How Simulation-Driven Design Optimizes the Stretch Molding Process

Stretch Blow Molding

The manufacturing of bottles is a multi-step process that can be pretty complex. Blow Molding Technologies (BMT) is a UK-based company developing solutions for the stretch blow molding industry. BMT is one of the companies pioneering simulation-driven design in the injection stretch blow molding process.

BMT needed to collect data on process and material properties by simulating the process accurately. BMT developed many technologies to optimize the injection stretch blow-molding process, including the THERMOscan 3D and Data-Rod.

Data-Rod and THERMOscan 3D

One can use the THERMOscan instrument for preferential heating to measure preform temperature around the circumference. The Data-Rod calculates stretching pressure and cavity force, while digital image correlation and high-speed video measure preform strain. This combination of tools has enabled BMT to understand the ISBM process thoroughly.

Petal-Rod and Indicate

BMT recently released the Indicate material and preform characterization instrument and the Petal-Rod base optimization stretch-rod.

The Indicate instrument assesses the material behavior of PET preforms under various processing conditions. During the stretch-blow molding process, the Petal-Rod helps optimize the bottle’s base.

These innovations are critical for improving bottle quality and optimizing the stretch blow molding process. Furthermore, they provide valuable insights that manufacturers can use to develop new materials and enhance preform quality control.

The simulation-driven design developed by BMT has resulted in significant advancements in the injection stretch blow molding industry. Innovative technologies and solutions have improved bottle quality and efficiency and opened new opportunities for material development and quality control. BMT continues to push the limits of the ISBM industry.

Preview Software

In addition, the company intends to release new software called Preview. Preview will enable the industry to scientifically model process conditions and experiment with new designs. This software will have a user-friendly interface and save time and money over traditional trial-and-error approaches.

Preview software is a web-based virtual engineering tool that investigates various design scenarios to optimize the blow molding process. Users can enter their design factors, such as preform geometry, bottle design, process parameters, and material grades. The software then generates the optimized blowing parameters with minor experimental testing. This software helps users understand how different materials will behave during blow molding, leading to new material grades.

Users must first enter the material grade into the software to assess the potential of new materials. The software then calculates the blowing parameters that will result in an optimized product. With minimal experimental testing, one can use these parameters to create blow-molded prototypes on real PET stretch blow molding machines.

This capability has several advantages over traditional trial-and-error methods, including:

  • It drastically reduces the time and money required to test new materials.
  • It allows a better understanding of how various materials will behave during the blow molding process.
  • It opens the door to the development of new material grades.
  • It eliminates the need for time-consuming and costly physical testing for stretch blow molding machines.

Future of Preview and Stimulation-Driven Design

BMT constantly adds new material grades and blowing parameters to the software. Furthermore, BMT is working to broaden the range of applications one can create with the software. The company plans to expand its reach to help more people benefit from the tool.

BMT has also created a comprehensive database of material grades from which customers can retrieve the required parameters. Users can assess multiple design scenarios and optimize blowing parameters using design inputs.

BMT intends to democratize the simulation-driven design approach across the ISBM industry with the release of the Preview software. Doing so will allow more customers to enter the digital engineering era of Industry 4.0.

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