R&B rolling out 135-ton MAX 1835

May 26, 2016

Extruder and blow molding machinery maker R&B Plastics Machinery LLC is entering the injection blow molding (IBM) machine market with its introduction of the MAX 1835. The machine, which has a 135-ton injection clamp, has been designed to make pharmaceutical, home-care and personal-care bottles made from HDPE, LDPE, PET, PP and other plastics.

The company has been focused on extrusion blow molding machines, including wheel and shuttle systems. The Saline, Mich., company plans to expand the 1800 series in July with the MAX 1880, a 180-ton clamp machine.

"There's been a cry from customers in North America for a North American-built machine," said R&B President Fred Piercy. "We see an opportunity here to get into a market that has a lot of old and tired assets in it that needs [to be] refreshed. This is really an opportunity to incorporate new hydraulics, new electronic controls — really design the machine with operator use and maintenance and functionality incorporated into this platform."

The new machine should reduce downtime, lower production costs and generally be more cost-efficient than competing models, said Walter Priest, R&B's business unit director for IBM technology.

R&B has addressed some of the traditionally troublesome areas of the machines, such as the trigger bar locking mechanisms that go into the transfer head. In other machines, these mechanisms can wear out. "We've eliminated those by going to a pneumatic system that allows us to hold the mandrels open using air pressure instead of a mechanical force from say a cam or another type of piston," Priest said. The company expects the pneumatic system to last four times longer than competing mechanical locking pistons. In addition to the standard trigger bar length of 39.5 inches, R&B also offers an optional 42-inch length.

The company also has taken steps to protect its machine from corrosion. "We see a lot of equipment in the industry where they just rely on the customer to oil it," Priest said. "We don't do that. We actually use a variety of corrosion-resistant materials." The machine's materials include zinc.

The R&B machine also features extra-large-diameter transfer shafts to provide longer life and accurate position control. In addition, it has a 5-inch tie-bar diameter for the injection clamp. That's one of the largest in the industry, Priest said.

The MAX 1800 series has a convertible feature for using competitors' tools. "We can change the spacers and digging mechanism that allow you to install the tools, so it's a happy experience," Priest said.

The company offers both Siemens and Allen-Bradley control systems, with a color touch screen and an operator-interface panel. Dry cycle time is 3 seconds, and the machine's output ranges from 1,500-4,000 bottles per hour.

R&B also stresses the quality of its service group. "We have a group of guys that can go out in the field and take care of customers' problems," Priest said. "A lot of people are complaining today that, especially with offshore equipment, you can't get service. People just don't understand these foreign machines."

The company makes the machines at its Saline facility, and it does all its programming on-site.

Piercy said the company had a list of 10-12 customers who expressed significant interest in the new platform.

"We're very much a custom machine builder, and this is an opportunity to build similar machines, similar plat-forms, similar sizes, but have the ability to customize to the customers' needs with different options. It's a very repeatable machine platform."

Allan Gerlat, correspondent

[email protected]


 R&B Plastics Machinery LLC, 734-429-9421, www.rbplasticsmachinery.com