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How to Avoid Equipment Failures in the Blow Molding Industry

Blow Molding Industry | KB Delta

Within the modern blow molding industry, there’s a constant push to find an edge over the competition. It’s the smallest of components that can hold the key to a businesses success.

There is, of course, many different processes involved within the whole of the blow molding industry, such as injection, stretch, and intrusion. Each of these also has various derivative sections. The reciprocating compressor, however, is a common element within all of these and is at the heart of every blow mold operation.

With the failure of a compressor, there is no operation and harnessing anything close to the full potential of the system is a highly complex undertaking itself. The individual components that make up the system are extremely important. This article takes a look at some of the common equipment failures that occur in blow molding and the steps that manufacturers can take to prevent them from happening.


The Modern Blow Molding Industry

While the PET molding industry in America is expected to continue growing at a rate of around 4% annually over the next few years, factors such as resin prices and consumer trends will ultimately increase the competitiveness amongst manufacturers which will, in turn, lead to a greater battle for businesses to remain financially viable.

Two major developments the industry has incorporated since the turn of the century to reduce production expenditure has been:

  1. light-weighting of the amount or type of resin used to create their products
  2. the introduction of recovery systems for recycling compressed air

Both of these advancements are measures to reduce the workload placed upon the compressor, which not only has a financial saving through increased energy efficiency, it also puts less strain on the equipment that can increase it’s expected lifespan.

This equipment will still inevitably fade and die but this can often be remedied by servicing and part replacement, rather than having a full overhaul of the faulty machinery. The day-to-day expertise that this entails, therefore, has a huge bearing on the overall effectiveness of the operation as problems occurring in systems involving compressed gas are as reliable as death and taxation.


Leaking Money

Perhaps the most common equipment fault within the blow molding industry is air and gas leakages. Not only do these present a waste of energy within the operation, they also increase the load placed on the compressor. Furthermore, leaks can affect the quality of goods being produced due to a decreased level of accuracy of the size and pressure of air-shots used that are fundamental to achieving a consistency in production.

Therefore, there is a huge financial incentive on offer for companies to carry out the appropriate maintenance of their equipment on a regular basis. The efficient running of an operation will greatly reduce the overall production costs in both energy consumption and potentially through a waste of time and materials if a major fault occurs.

Whilst leakages can often be easily corrected, a bigger problem lies in their detection. The use of flowmeters and advanced detection equipment are options to aid a company. However, an extensive risk assessment and leak-management schedule is a fundamental process that all manufacturers within the industry should have in place.


Cleanliness is Healthiness

Prevention is always a far better practice than having to constantly cure problems. A majority of problems faced by the procedures in the blow molding industry are associated with the cleanliness of the air supply. With water vapor being the main culprit, and causing up to 80% of problems in PET manufacture, oil and dirt particles also need to be removed from the process to ensure a smooth operation.

Contaminated air will not only affect the quality of the products being created, it also leads to equipment failure such as the system’s valves. These are sensitive pieces of equipment. A blow molder uses several pneumatic valves throughout the system, each with a different purpose, but each needing to be finely-tuned to work to an exacting degree of precision.

For this reason, a great importance should be placed upon the correct installation of any new parts to not only ensure that they’re fitted correctly to provide optimal performance, but also fitted cleanly to avoid any unnecessary contamination and further problems developing.


A Worthy Investment

One of the responsibilities that a management team has towards steering their company towards profitability is achieving a balance between risk and reward, which is best suited for their purposes. While the safety of the operation is a non-negotiable factor in their planning, the way in which they attain functionality can provide scope to maneuver.

The quality of the parts employed in the system can be just as pivotal towards its effective performance as the extent of maintenance and upkeep carried out in the plant. The use of Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts and associated materials is by far the safest way to ensure that the process is working as intended, however, this also comes at a higher price than alternative options available to the business.

While an initial saving will certainly be made using cheaper versions of parts, they often re-enforce the notion of getting what you pay for, with reliability and effectiveness being compromised. To this extent, an analysis will need to be drawn up to fully understand the long-term effects and costs that will be brought about by this choice.


A Sign of Assurance

Not all third-party parts are of inferior quality though, and another option is available that bridges this perceived divide between quality and affordability. The valve repair council is a subsidiary of the VMA (valve manufacturers association of America) and is a sign of adherence to the manufacturer’s standards and specifications.

This relates to all aspects of valve performance, including the rebuilding and repair as well as the use, maintenance and installation of valve equipment. With many peripheral parts that constitute to the workings of a valve, these components are responsible for the overall control of the system, irrespective of how futuristic the design may be.

With a growing number of manufacturers and suppliers now emerging in this growing marketplace, the variance in quality has also increased and this provides businesses with confidence that the company they’re dealing with is working to the highest of standards, and sometimes at reduced prices than those offered by the OEM’s themselves.

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