A new thermoforming machine optimizes single-material processing

The new versatile R3 thermoformer developed by Multivac is designed to process recyclable mono-material films consistently and reliably with minimal maintenance. The machine also features a modular construction such that it can be easily adapted to meet a range of customer requirements. The goal when designing the R3 thermoformer, which will be available from July 2022, was to find “best fit” machine configurations for small and medium-sized businesses as well as large companies with tight budgets, said declared Multivac.

Image courtesy of Multivac
The loading area of ​​the R3 thermoforming system.

The R3 includes a forming station, a loading area, a sealing die and a cutting area.

The forming station applies heat to the lower web so that the packaging cavities can be thermoformed using compressed air and vacuum. Once the thermoforming process is completed, the manual or automatic loading of the product into the packaging cavities begins. Then the bottom strip is hermetically sealed to the top strip in the sealing die. The final step is to separate the individual bundles in the web from bundles in the web using cross-cut units and a longitudinal knife. The R3 reaches a speed of 12 cycles per minute at its peak level and can therefore reach the output of high-end trencher lines, according to Multivac.

Even film heating eliminates package edge waves

As brand owners move away from multi-layer films, which cannot be recycled, and switch to single-material recyclable films such as APET or PP, converters often have to contend with aesthetic issues, such as light ripples on the edges of the packaging caused by conventional thermoforming. machinery. “In order to solve this problem, we have equipped the R3 with an integral heater, which heats the recyclable films very evenly”, explains Michael Landerer, product manager at Multivac.

In addition, the chain guides for the web feed can be individually adjusted and are decoupled from all machine process forces, so that the weight of the die set is fully supported by the side frames. Therefore, no vibration is transmitted to the film. “This allows us to achieve consistent web tension and consistently prevent ripples at the package edges, ensuring optimum package appearance with films made from mono-materials such as polypropylene. “, Landerer said.

Minimum maintenance required

Several features have been designed into the R3 thermoformer to minimize maintenance.

The number of moving parts in the hoist unit has been reduced and lubricants have been eliminated. In addition, sealing plate changes have been simplified.

Service technicians typically have to lift the complete top section of a 100 kg die when making a change. In the R3, the sealing plate, which weighs only around 20 kg, can be unscrewed from the upper part and pulled into the loading area. “The cooling water circuit in the upper part remains unchanged, which is a huge advantage”, according to Landerer. “This means there is no longer any need to drain the cooling water, which not only costs time but also carries the risk of contamination, he said.

Finally, the underside of the frame of the thermoforming packaging machine has been reinforced. This makes it possible to lift the entire machine at a central point with a forklift, for example. “Thanks to this reinforcement, it is possible to quickly change the position of the machine in the event of a line change,” Landerer said.

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