Sipa/Athena tie-up and Start Blow for PET bottle making

Italian blow moulding machine maker Sipa is partnering with Athena Automation, a company founded by ex-Husky owner Robert Schad, to use synergies between the two firms to build product lines and a service organisation.

Athena Automation’s facility is located north of Toronto, Canada, where it has been working for three years on a PET preform machine, which it says will raise the bar in terms of reliability. Features that make the Athena machine stand out are fast cycles, improved accuracy, increased uptime, smaller footprint, lower power consumption, and design simplicity.

Athena and Sipa have been working together for several months, fine tuning the system. Sipa will manage the sales, service and integration of all Athena PET preform machines on an exclusive worldwide basis, with Athena’s support. This arrangement strengthens Sipa’s base and rounds up its product line from low cavitation, multi-mould change applications to high volume production of beverage preforms.

This year at the NPE exhibition in Orlando, Florida, Sipa introduced the XFORM injection moulding system that is capable of handling moulds with upwards of 96 cavities. The new Athena machines are said to complement XFORM.

In related news, Sipa has launched the Start Blow stretch blow moulding machine for the emerging markets, a machine it will produce in China, the firm says. The two to four-cavity model caters to outputs of 2,000-6,000 bottles/ hour.

The fully electric machine features infrared heading, which is a design feature in Sipa’s SFL and FR high-output linear and rotary stretch-blow moulding machines. The machines, with servo drives governing principal movements, include stretch rods. Every machine axis movement is under closed-loop control.

The firm says the machine will cater to the bottled water market that continues to grow at around 8% every year, with the growth shifting to emerging markets.


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