SIPA synchronizes light preform production with high performance bottle blowing

SIPA has unveiled its latest step towards the bottle production plant of the future. Launched at the BrauBeviale in Nuremberg, mid of November, the XTREME Sincro brings together in a single machine SIPA’s ground-breaking preform compression molding system with a high-speed stretch-blow molding unit.
The XTREME Sincro, the world’s first injection- compression- stretch-blow molding—ICSBM—system, embodies numerous advantages for bottle producers, says SIPA General Manager Enrico Gribaudo. “It combines the flexibility of two-stage systems with the convenience of single-stage system,” he says.

"The ideal production plant"
"We set out to create the ideal production plant,” Gribaudo says, “One that is compact, flexible and easy to operate; which has very low energy consumption; which treats the PET as gently as possible to keep material highest quality; which provides perfect product handling without damaging the preforms in any way and which produces bottles with extraordinary performance, but which are lighter than anything available on the market thus reducing the amount of PET used. I think that with the XTREME Sincro, we have met our objective.”
The project is realized with the contribution of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union. This is part of an overall program to stimulate technologies that will help industry save energy and reduce emissions of carbon dioxide.
“What we can now show is truly ground-breaking, the fruit of an intense effort across departments at SIPA that maximizes the potential for synergies throughout the total process of conception, design, and production of containers,” Gribaudo says. “We are bring everything together—something that no other player in the PET container world is capable of doing.”

Preforms are 10% lighter
With the XTREME injection-compression system, it is possible to produce preforms that are up to 10% lighter than even the lightest preform produced by conventional injection molding—but without losing any key properties. More weight can be shaved off the body and base of the preform than ever before. Whereas until recently, the maximum length-to-wall thickness ratio (L/t) of a preform was little more than 45, SIPA’s XTREME technology makes an L/t ratio of 80 a commercial reality.
Injection-compression molding overcomes the issue of filling molds with very thin walls, by having the molds slightly open when injection starts, and then closing them as dosing finishes. This means lower injection pressure can be used, lower clamp force is needed (which has the additional benefit of extending mold life), and there is less stress on the melt--which means acetaldehyde (AA) levels are reduced, and resin intrinsic viscosity (IV) falls less. It is now possible to produce preforms with bases thinner than ever before.

Full integration with bottle blowing: highly compact system
The XTREME is more versatile, product changeover times are significantly reduced, and preform quality is higher. And with its rotary configuration and its pneumatic actions, XTREME makes an ideal fit into integrated preform molding and blowing operations. In the XTREME Sincro, it is directly coupled to an SFR EVO3 next-generation rotary stretch-blow molding unit. EVO3 systems are faster, more versatile, and run even more efficiently than their predecessors.
Special features include new designs in the clamp unit and in the cams that help the SFR EVO3 achieve a maximum output rate of 2250 bottles per hour per cavity, putting it on the front line of the grid with the competition. A new blowing valve block is more compact than before, and has 35% less dead air volume. Also the overall footprint of the XTREME Sincro system results to be reduced and compact.

Reduced energy consumption
The integrated system is highly energy efficient, due to several factors. First of all, the XTREME injection-compression system uses lower temperatures than an injection molding system, reducing energy consumption of around 10% in that section alone. On top of this, the integration of the preform injection-compression and the bottle blowing operations has a further, massive, effect. Much like SIPA’s existing ECS single-stage ISBM systems, there is no need on the XTREME Sincro to cool down the preforms immediately after they are molded, and the need to reheat them just before blowing is much reduced. Conventional ovens with infrared heaters are replaced by small ovens that use highly efficient induction heating that is directed only at the areas of the preforms just below the neck.

Fast mold change
Just like the XTREME preform molding system, the SFR EVO3 has a new standard mold changeover system that is quick and easy to use. It is also much easier to convert from production of cold-fill to hot-fill containers too. This is because, while the heating circuit remains in the shell holder, the cooling circuit is now built into the cavity. Only a simple cavity change is required to switch from production of one type of container to another, while the shell holders remain in place.

Filling can be integrated too
The fully integrated XTREME Sincro system can be directly connected to filling equipment developed and produced by SIPA, so that it will be possible to obtain a complete, fully integrated line stretching from preform to filled bottle—which can furthermore be packaged and palletized using SIPA systems—from a single source.

EU CO-FINANCING -The project is realized with the contribution of the LIFE, financial instrument of the European Union.