Photo by Kent Miller Dieter Rothe, an account manager for Kautex Machinenbau at the company's Chinaplas booth.
Blow moulding machine maker Kautex Maschinenbau is upgrading its China-made hydraulic KCC machines.
Factory managers trying to make do with limited shop-floor space will welcome an upgraded takeout design, said Dieter Rothe, an account manager at the Bonn, Germany-based company.
“Before, the product was placed on conveyor belts on the right and left sides. Now we’ve rearranged the takeout by using axis-servo robots that place the bottles on a single conveyer belt within the machine.”
The conveyor exits the rear of the machine. “This saves three to four meters, easily,” Rothe said.
Speaking at Kautex’s booth at Chinaplas in Shanghai, Rothe pointed out the grippers that go inside the bottle necks.
“These grippers can be replaced with optional [air-pressure] leak-testers. If a bottle has a leak, it goes into a grinder. Each and every bottle gets tested this way,” Rothe said.
Swapping out molds is now quicker, and an operator can easily make real-time adjustments without stopping the machine, Rothe said as he stood amid the nonstop whoosh and clack of a demonstration machine pumping out bottles, trimming flash and placing the bottles on the conveyor belt.
“Instead of tie bars, we now have linear rails. And the clamping mechanism has been upgraded. [Linear rails] are the high-end of guiding. They are more precise, with less tension, and last longer.”
Kautex’s factory in Shunde, Guangdong province, makes about 25 to 30 KCC machines every year. The factory, which has about 120 employees, has its own metal-cutting, milling and computer numerically controlled machines. “We’ve learned if you want to maintain high quality, you have to manufacture it yourself,” Rothe said.
“It’s a bit more expensive, yes. But we manufacture to German standards.”
The enhancements are the result of close collaboration between Kautex engineers in China and Germany, acting on input from customers.
Michael Thielen, an engineering consultant who works with Kautex, touted the KCC’s frugality.
“If you touch [a Kautex-made] bottle all around, and squeeze it, you can feel the thickness distribution is very even. When the bottle is very good quality, it will weigh less, which saves you resin,” he said.
Turnout at Kautex’s booth was strong, Rothe said.
“The show has been from the beginning very good. The customers come from China, from India, from Turkey, from many places, both existing customers and new customers.”