Ushio Europe supplies a wide range of infrared emitting lamps to major original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) of plastic blow moulding equipment. The most commonly thermoformed material is polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE), which is widely used to create durable containers for soda, chemicals, cosmetic products, and pharmaceuticals.
How does blow moulding work?
Blow moulding is a manufacturing process which derives from the ancient art of glassblowing. With the advent of mass produced plastic bottles in the late 1930’s, the process was refined to allow the formation of hollow plastic parts.
Ushio’s infrared solutions are crucial to the early stages of blow moulding as the raw polymer material, such as PET, is melted down to a test tube shape with a single open end. The hot plastic tube, known as a parison or preform, is then sealed within a blow mould before compressed air inflates it like a balloon to form the desired shape. As the preform expands to the same configuration as the mould’s internal surfaces, the plastic is then cooled back to a solid state. The mould then opens and ejects the completed part.
Types of blow moulding
- Extrusion Blow Moulding (EBM) – This straightforward form of blow moulding is also the cheapest to run and allows manufacturers to create shapes with multiple layers, necks, and handles. A typical EBM product is a hollow, standalone container.
- Injection Blow Moulding (IBM) – Used to produce solid, rather than hollow pieces.
PET bottle recycling
PET is fully recyclable in a process which involves hydrolysing the polymer structure to break apart the polymer chains within the substance. Once the separated monomers are purified, they are polymerised once again to create a new food and beverage safe PET plastic.