Flipping the World of PET upside-down
Introduction of the all-new NETSTAL PET-LINE

True pioneers are never satisfied with the status quo. There is always room for improvement. That is why they question every detail – and sometimes even the entire thing. KraussMaffei is that type of pioneer: We develop trailblazing solutions for our customers. Now we are adding a new twist to the PET sector: The brand-new NETSTAL PET-LINE with side entry. The new series from the Swiss plant in Näfels is launched with a version boasting a clamping force of 4000 kN.

Text Michael Birchler  Photos KraussMaffei

Until now, the manufacturers of PET preforms had to make a fundamental decision when they wanted to ramp up their production capacities or replace old injection mold machines: Did they want to remove the preforms from the side or from above? That question is now becoming less important: KraussMaffei is presenting the brand-new NETSTAL PET-LINE with sideways removal and a clamping force of 400 tonnes. This is a minor revolution because post-mold cooling units installed at the top had been the most conspicuous and well-known unique selling point of PET machines from Netstal. "By switching to a side entry, we want to shake things up in the PET sector. That means NETSTAL will now also be an option for users who have exclusively designed their production layouts for machines with side entry and have a stock of the corresponding injection molds", said an excited Renzo Davatz, CEO of KraussMaffei HighPerformance AG.

"By switching to a side entry, we want to shake things up in the PET sector."
Renzo Davatz, CEO KraussMafei HighPerformance AG

Now with side entry and wide-ranging compatibility with existing molds

However, as is fitting for true pioneers, the engineers from Näfels were not satisfied with merely developing a PET system with side entry.  "The name NETSTAL is a promise! Our customers expect us to supply them with the very best technology and reliable high-performance machines that they can trust for years and that guarantee a successful production. We have developed the new PET-LINE true to this performance pledge", Renzo Davatz emphasised. Many customers have been relying on PET systems from Näfels for decades – with great success. This is now also an option available to users who had been prevented from using NETSTAL products due to their layout and the lacking compatibility of their existing molds.

New aftercooling unit
New aftercooling unit
With the new NETSTAL PET-LINE the preforms are removed to the side

 "Thanks to the positioning of the completely overhauled post-mold cooling unit on the side of the machine, the clamping unit features an adapted geometry with an tie-bar spacing of 928 x 928 millimetres.  Thanks to its high dynamics, the quick removal unit – with up to 4 post-mold cooling stations – allows even shorter cycle times", explained Stefan Kleinfeld, PET systems product manager at KraussMaffei HighPerformance AG. The lock-to-lock time of the system is a very short 1.9 seconds. The extraordinarily efficient internal and external cooling guarantees an extremely high and consistent preform quality. The low-bounce ejection and the integrated conveyor belt ensure a reliable removal.

Cycle times that are up to 15% faster

An energy-efficient as well as highly dynamic 5-point dual toggle lever operates in the electric 400-tonne clamping unit. "The especially smooth and highly precise kinematics of the system permit a very reliable continuous operation in production conditions that is gentle on the injection mold", said Kleinfeld. Depending on the application, cycle times can be reduced by up to 15% compared to its predecessor. It's all about availability! That is why the new NETSTAL PET-LINE allows for particularly easy and quick mold installations and changes. Typically NETSTAL: The extremely robust design ensures that the machine can run continuously for years under highest loads with millions of cycles annually.  

Fast cycle times
Fast cycle times
The electric toggle clamping unit enables up to 15% shorter cycle times
New PETX screw
New PETX screw
The further developed design leads to an optimized processing of up to 100% recycled PET in a large process window

Enabler of the circular economy: Optimised processing of fully recycled PET

"The share of recycled PET will continue to increase in the future. That is why it was very important to us that the new PET-LINE would be able to process rPET even better", Kleinfeld emphasised. A new screw design for the two-stage injection unit was put in place. Users will benefit from the large process window and the robust plasticising process for virgin material as well as for recyclates and additives. Intrusion and automatic metering ensure a homogeneous and consistent melt quality, low AA values and gentle material conveyance. With its hybrid axes and the further optimised hydraulic system, the injection unit is very energy efficient. The power consumption of the entire machine was reduced by up to 7%. This is another area in which the new NETSTAL PET-LINE excels with top values that quickly pay off.

„The share of recycled PET will continue to increase in the future. That is why it was very important to us that the new PET-LINE would be able to process rPET even better.“
Stefan Kleinfeld, Product Manager PET

The latest generation of the aXos controller with NETSTAL SMART OPERATION

"We are launching the latest generation of the aXos control technology alongside the brand-new NETSTAL PET-LINE", said an excited Stefan Kleinfeld. aXos 9 combines the previous design with an innovative control concept that further increases user-friendliness. The new panel consists of a central touchscreen that is flanked by touch buttons. The navigation between the individual setting ranges is done exclusively via the sensitive touchscreen. All movements are always triggered via the clearly illuminated touch buttons. Experienced users will appreciate the advantages over a pure touchscreen controller. Because, thanks to a clicking button, users always receive a clear haptic feedback, which significantly facilitates the blind operation while watching the axis that has to be moved.

Highly intuitive operation
Highly intuitive operation
With the new NESTAL PET-LINE the completely revised aXos 9 control system is launched

An infinitely variable wheel for the fine adjustment of certain settings, which serves as an alternative to the slider on the screen, complements the controller. NETSTAL SMART OPERATION is included as standard. The feature, which was introduced in 2018, consists of four buttons with which the system can be operated intuitively in a production environment. Unambiguous instructions and colour specifications allow processes to be controlled easily, quickly and confidently. "In a production environment, the controller always follows the same principle on machines equipped with NETSTAL SMART OPERATION – regardless of which preform is manufactured. That allows the production staff to be trained more quickly and the scope of written process descriptions, checklists and work instructions at the machine can be reduced significantly", explained Kleinfeld. The resulting benefit is a quicker production readiness and therefore a higher availability of the entire plant.

The start of a new era

The new NETSTAL PET-LINE is a true game changer and has the potential to turn the PET sector upside-down. "We want to increase our market share once again with the help of this new product. Decades of experience in the manufacture of preform machines and the global cooperation of leading manufacturers went into its development. We are listening to our customers and know what they want. This new machine provides users with a cutting-edge PET system that will allow them to focus on successfully shaping their core business for years to come", said Renzo Davatz in conclusion. The launch of the new NETSTAL PET-LINE marks nothing less than the beginning of a new series. The version with 4000 kN and a 6000-series injection unit comes first. Other models will be added to the new NETSTAL PET-LINE in coming years in order to meet the various market demands.

4000kN at the beginning
4000kN at the beginning
In the coming years further models of the new NETSTAL PET-LINE will follow

On the microsite of the new NETSTAL PET-LINE you can get more information. Use the contact form and get in touch with our PET experts directly.