Auburg, the French subsidiary of injection molding machine maker, has collaborated with five partner companies to develop what it calls a “new one-stop-shop concept for the production of thin-walled five-liter buckets.”
The Thin Wall Integra project was the focal point of an open house at Collomb in Oyonnax, the hub of France’s Plastics Valley, on Jan. 12, 2022
The project’s main goal was to develop a high-volume, automated process for molding thin-wall containers with recycled material. A challenge for the project process was to achieve rapid production cycles and meet consistent quality parameters. However, the project has been successfully completed, Engel recently reported. Project partners included mold maker Collomb, robotics company Pagès Group, in-mold labeling (IML) specialist Verstraete, material flow company Koch-Technik, and materials supplier Borealis.
“The production process is articulated around a fully automated injection molding cell anchored by Arburg’s hybrid Allrounder 720 H with a single-cavity mold.” A complete cycle can be completed in just about five seconds.
IML labels are loaded into the mold through a handling system with a telescopic arm at the rear of the machine. Robots then take the labeled buckets and stack them on a deposit mat, where they are picked up and palletized by another robot. Recycled materials are continuously fed into the production process via an automatic conveyor system.
According to Auburg, the collaborative efforts into the endeavor also allowed for environmental goals to advance. The finished product contains 55% of recycled material, and the “ecological design” enables material savings of up to 35%. The buckets’ design allows for them to be stacked together, and thereby saves transportation and inventory resources. Additionally, the labels comply with HolyGrail 2.0 technology, through which digital watermarks are applied to packaging to facilitate sorting and recycling.