Agr’s new Lightweight option for the Process Pilot® blowmoulder management system offers brand owners and bottle manufactures another tool to meet this complex and growing challenge. The company says the new Process Pilot system with Lightweight option provides assurance that the limited material available for producing a light weight PET bottle is distributed exactly where it needs to be, and at the appropriate thickness, to ensure proper performance. 

There are many facets to this issue and improving the sustainability footprint of a product or brand can be a complex undertaking. Most avenues to sustainability are not under the direct control of the bottle manufacturer or brand owner. One option that is within their control, however, is the reduction and optimisation of the amount of resin that is used to manufacture the bottles.  Resin (or weight) reduction per bottle does not need to be excessive to have an impact with regards to sustainability and financial benefits particularly when factoring in the quantity of bottles produced over a given period of time.

Over the years, many PET bottle manufacturers have made great progress reducing excess material and moving towards lighter, more sustainable bottles.  However, as weights continue to be reduced, the role of process variation and its effect on material distribution increasingly becomes a factor in the success of the weight-reduction program. Agr’s Process Pilot blowmoulder management system was developed to address this issue. Agr says the system, with Agr Pilot Profiler® measurement technology installed inside the blowmoulder, provides a means for manufacturers to accurately measure material distribution on every bottle (to 0.05mm), in real time, and proactively adjust the blowmoulder to maintain proper distribution, countering the effect of process variation.

In the push for more sustainable bottles, weights are being reduced even further and, with that, the sidewall thickness of the bottle.  In order to process these bottles effectively and control the material distribution, additional measurement accuracy is required. The new Lightweight option was developed to address this need. With this option, says Agr, a level of control is now available with the Process Pilot system that extends the measurement range to 0.025mm, with an accuracy of +0.01mm for PET bottle sidewall material. This added functionality, it claims, delivers greater distribution control on bottles with very thin sidewalls or at specific locations on other types of bottles where precise material management is critical to meet performance and quality requirements. 

Process Pilot automated blowmoulder control systems are operating on over 400 PET bottle production lines.  What makes the Process Pilot system unique, says Agr, is that it manages the blowmoulder based on direct bottle measurements, on every bottle produced.  By controlling the blowmoulder based on direct feedback from bottle measurements rather than just blowmoulder performance indicators, the Agr system can ensure that the final product has the desired quality and performance attributes in spite of environmental, blowmoulder or material variations that can occur during the production process. Now with the Lightweight option, the company says the process can be controlled for even the lightest bottles. 

Agr International Inc. develops and manufactures a full line of laboratory, on-line quality and process management devices for containers and similar products for the plastic, glass and packaging industry. The Agr headquarters and main manufacturing facility is located in Butler, PA, USA.