Italian blow molding machine maker eyes US market

May 22, 2020
Alphamac, a new Italian firm that has already sold its blow molding machines to customers in Europe and the Middle East, is launching sales in the U.S.

A new Italian blow molding machine maker that has already sold machines to customers in Europe and the Middle East is launching sales in the U.S. 

Alphamac, founded by a team of blow molding technology veterans headed by Moreno Minghetti, has booked space to exhibit one of its machines at NPE 2021 in Orlando, Fla. The company, which makes extrusion blow molding machines, launched last year. 

Alphamac develops its own blow molding technology, designs its machines and handles marketing and service, but it contracts out the construction and assembly of its units. It offers six all-electric machines in single- and double-shuttle models. 

Alphamac CEO Minghetti previously was CEO of Techne Graham Packaging Co. Italiawhich was a subsidiary of U.S.-based Graham Packaging. The company was sold in 2017 and the name was changed.  

Minghetti’s background is in engineering, and he recruited experienced professionals from Uniloy, Kautex and Techne to staff the company. 

Bologna, where Alphamac is based, has many highly specialized companies that handle the building of the machines, he said. For example, some companies specialize in electrical cabinets and wiring, others in mechanical parts manufacturing, and others in machine assembly. 

“That makes our company extremely flexible and very cost-competitive,” Minghetti said. “I have reasonably low fixed costs and a larger amount of flexible costs. Therefore, I have the costs only when I sell the machine.” 

Alphamac personnel oversee quality control and project management, he said. 

Over the past year, Alphamac has sold three machines to customers in Russia, two machines to customers in Dubai and two machines to customers in France.  

The company has identified Europe, the U.S., Mexico and Saudi Arabia as potential markets. It is targeting countries that place an emphasis on quality and energy efficiency, Minghetti said. 

Alphamac currently is negotiating the sale of three machines in the U.S., he saidIt has formed a partnership with Jackson Machinery, Port Washington, Wis., for sales and service support. It also is considering opening its own office in the U.S. 

Alphamac’s machines use about 40 percent less energy than comparable hydraulic machines, said Bob Jackson, owner of Jackson Machinery. They have vibration sensors that can alert operators to a variety of conditions that might require service, including worn bushings and bearings. Eliminating hydraulics eliminates concerns about oil leaks, and servo motors deliver better clamp control, he said. As the mold faces wear, the machine warns the operator when clamp adjustment or other adjustments are necessary, Jackson said. 

The machines can process a high percentage of post-consumer resin and are equipped with predictive maintenance software and hardware that can warn operators of service needs before a malfunctionMinghetti said. Alphamac software monitors energy consumption and production and maintenance data. Workers can access the data online through a smartphone or tablet.  

Adjustments of the parison profile and the weight of the bottles, as well as quick color changesare made electronically instead of manually. As a result, companies using Alphamac machines can employ a less-skilled workforce and minimize the amount of worker training, Minghetti said. 

The company also offers a quality-control system that uses a camera and software to analyze the quality of bottles. Bottles that are not within specifications are automatically separated. 

An optional scale inside the machine automatically weighs the bottles to ensure they meet weight specifications.  

The camera and weighing systems can improve quality control and reduce the need for manual inspection 

The data collected by the machines’ software can be tied into a processor’s production management software to calculate overall equipment effectiveness and the amount of scrap produced. 

“This machine is very, very interactive, which is what the market needs today,” Minghetti said. 

The six models can produce everything from small cosmetic bottles to 5-gallon jerrycans. The machines share several common parts, which significantly reduces the number of spare parts the company needs to have on hand for customers.  

The most basic model is the Zero, a single-shuttle machine for producing bottles with capacities of up to 5 liters. It has 20 tons of clamping force and features 2-foot shuttle stroke and a 2.6-second dry cycle. It is designed for small- to medium-size manufacturers and processors with short production runsIt can produce as many as 400 5-liter bottles per hour using a two-cavity mold. By contrast, the company’s double-shuttle Seicento model has similar specifications but a 2.4-second dry cycle. It can produce twice as many containers per hour as the Zero. 

The company’s other models all are available in single- and double-shuttle versions, with the double-shuttle versions offering twice the output. Three of them — the Novecento, Venti and Asepta models — have 34 tons of clamping force. The Novecentofeaturing 3-foot shuttle stroke and a 3.3-second dry cycle, can produce either 600 5-liter bottles per hour or 1,200 5-liter bottles per hour. 

Designed for 10-liter to 25-liter bottles, the Venti has a 2-foot shuttle stroke and a 3.3-second dry cycle. It can make either 130 or 260 20-liter bottles per hour. 

The Asepta model is designed for dairy product containers that must withstand ultra-high temperatures (UHT). It features a 3-foot shuttle stroke and a 3.3-second dry cycle. It can produce either 2,800 or 5,600 1-liter bottles per hour. 

Rounding out Alphamac’s produce portfolio is the Alpha Mille. It has 51 tons of clamping force and 4-foot shuttle stroke and operates within a 4-second dry cycle. It can make either 720 5-liter bottles or 1,440 bottles per hour. 

Alphamac is targeting its sales at the food and industrial markets. Potential buyers include makers of bottles for refrigerated milk and yogurt or UHT products such as milk, juices and soups. Industrial customers include container makers for oillubricants and household detergents and the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries.

Bruce Geiselman, senior staff reporter

[email protected]

For more information

Jackson Machinery Inc., Port Washington, Wis., 262-284-1066, 

Alphamac, Bologna, Italy, 39-051-0185184, 

About the Author

Bruce Geiselman | Senior Staff Reporter

Senior Staff Reporter Bruce Geiselman covers extrusion, blow molding, additive manufacturing, automation and end markets including automotive and packaging. He also writes features, including In Other Words and Problem Solved, for Plastics Machinery & Manufacturing, Plastics Recycling and The Journal of Blow Molding. He has extensive experience in daily and magazine journalism.

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