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When R&D/Leverage began building tooling for the injection blow mold (IBM) market, they found the opportunity to make dramatic improvements to the traditional design of injection blow tools. The company set out to identify and resolve problems related to traditional injection blow tooling.

The result is the Liberty IBM System. It uses patented technology to provide effective solutions to the challenges of conventional injection blow molding. “The reason we became so interested in improving the IBM tooling is that when we got into the IBM tooling business we recognised there were many problems inherent in the traditional design that were not conducive to cost-effective manufacturing and productivity that today’s injection blow molders need to be competitive in their markets. Because of these design problems in IBM, especially for the start-up of the run, it was very labor intensive,” says Jeff Chen, Director of Research & Simulation at R&D/Leverage. “Now, after much research, development and testing we have a proven IBM tool that really works.”

Some of the problems inherent in a conventionally-designed injection blow mold tool that the Liberty IBM System solves are:

• Eliminates the ill effect of thermal expansion related problems like bowing of the die-set • Enables the process technicians to do “cold starts” without having to torch the nozzles • Minimizes thermal expansion induced wear at the nozzle tip and gate area, which also eliminates frequent replacement of the nozzle • Eliminates the need of engaging and disengaging the manifold from the injection cavity for startup and shutdown • A high degree of manifold balance can be easily achieved • Minimize temperature bleed over between neck insert and cavity • Offers a solution for the galling and wear of traditional bottom mold retract components by utilizing a unique retract system • Minimizes parting line mismatch

The responsibility to make the product easy to process is with the person designing the preform, and the key to their being able to that is in applying consistent standards to the preform and tool design, which the technician processes under strict guidelines during single cavity development. This way the molder can ensure going into production without delays. “Through thermal isolation in our Liberty IBM System, we can achieve appropriate process temperatures without having to excessively run the thermolator only to achieve a lesser result,” Wardlow adds. “With superior isolation in those areas you can achieve appropriate temperatures easier and without as much strain on you equipment. A thermolator is expensive to operate and requires a lot of maintenance, so the Liberty IBM System reduces maintenance costs”.

R&D/Leverage currently has 16 Liberty IBM Systems running in the field with cavitation as high as 38 cavities. “The higher cavitation tools will have the highest return for our customers based on ease of start-up and tool maintenance,” comments Wardlow.

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