A long, long time ago (OK, not that long ago, really — 2001), our CEO, Al Zoller, bought the company that he would eventually rename AdvanTech four years later. The company’s original building, home to the former Plasticraft tool shop, covers 27,000 ft. and is more than 70 years old. Over the years, it’s been upgraded several times and today plays host to 17 presses ranging from 55 to 400 tons, producing a variety of plastic-injected molded products, from automotive to medical.
In 2012, AdvanTech added a second plant three miles away on Dillard Court, covers 65,000 ft2, and is home to the liner-less closure program. Currently, AdvanTech is occupying only about 60% of that facility with six presses, ranging from 300 to 400 tons.
The new facility’s three rail spurs and six material silos are ideal for AdvanTech’s latest effort: the mass-production of a new type of liner-less CSD (Carbonated Soft Drink) cap. (The initial customer is slated to be one of the largest soft drink manufacturers in the world.) If the liner-less cap launch goes well, three fully equipped cells with a total of six machines will handle production with two 96-cavity molds and one printing line. This laser-printing operation will eventually include the ability to add barcodes to the underside of the closures, which can be scanned by consumers as part of the soft-drink maker’s promotional activities.
The 96-cavity tool runs a 3.7-sec cycle. Parts are fed to the printer, which can run up to three colors at 3000 pieces/ min. Since the mold can create more than 1500 caps/min, two molding machines can feed a single printer with the new closure.
Here’s how it works: the 96-cavity tool drops caps onto a conveyor, which feeds into a “waterfall” post-mold cooling system. From there, closures are oriented right-side-up and lined up single file for top printing. A leading-edge vision system from a Swiss company performs 100% inspection and rejects faulty closures for print defects or dimensional deviance. In addition to the aforementioned soft drink manufacturer, AdvanTech has multiple closure customers, including ones for hot-fill caps with metal inserts and large 63-mm closures for products like jelly.