The application of high-tech can pay dividends even in such simple things as flowerpots. A new approach reduces the consumption of raw material and minimizes the cycle time without impairing the high product quality. The novel technology has been developed by Soparco and Otto Hofstetter AG.

Production follows.
The concept of the SX series imposed new demands also on the ejection of the pots. The stripper ring with the traditional short stroke was no longer sufficient to cope with the new properties of the product in the mould. This called for further supporting measures. The implementation of the new mould technology in production was a challenge also to Soparco. However, thanks to the vast experience of the company’s team in injection moulding and the handling of flowerpots, the new moulds for the SX series were integrated without problems.

Yet more potential.
The multi-point gating technique was revolutionary for the realization of the SX series of Soparco, but can also be applied to other plant pots and indeed other products. The developers of Otto Hofstetter AG are confident that there is much room yet for further profitable optimizations.

Design brings stability.
The design is also affected by the multi-point gating technique. The question of how much wall section is needed in which location of a product gets an entirely new meaning. Mould filling must take place in a much more defined way. Compared with one-point gating, there are much fewer possibilities of influencing injection. To take advantage of the new method it was necessary to take some completely new design approaches. Many modifications are hardly visible, but can have a decisive effect on the optimal functioning of the mould. One can no longer speak of a constant wall thickness, for example, because this parameter varies over the complete flowerpot. Entirely new solution approaches had to be found to guarantee the properties required for perfect plant growth. This is how the new base design resembling a daisy materialized, among other characteristics. A detail which was accepted with pleasure by Philippe Cohu, both amateur gardener and President of Soparco.

In the case of a 10-litre
pot the cycle TIME is
shortened by 1.5 seconds.

Markedly reduced weight.
Multi-point gating shortens the flow paths in the mould cavity. The reduced distance from the gate to the farthest point at the product enables thinner wall sections. This brings down the pot weight and saves raw material. The specialists of Otto Hofstetter AG reckon with 20 per cent on average. This means that e.g. a 10-litre flowerpot of the SX series of Soparco is approx. 40 grams lighter than a conventionally moulded pot of the same size.

Shorter cycle time.
The parameters of the moulding process vary from those need-ed with one central gate. The thinner walls require less hold pressure and residual cooling time. The experts improved and optimized the moulding parameters in detail to the extent that an improvement of the cycle time of 1.5 seconds results.

Multi-point gating saves
20 per cent of raw
material on average.

Hardly any amateur gardener anywhere in the world is aware of the ingenious technology and know-how behind a flowerpot of plastic. Unless he/she is on the payroll of a company making flowerpots or moulds for flowerpots, of course. Like the employees of Soparco and Otto Hofstetter AG, for ex-ample. In a joint effort the two enterprises have developed a new technology. Compared with the common plastic flower-pots, the ones of the SX series, as they are referred to by Soparco, are lighter, easier on resources and produced faster.

Start at several points. 
The most striking aspect is the clearly lighter weight of the flowerpot. In spite of this the pot meets the most varied prerequisites for the plants to flourish. Apart from watering and draining factors, air circulation and soil contact, the design satisfies the high requirements also when it comes to the pot’s stability. But why are the strength and weight of injection-moulded flowerpots a topic at all? It’s entirely clear to the experts in the field: because the economical and thereby sustained use of raw material plays an ever more important role. The weight optimization is achieved with thinner walls of the pot. This leads not only to new challenges as regards the product’s stability, but also to different demands on the mould-ing process. With all these points in mind, the mould-makers of Otto Hofstetter AG decided to resort to multi-point gating in the development of the SX range of flowerpots.


Write comment

No comments


All blog posts