Automated blowmolder control assures container is as pristine as its contents
Poland’s mineral water bottler Nałęczów Zdrój S.A. is well known for the purity of its best-selling brand Cisowianka, sourced from pristine aquifers near its plant in the southeastern village of Drzewce. With such a strong reputation to uphold, as the company prepared to launch a distinctive new 1.5 liter PET bottle for the Cisowianka line, it was guided by the imperative to produce a container capturing the purity of the brand.
The special shape of the new Cisowianka bottle, with its wasp-waist middle designed for consumer comfort and easy pouring, demanded a robust manufacturing process to assure both optimum bottle performance and downstream production efficiency. During the redesign initiative, Nałęczów Zdrój concluded that the linchpin of the process was precise distribution of the PET material by the blowmolder, especially to the bottle’s sensitive waist region.
To meet the challenging material distribution specifications, the company equipped each of its two newly installed KHS Blowmax Series IV blowmolding lines with a Process Pilot® automated process control system from Agr International.
The Agr system incorporates three components: the Pilot Profiler® (PET material distribution measurement), Pilot Vision™ (visual defect detection), and the Process Pilot closed-loop control software, which provides the link between the bottle measurements and blowmolding machine controls.
The Pilot Profiler relies on an array of sensors at the mold out-take to measure the material distribution on every bottle. The thickness data are fed continuously to the Process Pilot controls, programmed with the perfect dimensions of each bottle model. The Pilot controls automatically adjust the blowmolder to conform to the specified recipe, maintaining the desired material distribution at all points along the bottle sidewall—regardless of even slight changes in plant temperature or preform conditions, or other variations that could impact the blowmolding process.
In addition to keeping the material in the right place, automatic thickness monitoring allows Nałęczów Zdrój to skip the time-consuming step of manually taking traditional, cross-section measurements, a labor-intensive process that requires considerable trial and error.
Pilot Vision was instrumental in resolving another challenge to Cisowianka bottle integrity: sealing surface defects. System cameras inspect the sealing surface of every preform, rejecting those with any scratches or damage. The defect detection capability not only prevents disruption to downstream processing, it also eliminates the potential risk of product leakage and a compromised customer experience.
The Agr Process Pilot system also serves as a valuable diagnostic tool for blowmolder maintenance, for greater filling line efficiency. By identifying the mold cavity where a defect originates, the system allows plant personnel to quickly address the issue and return to production with minimal downtime.
The assurance that only commercial-grade bottles reach the filler enables the lines to run at higher speeds, an important advantage in the competitive water market, where costs are optimized based on economies of scale. The line configuration for the Cisowianka “wasp-waist” bottles has proven to play a key role in Nałęczów Zdrój’s financial strategy as well as market position. With the Agr Process Pilot systems mated to the KHS blowmolders, the company benefits from robust production and higher yields. The consistent quality of the shapely new bottles tells consumers they can enjoy their favorite mineral water with confidence, in keeping with the high repute of the Cisowianka brand.
Details on the Process Pilot family of products can be found by following this link: www.agrintl.com/123