Next-generation linear SBM line-up nears completion

SIPA has almost finished upgrading the full range of its SFL EVO linear stretch-blow molding systems.

For several months now, it has been introducing numerous improvements in terms of speed, quality, versatility, capability, energy efficiency, and overall sustainability. All the new developments, together with the low cost of maintenance, result in the lowest total cost of ownership, TCO, on the market. Improvements introduced into the new machines will ensure that the SFL EVO family retains its “Best in Class” position among linear systems.

The first of the new generation, the SFL 6/8 EVO, came out in 2017. Today, the full range of SFL EVO 6 types is available, with the number of cavities ranging from three to eight. The XL and XXL versions make taller and larger bottles respectively. The SFL EVO 4 is now available in versions with up to five cavities, and there are also XL versions of this model, with various levels of cavitation. There is a choice of oven pitches to cater for bottles with different neck diameters, enabling extra precision in tuning heat output to neck/bottle type.

SFL EVO machines have a validated maximum output of 2000 bottles per hour per cavity. That’s 10% higher than the previous generation and beyond the reach of any other system on the market today. So, an eight-cavity unit can produce 16,000 bottles up to one liter in size every hour – and yet energy consumption is lower than ever. Production of the common multi-serve 5L size is faster too: up to 7,500 bph.

The range of container types that SFL EVO units can produce is vast: round, oval, oriented neck, long neck, wide mouth, hot-fill, handled (in-mold or post-mold), refillable containers with thick walls, as well as collapsible containers with very thin walls, and many more. Even beer kegs can be made on some XXL machines.

The new SFL EVO machines are fully electric, making them very clean and very precise (among other things). Installation and start-up times are very short. Controls are very comprehensive but easy to use. In addition, the units take full advantage of ECHO, SIPA’s new “customer lounge,” which provides full on-line remote support, immediate collection of operational data on fixed and mobile devices, digital manuals and spare parts navigation, tracking of service requests, interactions, and shipments.

Important new features include a smart clamping unit with “dynamic stroke.” Servo drives make it possible for the user to choose from three different strokes, so they can optimize output.

Virtually all new SFL EVO machines accept all existing SFL molds. Mold changeover procedures have also been simplified.

Blowing blocks and the air circuit have been further optimized. One key result is that dead air volume has been reduced by around 30%. Improved piping and connections make daily use, maintenance and troubleshooting easier.

Quality control measures are of the highest order. Camera systems can be integrated to check incoming preforms and outgoing containers for example. Immediately after blowing, a leak testing station checks for container integrity, eliminating the need for checks on a separate machine before filling.

Complementing the overall energy efficiency of next-generation SFL EVO systems is their ability to handle preforms containing RPET (post-consumer recycled PET) without problem. They can even blow 100% RPET preforms from the XTREME RENEW system, which begins with flakes.