Plastic Technologies’ LeakMonitor Automatically Detects Air Leaks from Machine Components, Defective Bottles

Holland, Ohio (November 30, 2011) —Plastic Technologies, Inc. (PTI) is introducing an upgraded version of its LeakMonitor® device which uses an ultrasonic sensor to continuously monitor the blow molding process for air leaks from machine components and defective bottles. The new capability enables leak detection at production speeds typical for state-of-the-art blowmolding equipment.

Excessive air consumption due to leaks within blowmolding equipment is a costly ongoing concern for blowmolders, which can result in thousands of dollars in wasted compressed air and production downtime, annually.

When pressurized air passes through an orifice, it generates an ultrasonic signal which PTI’s LeakMonitor® technology reduces to an electronic waveform. Deviation of the waveform from predetermined parameters can be used to identify defects in the product or in machine components.

During the normal reheat stretch blowing process, the LeakMonitor® device listens for leaky bottles, tracks them through the machine and triggers an eject mechanism when they are in the correct position. In addition, routine background noise is monitored and graphed. If the background noise reaches an unacceptable level the ultrasonic sensor can trigger an alarm.

Additional features of the upgraded LeakMonitor® device include many automated calibration features including a display of the relative severity of air leaks and where they are located on the blow wheel.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Industrial Technologies, “The best way to detect leaks is to use an ultrasonic acoustic detector, which can recognize high-frequency hissing sounds associated with air leaks.”

“Ultrasonics can help ensure that only high quality product leaves the plant and that costs from air leaks in molds and equipment are minimized to your company’s standard of tolerance,” said Donald Miller, vice president, technical services, Plastic Technologies, Inc.

The LeakMonitor® was originally developed as a diagnostic tool for production issues incurred by carbonated soft drink (CSD) bottles made from a percentage of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET).

Prior to the introduction of rPET, the incidence of holes in PET CSD bottles was minimal. As the percentage of rPET increased—coupled with the push towards hyper lightweighting—the occurrence of holes increased 10 to 1000 times due to contaminants in certain resin grades.

The LeakMonitor® device is a powerful tool to help ensure that rPET usage does not result in defective bottles leaving the operation. This is accomplished by monitoring the blowing process for leaks in the base or sidewall (usually a result of contamination or high-stretch ratios), for short shots and for other sealing surface defects.

Additionally, PTI’s LeakMonitor® is an ideal device to identify and locate leaks from valves, faulty lines, compensation gaskets, stretch rod seals, misaligned tooling, etc.

The LeakMonitor® is backed by PTI’s 25 years of blow molding process knowledge and its position as one of the world’s preeminent engineering consultants for plastic packaging.

About Plastic Technologies

Plastic Technologies, Inc. (PTI) is recognized worldwide as the preferred source for preform and package design, package development, rapid prototyping, pre-production prototyping, and material evaluation engineering for the plastic packaging industry. For more info: www.plastictechnologies.com.