The stretch blow molder/labeler/filler block is part of what’s now the family business’s eleventh line from KHS. “The Richmonds have always been among the very first to opt for our new technologies. In 2008, for instance, they invested in KHS’s latest InnoPET BloFill stretch blow molder/filler block. And in 2017 they were the first to commission the KHS InnoPET TriBlock with a labeler integrated between the stretch blow molder and filler,” says Alcides Vieira, Vice President Sales & Marketing at KHS USA.The labeler applies pre-glued labels rather than relying on the more conventional approach of applying hot-melt glue. Not only does this prevent open bottles from being exposed to hot melt vapors, it also greatly reduces time spent on regular maintenance involving the arduous removal of residue adhesive.
“The labeling process is an essential part of the TriBlock and must run at the absolute highest level of availability, effectiveness, and quality,” says Plant Manager John Bickerstaff. “Also regarding ease of maintenance and production reliability along the entire line, we’ve had top results right from day one with the pre-blued technology.” He attributes this not just to the innovative labeling method but also to the continuous neck handling of the lightweight bottles, which protects them from mechanical stress during production.
The Richmonds are also eager to attain further pioneering status when it comes to sustainable packaging. One of their chief concerns is that they reduce their bottle weights and thus the amount of PET used. “With the help of the experts from KHS’s Bottles & ShapesTM program and our preform manufacturer Plastipak, we’re setting a new lightweighting record with practically every new product we introduce,” says Richmond. “In the Magee plant we’ve been using 500-mL PET bottles that weigh just 7.8 grams since 2017. And on the brand new TriBlock in Ocala the containers weigh just 7 g.”