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KHS: Feed module conveys lightweight PET preforms

The new, horizontal Feedflow feed module from KHS is designed to reliably and gently convey lightweight (less than 10 g) PET preforms at speeds up to 84,000 preforms/hr. to its Feedmax preform sorter and feed system, and InnoPET Blomax stretch blow molder.

The preforms are fed into a preform silo with an optional silo lid to protect the preforms from foreign objects. For very sensitive products that have a higher hygiene requirement the Feedmax system can be fully enclosed.

From the silo the preforms travel along an inclined conveyor to an interim conveyor which discharges into the preform sorter. At the end of the sorter the preforms are fed in one lane to a discharge rail or, depending on the application, onto the active, horizontal Feedflow conveying segment.

The traditional discharge rail makes use of the force of gravity to generate the required accumulation pressure, which keeps the preforms continuously moving towards the stretch blow molder. The preform weight and quality, infeed angle, surface properties of the discharge rail, temperature, and humidity are all factors which influence reliable transportation and conveying speed. This complexity can pose a risk to the course of production and line availability.

As opposed to the traditional infeed by discharge rail, the Feedflow method actively conveys the preforms along the horizontal feed segment in a targeted flow of air. The frequency-controlled blower motors on the Feedflow ensure a constant and reliable flow of materials to the blow molder. This also ensures a high permanent level of line availability.

Because of its active preform conveying, the new Feedmax system with its integrated Feedflow preform feed can be much more compact in size. This greatly improves accessibility and also makes the machine much easier to operate and service.

The combined Feedmax/Feedflow feed system has a controller included in the blow molder. The KHS ClearLine HMI provides ergonomics, logical navigation, and attractive design; controls the process centrally; reduces machine complexity; and makes operating the entire setup simpler.

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