The ability of SIPA’s XFORM preform injection molding system to process 100% post-consumer recycled PET was just one reason why innovative Canadian spring water supplier Ice River Springs Water Company ordered a 500-tonne version that went into production in August.
The family-run company, which has recently rebranded to become Ice River Sustainable Solutions, has taken a lead in the use of rPET, even going to far as to establish its own recycling company. It was the first beverage company in North America to build it’s own recycling plant and purchase “blue box” materials to produce 100% recycled plastic bottles – creating bottles made from bottles in a closed loop.
Ice River was founded in 1995, bottling water from the natural springs on its land in Feversham, ON. It now operates seven bottling plants, sourcing water from springs across the country.
The company’s choice was an XFORM 500 GEN4, together with another SIPA special, a 180-cavity mold. The system produces close to 103,000 8.5-g preforms per hour, running with a 6.3-s cycle. The preforms are fed directly to a stretch-blow molding line making 500-mL bottles for natural spring water, with excess production being boxed for distribution. The fact that the picker runs independently from the press allows for optimized processing times. Justin Gott, Ice River’s Engineering and Technology Director, says the XFORM 500 system was chosen for its high capacity and smooth operation as well as its energy efficiency. He also values the incorporation into the 180-cavity mold of new SIPA technologies to extend its lifetime, as well as the reduced maintenance requirements for both mold and machine.
Features built into the mold and hot runner system include self-cleaning mold tapers, pin valve self-cleaning, a special mold coating for extended life, and some innovative mold alignment features.