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    “All systems go” for the drinktec: the new Contiform generation

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    13. September 2022
    3:20 min.
    Based on proven technology, optimised for sustainability, and enhanced with artificial intelligence, the fourth generation of the Contiform is ready for the future!
    • The current trend is towards a hugely varied range of bottle shapes and sizes.

    The fourth generation of the Contiform stretch blow-moulder is here. It excels above all in terms of eco-friendliness and further improved efficiency and flexibility. In addition, the machine has also been rigged up for digitalization and can even be equipped with artificial intelligence (AI).

    Eco-friendly design and operation

    Environmentally sound and sustainable operation – That was one of the paramount goals for this latest evolution of the Contiform. When it comes to stretch blow-moulders, the most effective levers for achieving them are cutting energy consumption for preform heating and, of course, reducing compressed-air consumption in the blow-moulding process.

    Thanks to shorter distances between the heaters, a more compact heating space and redesigned heaters featuring parabolic reflectors, energy consumption has been cut by another eleven per cent compared to the previous generation. The fourth generation also provides substantial savings on compressed air. The newly developed Air Wizard Triple air recycling system uses a three-stage recycling process, which makes it possible to reduce compressed-air consumption by as much as 20 per cent as compared to the technology customary on the market to date.

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    The cuts in energy consumption are attributable not least to shorter distances between the heaters.

    These optimised features not only benefit our natural environment but also upgrade the the efficiency of the Contiform and reduce its operating costs compared to its predecessor model. However, the machine’s eco-friendliness is not limited to its operation. Top priority is also attached to sustainability for its production. As an example, the protective panels used are made of recycled plastic.

    Efficiency thanks to reduced downtimes

    Moreover, it was clear that unplanned standstills must be further reduced. To give an example: Hitherto, a preform that could not be reliably inserted in the moulding cavity caused an emergency stop. As a result, all preforms and bottles in the machine at that time could not be used. That is no longer the case, thanks to the newly developed skip-and-run-technology, which monitors the mould-hanger locking device and allows a blow-moulding station that is not locked to pass along the main cam and to eject the defective preform without triggering an emergency stop of the entire machine. That considerably reduces the scrap rate and eliminates the need for operator intervention.

    Flexible customisation options to meet every requirement

    The machine portfolio has been substantially expanded to provide more flexibility. Beverage companies can now choose the machine best suited for their needs from an even wider range of stretch blow-moulders.

    1. Contiform – A flexible machine for blow-moulding containers with a volume of up to 3.5 litres to be filled with water, CSDs and sensitive products, with low to high overall performance
    2. Contiform Speed – Geared to top performance for blow-moulding containers holding up to two litres to be filled with water and carbonated drinks, with outputs of up to 100,000 containers per hour
    3. Contiform BigBottle – Machine for blow-moulding large containers with a volume of up to eight litres

    Preferential heating technology has also been added to the portfolio. That makes it possible to blow-mould oval and asymmetrical containers of the kind used for household and personal-care products.

    There is a global trend towards producing an ever-increasing number of different bottle shapes and sizes on a single machine. The Contiform permits extremely fast and simple format change-over routines, thus fully living up to that trend. Thanks to MouldXpress Robot, it is possible to replace the moulds fully automatically. And replacing handling parts has also been optimised for the operator. Robots and operating staff can even work simultaneously now on machine change-overs.

    But these are not the only improvements. The new Contiform features a large-screen interface with the latest touch technology and redesigned visualisation software for enhanced user-friendliness. And assistant systems guide the operating personnel through the settings, even making automatic suggestions. That renders machine operation more intuitive and more efficient.

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    25 years after its first generation was developed, the fourth generation of the Contiform will now be launched.

    A machine that learns

    To help relieve operating personnel of challenging tasks across the board, Krones has developed Contiloop AI, an automatic process control system. Artificial intelligence enables the system to control the bottle blow-moulding process autonomously. In a trial run based on design of experiments (DOE), various process settings are determined which are used to train a control agent. This agent can then act like a highly qualified operator, who knows all the processes involved inside out, and can automatically adapt them appropriately – even if parameters change over the course of time. The control agent can be retrained at any time. That renders the operation of the Contiform less dependent on ambient conditions, preform material properties and operators’ knowledge and skills.

    13. September 2022
    3:20 min.

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