Upgrading of blowing machines in use


Within the sector of PET containers the upgrading of the blowing machines in use allows to obtain substantial benefits concerning energy saving of production cycles as well as the possibility of implementing new application opportunities. To do so BBM of San Pellegrino Terme (Bergamo), a company specialized in the beverage industry, in collaboration with P.ET. Engineering, a company among world market leaders in the design and industrialization of PET containers, has developed POLARIS, a program that gives new life to existing blowing machines, which allows to obtain the same performances of those obtained with new generation machines. POLARIS is an upgrading system consisting of 4 modules to improve the configuration of the blowing machine optimizing the production of PET bottles, reducing significantly the consumption of energy used by the blower and allowing the production of lightweight containers, reducing the amount of raw material, ensuring low cost and quick and short-term economic return of investment.

The four modules

Module 1 is for the oven group and it is focused on changing the rack lamp holders with a new support having 15 mm pitch instead of the original 19 mm. This solution permits less energy consumption and the optimization of the heating profile of the preform. Module 2 plans the replacement of the existing relay by the new PWM driving technology that turns on and off the lamps continuously with a frequency which varies according to the required heat. With this solution energy is absorbed only in the ignition phase limiting consumption for the sole heating time. Each device is controlled by a logic, integrated in the power unit, which feeds the lamps. Module 3, concerns the blowing group and the central manifold. It is involved in  the application of electro-pneumatic control components replacing the existing control valves of the cylinders of the stretch rods and those of pre-blowing and blowing phases. The module includes the replacement of all the valves of the process and the integration of the system with controls and electronic components as well as the replacement of the central manifold to allow the distribution of the electric signals to the valves of the blowing group. The blowing parameters are carried out by the operator panel and managed by PLC. Finally, module 4 is a global system for air recovery used for bottle blowing. The  recovery is carried out by a solenoid valve that conveys exhaust air to an accumulation unit which delivers pressurized air with the purpose of supporting the activation of the machine service devices such as stretching cylinders, valves, cams and so on.


The upgrade program can be integrated with two operations that allow using lightened preforms for the shaping of PET bottles by acting on the thread area or by carrying out a restyling on the bottle’s body. The first intervention of “threads’ conversion” allows a considerable saving of preform PET material while maintaining the design and consistency of the bottle. The second operation of “light weighting” plans the restyling of the bottle and allows significant savings of raw material during production, even up to 4 g on the same geometric configuration of the same bottle. The new modular system ensures not only energy savings, but also the production of lightweighting containers with older machines. Through upgrading, the manufacturer can work with lighter preforms, saving on the purchase of raw materials and achieving high performance and high quality products. BBM is supported by P.E.T. Engineering in the development of an eco-sustainable packaging, from the design up to the start up in the filling line.

The advantages of the system

Each module of the blowing machine upgrading system, targets a specific section of the machine with a turnkey solution including equipment, installation, commissioning and implementation set-up. The equipment was designed and built directly by BBM in collaboration with P.E.T. Engineering. Each module determines a financial return: module 1 provides a 10% energy saving, module 2 20%, module 3 allows a 40% reduction of blowing pressure; module 4 assures significant savings in air consumption of 7 bars, which is recovered to be reused in the following pre-blowing phase or for the reduction of compressed air absorption from an external supply. With these interventions the blowing machines reach performances that are comparable to those of last generation machines but with a much lower investment; in addition PET savings, achieved through the development of lightweighting projects, in which P.E.T. Engineering has a deep know how and expertise , could generate an extremely interesting return on investment, allowing the production of a high quality container. BBM and P.E.T. Engineering offer the opportunity to view the modernized blowing machines directly into production in order to appreciate directly the advantages of the modules. For more information: www.bmservice.com and www.bbmpackaging.com, “modernization of blowing machines”.

BBM Target: customer’s satisfaction

“Innovation means also improving what already exists. To make changes that result in new excellences and performances that bring new added value”. These are the principles of the work of BBM and P.E.T. Engineering: a highly successful example is given by the project at  Maniva Group plant, important bottling company of mineral water with brands and drinks such as Maniva, Balda, Verna, Vaia and Aquidea. The bottling company also works for important brands of large retailers and some important distribution groups. At the main plant of Maniva Group, located in Bagolino, in Valle del Caffaro (Brescia), there are two lines for PET bottles, and a line for glass bottles  with 2 liters, 1 ½, 1, ½ formats (for a total of 120-130 million bottles/year). “In our factory there was a first generation blowing machine which has been updated, thanks to BBM and PET Engineering,  achieving remarkable results, both in energy and material savings” – highlights Gianluigi Pelizzari, production manager of Bagolino plant – in particular, the machine’s management turned from mechanical mode into electro-pneumatic mode with a very efficient and detailed control process. The electric oven efficiency was improved and blowing pressures were lowered from 34 to 24-26 bars for the production of the same bottle. Furthermore, the 1 ½ liter-container design was renewed, producing a new bottle whose weight was reduced from 30-32g to 27.5- 29g, respectively for flat and  sparkling water. In terms of raw material, savings are significant considering that the machine produces about 12,000 bottles/hour. BBM and P.E.T. Engineering modernization project allowed to renew the full range of PET bottles (light weighting) with a 20% weight reduction, with less environmental impact, but with the same characteristics of an unalterable and integral product. Moreover during the preforms’ blowing process, pressure reduction was achieved with an energy saving of about 20%”. Other projects have been developed at important factories in Italy and abroad.

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