Performance and flexibility continue to drive the growth that has taken SACMI machines to the top of the market. Latest innovative steps include the ability to process recycled PET with standard machines and integration with AI vision systems
Eight years have gone by since the first SACMI IPS (injection preform system) for the manufacture of PET preforms made its debut. Thanks to its unique qualities of integration, performance, usability and low consumption, this 220 t, 48-cavity mould SACMI press has enjoyed worldwide success: for several reasons. First of all, SACMI is a truly global supplier both geographically (its Global Network consists of over 80 companies) and, above all, technologically, providing solutions designed to meet every manufacturing need within the packaging-beverage industry.
Supply chain quality, service quality
Already a leader in the closures field, the SACMI Group has, in recent years, invested heavily in the development and expansion of its PET Solutions range.
SACMI's strategy of supplying combined cap-preform solutions and acting as “sole technology provider" has proved to be highly successful, especially where producers – for geographical, technological or market reasons – need to cover as much of the supply chain as possible with a reliable sole partner who can ensure outstanding quality and service.
Wherever in the world SACMI has marketed and started up IPS solutions, suitable levels of local service have been established so that highly specialised teams can act promptly to ensure maximum plant efficiency at all times.
More efficient than ever
One of the key advantages of the successful IPS 220 is its innovative mould-machine interface, designed to halve size changeover times with respect to alternative solutions. In other words: full machine-robot-mould-auxiliary unit integration, governed by SACMI-developed software that merges and simplifies machine control via a single user-friendly platform.
Since the introduction of the first IPS model - which made SACMI one of just a handful of complete preform plant suppliers - the company has invested in extending the range, developing two further 300 and 400 ton platforms (with up to 128 cavities per mould) that can house moulds by both SACMI and other approved suppliers such as MHT.
Adaptive and versatile
Expansion of the range has, in part, shifted the focus from integration to adaptivity. On the IPS 300 and 400 models, in fact, the machine-mould interface has been designed to host existing moulds with ease. This means customers can enjoy unmatched versatility of use, starting with modular control and an investment that can be scaled up.
Where properly maintained, preform moulds can, in fact, have an extremely long working life, often longer than that of the presses on which they're installed. That's why SACMI has, on its higher-tonnage models, focused on mould interchangeability while maintaining some of the fast changeover solutions that were tried and tested on the IPS220.
Sustainability 'as standard'
SACMI has always combined cutting-edge technology with extensive know-how on materials. Building on its leadership in the development of machines for the closures sector, SACMI has expanded its technological lab to provide advanced cap-preform design and test services in both the plastics and metal closures fields.
In recent years, one of the key aspects of the SACMI range and the relative research work has been sustainability: this involves both lightweighting (overall weight reduction of the cap-preform system, performance remaining equal) and the development of technological standards that reduce environmental impact by using recycling-sourced materials.
Hence the development of a machine range capable of processing recycled materials in various forms (flakes and grains), a guaranteed feature on the standard IPS solution that requires no modification or adaptation.
A recyclable material par excellence, PET is an increasingly important part of SACMI's sustainability-focused investment plans, the aim being to develop, in the near future, an integrated recyclable PET processing system.
Shared technical features
All SACMI IPS platforms are characterised by ambitious technological standards: these include high-performance plasticization units, equipped with shooting pot, and a wide range of combinations that lets operators optimise settings according to preform type and mould size.
Moreover, a 3 or 4-station post-cooling area with internal cooling and a Bosch linear brushless motor featuring K.E.R.S. technology contribute - right across the range - to minimisation of consumption (guaranteed in the order of just 0.2 kW/kg).
Towards IA solutions
A further advantage of the SACMI range compared to competitors is that, alongside the machines, it provides integrated devices for total quality control of preforms, both in-line or in the lab.
For example, the broad SACMI PVS (preform vision system) range offers inspection rates as high as 72,000 preforms/hour.
Systems equipped with up to 8 HD image capture cameras, plus unique patented solutions (e.g. polarized light inspection that operates on proprietary software) that check 100% of output, provide detailed reports highlighting the origins of any defects thanks to a cavity number reading system.
Recent developments in this field include Artificial Intelligence Solutions that shift the inspection focus from individual product quality control to broader process monitoring. From this standpoint, preform vision systems are one of the first areas to apply the new SACMI D.R.I.V.A. (Drive and Recognise with Intelligent Vision Algorithms) system.
A pioneering autonomous size changeover solution designed for the packaging industry, this system lets workers - even where they are not experts on the product – enact user-friendly, fully automated management of machine settings and adjustments, thus speeding up work and eliminating any human error.