Amcor Rigid Plastics and Italian compression moulding equipment manufacturer SACMI Imola, have partnered to commercialise the compression blow forming (CBF) machine for the production of rigid high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pharmaceutical bottles.

Originally developed by Sacmi, the system combines the process of compression moulding and blow moulding to offer higher-quality, sustainability benefits and the potential for lightweighting when compared to conventional processes.

Amcor partnered with Sacmi in a 14-month development project to adapt the technology for pharmaceutical packaging, focusing to optimise the process control of the system.

Amcor plans to use the technology in selected market segments and global regions. The company has already commissioned a 12-cavity platform CBF-12, and is producing HDPE packer bottles at its facility in Youngsville, North Carolina.

In the compression blow forming process, material is extruded, cut and transferred into the compression cavity, and a preform is produced. A pre-blow, full-blow process is completed in the same mould station without the need for the transfer of preforms.

The process controls weight distribution, delivers less particulate contamination, and allows for changes due to the continuous extrusion process with simple melt channel, resin and colour.

Plastic from the compression core will be separated with the help of the pre-blow process, resulting in the reduction of the chance of plastic sticking to the metal core rod.

The continuous rotary motion of compression blow forming eliminates station-to-station indexing time, while secondary cooling on the exit conveyors allows bottles to be removed hotter from the machine.

The machine can produce production bottles within ten minutes from machine start-up, and has an inline quality inspection system that is fully integrated into the machine control.

A environmentally friendly plasma surface treatment system is also available for full wrap label and finish induction seal application.

Along with pharmaceutical packaging, the companies expect good potential for the technology in other markets, including single-serve dairy packaging made of HDPE for applications such as liquid yogurt and probiotics.