Preform (parison) / tubular shape of hot plastic.
7. Air pressure
8. Final product.
After donning the necessary safety gear we were ready to tour the factory floor:
Here’s a video of machinery in action:
The plastic is melted and extruded into a hollow tube called a parison. The orange part containing the cooled metal mold captures the parison. Air is then blown into the parison, inflating it into the shape of the container you see on the conveyer belt.
Here's another look at a more complex machine:
What makes this machine more complex pertains to the way the container is finished. As you can see at the end of the video a pair of the containers have their "tails" trimmed. After that they are moved to another cutting mechanism that finishes the packer, giving it the neck finish that will accept a closure of the same dimensions.
As we continued our tour we had the chance to learn more about the wide array of different molds that they use to create a wide assortment of stock and custom containers.
Here’s a shot of all the stock items that this facility can create:
You may be wondering what happens to the portion of the container that gets cut off. It is ground down and recirculated back into the feed from the extruder. This is what that looks like:
Everyone on the tour learned a great deal about the ins and outs of plastic manufacturing. We are looking forward to our next learning excursion.
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