Netstal launches company's first side-entry IMM for preforms

Oct. 27, 2020
The Netstal PET-Line, the first featuring the ninth generation of Netstal’s aXos controller, made its debut in mid-September with the launch of the Netstal PET-Line 4000-6000-135. Designed to handle recycled PET, it is compact and energy-efficient.

By Karen Hanna 

A new preform injection molding machine line from Netstal gives removal automation access to molds from the side. It also has been optimized to process PET with recycled content (rPET) of up to 100 percent. 

The Netstal PET-Line, the first featuring the ninth generation of Netstal’s aXos controller, made its debut in mid-September with the launch of the Netstal PET-Line 4000-6000-135, a 450-tonner; other models are on the way, according to Netstal, a brand of the KraussMaffei Group, Munich. The line makes preforms for bottles intended for still water and carbonated beverages. 

Michael Birchler, head of marketing and communications for the Netstal brand, said the new design — a first for Netstal — saves space and accommodates the increasing number of molders that seem to prefer side-entry machines. It is designed so that a removal gripper enters from the side to take out preforms, and it has a laterally positioned post-mold cooling station.  

With the all-new Netstal PET-Line molds for side-entry systems (new and legacy) can be used no matter from which manufacturer they come from. Compatibility reaches back to molds made in the year 2004,” Birchler said.  

He said over the years, the company has updatedits top-entry machines, whichit plans to continue to offerHoweverwith the PET-Line, the upgrade it has made in terms of energyefficiencyisn’tjust a lateral move. 

“Depending on the preform, the new PET-Line with side-entry has become even better,” he said. “This is possible because we recuperate the kinetic braking energy in the electric clamping unit and in the post-mold cooling station and use it directly in the system again. This means that the machine generates part of its energy requirements itself.” 

Machines in the PET-Line feature a new screw design and can accommodate as many as four laterally positioned post-mold cooling stations. They are made to ensure a homogeneous and consistent melt quality, minimal drop in intrinsic viscosity and gentle material feed. 

“Thanks to an adapted design, the rPET screw can process rPET better in a wide process window,” Birchler said. “In addition, the newly developed plasticizing unit offers a generally better melt quality for rPET.” 

The machines’ fully electric clamping units have a five-point, dual-toggle lever. 

In addition to their energy-efficiency advantages, the side-entry machines are faster than their top-loading brethren. For example, the lock-to-lock time for the 450-ton model is 1.9 seconds.  

“With the new Netstal PET-Line, you get what is currently the most powerful, environmentally friendly and reliable preform system around,” said Eric Overbeek, VP of sales at KraussMaffei HighPerformance. 

Also making its debut with the side-entry machines is the newest generation of the aXos controller, aXos 9, which is designed for ease of use.  

The new operator panel comprises a central touch screen flanked by haptic keys. Navigation between the individual settings occurs exclusively via the touch screen. In contrast, all the axial motion is triggered exclusively via the haptic keys,” said Stefan Kleinfeld, PET systems product manager. 

The machines also offer Netstal’s Smart Operation features, with four keys for intuitive operations. Clear information and color indicators enable simple, fast and reliable process control.  

Smart Operation offers Euromap 82 communication, which allows users to integrate peripheral equipment, and provides access to all system settings through a single screen, Birchler said. 

With Smart Operation, operators can start preform production using just two keys. Originally designed to meet the needs of molders of medical technology products, “the intuitive and safe operation is now also accessible for manufacturers of PET preforms,” he said. 

The feature simplifies training for new operators.

Karen Hanna, associate editor


Krauss-Maffei Corp., Florence, Ky., 859-283-0200, 

About the Author

Karen Hanna | Senior Staff Reporter

Senior Staff Reporter Karen Hanna covers injection molding, molds and tooling, processors, workforce and other topics, and writes features including In Other Words and Problem Solved for Plastics Machinery & Manufacturing, Plastics Recycling and The Journal of Blow Molding. She has more than 15 years of experience in daily and magazine journalism.