The year 2020 was hailed by many at its start as a year for perfect vision. Linking the newfound symmetry of the calendar date to the clinical measurement for normal visual acuity, 20/20 vision, felt fun and allowed a feeling of hope to suffuse thoughts when looking forward to the new year. What would the roaring 20s decade of the 21st Century have in store? It turns out, something similar to what preceded the roaring 20s decade of the 20th Century… a global pandemic. The Spanish Flu of 1918 impacted society with quarantines and social distancing, very similar to what has occurred in modern society as the world struggles to adjust to life during Covid-19.
Covid-19 will impact the way glass container producers design new production lines. Now more than ever, it is important to design production lines with flexibility for changes in demand that might be difficult to predict. Demand for glass containers is being impacted from all directions, from sometimes seemingly arbitrary government decisions, to trade wars and just the simple fact that quarantine and social distancing keep people away from the bars and restaurant environments, this industry has long been dedicated to serving.
There are many components in the glass factory that help make production flexible. One key component is the blank side forming equipment. This article focuses on Quantum’s benefits and features for the production of the widemouth press and blow process.
Quantum always designs with the operation and durability of its parts in mind. The company manufactures process equipment and plunger mechanisms that are made to last. Design with quality in mind is core to the business values and long-term contribution to the glass container industry. Quantum’s patented TWT (Tube-Within-Tube) design separates the plunger up, plunger down and cooling air with no metal-to-metal contact for long durability of all components. This feature, combined with the large 19mm inner diameter of the piston rod, is the ideal cylinder setup for widemouth press and blow jobs.
The company’s individual cylinder technology is the key feature for flexible design. Using the individual cylinder concept, it was able to develop a system that uses the same baseplate in all gob configurations. No hose changes or realignment is necessary and machines quickly convert from one gob configuration to another in a fraction of time.
When designing the correct process equipment for press and blow operation, the main constraints are the finish size, maximum diameter, the weight and the height of the bottle. With this in mind, the main constraint of the press and blow positioner design is the sleeve. The sleeve diameter will determine the finish size of the article. Quantum designed quick-change positioners by changing the sleeve and keeping the same process equipment.
Widemouth press and blow jobs are usually short runs and require a lot more job changes that require a load position and loading spacer change. Quantum’s quick-change spacer reduces the downtime to change the spacer as it sits on top of the adapter, therefore not requiring removal of the adapter or the locking stud.
Listening to operator issues
The company’s philosophy is always to hear the IS machine operator’s problems and to find solutions. When it comes to widemouth press and blow jobs, the main issue has been with the finish. Quantum’s TFA (Total Forming Analysis) process controller will adjust tube and needles for each gob to have the proper weight for each press every time.
The company supports glassmaking operations, laying out problematic jobs inside its plunger mechanism to help understand improvements that can be made on the interface between the process equipment and blank side mould parts.
Another important design consideration is the energy savings potential of Quantum’s continuous cooling. The Quantum cylinder and process equipment work together to allow the forming plunger to be cooled throughout the entire forming cycle. This reduces plunger up pressure. As a result of lower plunger temperature, it is possible to increase the machine speed.
As society moves past 2020 and into the roaring 20s decade of the 21st Century, perfect vision may not be possible but Quantum can clearly see the need for production flexibility in response to a rapidly changing world. The company’s solutions can be an important factor in plans for navigating what the next decade has in store. Keep in mind that OEM lead time to supply a new machine is measured in months, while Quantum can supply a plunger mechanism in weeks.