If both aseptically filled beverages and juice and carbonated soft drinks are to be produced, for example, different sizes of bottle neck are needed. Photo credit: KHS/Frank Reinhold

With its new, simplified neck changeovers KHS has now shortened the time needed to convert the InnoPET Blomax stretch blow molder – including the preform infeed.

In the past only one category of product was usually run on aseptic lines, but bottlers of sensitive beverages now face an ever-growing demand for flexibility. If the bottle neck is to be changed on a PET line, however, to date a comparatively large amount of effort was required to convert the stretch blow molder in particular. Machines were often stopped for up to four hours, tying up the often very few operators of the same for a disproportionately long period of time. 

In order to considerably speed up the conversion process as a whole, KHS has not just simplified the individual work steps involved but also the concept governing the entire procedure. 

“We started out by analyzing how the operators work,” said Arne Andersen, stretch blow molding product manager. “On this basis we then considered how all tasks could be made easier and organized as perfectly as possible – paying particular attention to the ergonomics. Magazines were installed that stop the operator having to repeatedly abandon the machine to fetch and carry change parts, for example. We also replaced the grippers to reduce the number of screws that need to be loosened. At the same time, newly developed mandrel heads are now used that can be simply removed by pressing a release spring. This process used to be much more complex.” 

Thanks to the simple neck change, the time needed for two operators to convert the KHS InnoPET Blomax16 stretch blow molder, for instance, has now been cut by a two thirds to approximately 86 minutes – including the preform infeed. 

“Some of our customers produce just in time; this means that the finished containers are loaded straight onto the truck without any interim storage. The drastically reduced conversion time will now enable filling operations like these to change necks more frequently; they thus profit from totally new options in their production planning,” Andersen said. 

About the KHS Group
The KHS Group is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of filling and packaging systems for the beverage and liquid food industries. Besides the parent company (KHS GmbH) the group includes various subsidiaries outside Germany, with production sites in Ahmedabad (India), Waukesha (USA), Zinacantepec (Mexico), São Paulo (Brazil) and Kunshan (China). It also operates numerous sales and service centers worldwide. KHS manufactures modern filling and packaging systems for the high-capacity range at its headquarters in Dortmund, Germany, and at its factories in Bad Kreuznach, Kleve, Worms and Hamburg. The KHS Group is a wholly owned subsidiary of the SDAX-listed Salzgitter AG corporation. In 2021 the KHS Group and its 4,954 employees achieved a turnover of around €1.245 billion.