Paul Atkin: The ASB-150 series currently comprises the largest one-step injection stretch blow-moulding machines manufactured by Nissei ASB for PET and other plastic containers. The newly developed ASB-150DPX model offers the world's first triple-row moulding system, offering 24, 36 or 48-cavity moulding for containers with a maximum capacity of 200ml. Because it is built on the same platform as its ASB-150 series siblings, a large percentage of parts are commonly used, resulting in simpler operator training and maintenance. In addition, designing the machine based on existing models has allowed us to offer it at a very attractive price.
Before this machine came onto the market, small container output had previously been limited to around 5,000 to 8,000 bottles per hour (bph), based on single or double-row moulding. Now, this output limit has been raised from 18,000 to 22,000bph.
The machine is dedicated to small and lightweight container manufacturing, and has been specifically targeted at several key market sectors, most notably fresh yogurt drinks, singleserving fruit juices, small liquor bottles and numerous other small products, such as sports and health drinks, medicines and air fresheners.
Since its debut at Drinktec 2017, more than 12 units have already been contracted, with five of those being delivered. Customer feedback has been highly supportive, with special mention of the competitive pricing and high output, coupled with its low energy consumption that keeps the production cost per bottle down.
We are developing a completely revised control and interface system for our entire line-up of machines. The first public demonstration of this was at the 2017 International Plastics Fair in Japan with the ASB-12M, our smallest machine in the current line-up. This control system is gradually being phased in over the coming year, and we can expect to see the first ASB-150 series model with this system to be ready for sale in 2019. The new control system will offer faster machine response, as well as improved information and operator feedback to allow faster fault finding and higher productivity. The system has been designed to be fully compatible with industry 4.0 - the standard communication protocol for industrial IoT.
The machine includes specific design features for small container moulding, and several areas of the machine design have patents that are either pending have already been approved. The injection-clamping stroke has been optimised to minimise the dry-cycle time for short-cycle small containers. Fully proportional hydraulic components provide a faster cycle of injection clamping, while maintaining smooth machine movement. Servo-hydraulic pumps offer a 30% reduction in energy consumption over comparable models. The blow-air circuit has been optimised for small container production, with minimal dead space that reduces air consumption by 50% over standard systems.
Other models in the ASB-150 series have already been on the market for around ten years. With the introduction of these upgraded technologies for the DPX variant, our designers have had the opportunity to revisit the earlier designs to plan for upgraded hydraulic circuits, as well as servo-hydraulic pumps that consume less energy. This will ensure that these models continue to be extremely competitive for the foreseeable future.