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Title:
METHOD OF MAKING A HOLLOW POLYETHYLENE TEREPHTHALATE BLOW MOLDED ARTICLE WITH AN INTEGRAL EXTERNAL PROJECTION SUCH AS A HANDLE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/1990/000963
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention is directed to a method of making a hollow polyethylene therephthalate (PET) blow molded article (18) with an integral external projection such as a handle (26) thereon. The method includes blow molding the hollow article (18) and then injection molding the integral projection (26) thereon.

Inventors:
BELCHER SAMUEL L (US)
Application Number:
PCT/US1989/000879
Publication Date:
February 08, 1990
Filing Date:
March 03, 1989
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SABEL PLASTECHS INC (US)
International Classes:
B29C45/00; B29C45/14; B29C49/06; B29C49/18; B29C49/20; B29C49/48; B29C69/00; B29C69/02; B29C70/74; B29C49/00; B29C49/04; B29C49/42; B29K67/00; B29L22/00; (IPC1-7): B29C69/02; B29C45/14
Foreign References:
EP0232207A21987-08-12
FR2440824A11980-06-06
Other References:
PATENT ABSTRACTS OF JAPAN, Vol. 12, No. 227 (M-713) (3074), 28 June 1988; & JP-A-6322621 (Toyo Seikan Kaisha Ltd) 30 January 1988
PATENT ABSTRACTS OF JAPAN, Vol. 9, No. 319 (M-439) (2042), 14 December 1985; & JP-A-60154021 (Shikoku Kakouki K.K.) 13 August 1985
PATENT ABSTRACTS OF JAPAN, Vol. 9, No. 313 (M-437) (2036), 10 December 1985; & JP-A-60147319 (Mitsubishi Jidosha Kogyo K.K.) 3 August 1985
PATENT ABSTRACTS OF JAPAN, Vol. 3, No. 3, (C-33), 16 January 1979; & JP-A-53124571 (Ishikawajima Harima Jukogyo K.K.) 31 October 1978
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Claims:
What is claimed is:
1. A method of making a hollow blow molded article of polyethylene terephthalate having an integral injection molded projection extending from a wall thereof, comprising the steps of: (a) inserting a preform of polyethylene terephthalate into the blow mold cavity of a com¬ bination blow mold and injection mold wherein the blow mold cavity defines the hollow article, the injection mold cavity defines the projection extending from a wall thereof, and the blow mold and injection mold cavities are in communication with each other at the location of the projection; (b) injecting blow gas into the interior of said preform while said preform is at a temperature in the PET stretch orientation range to conform said preform to the blow mold cavity; (c) injecting molten polyethylene tere¬ phthalate into the injection mold cavity while the blow gas conforms the preform to the blow mold cavity, thereby forming an integral injection molded projec¬ tion on a wall of the hollow blow molded article at the location whereat the injection mold cavity commu¬ nicates with said blow mold cavity; and (d) removing the hollow blow molded article with integral injection molded projection from the combination mold.
2. The method of claim 1 wherein said injection mold cavity is in communication with said blow mold cavity at one point.
3. The method of claim 1 wherein said injection mold cavity is in communication with said blow mold cavity at two points.
4. The method of claim 1 wherein said injection mold cavity includes means for molding indicia on said integral injection molded projection.
5. The method of claim 1 wherein said injection mold cavity is in the shape of a base structure such that said integral injection molded projection is a base structure.
6. The method of claim 1 wherein said injection mold cavity is in the shape of at least one foot such that said integral injection molded projection com¬ prises at least one foot on said hollow article.
7. A method of making a hollow blow molded article of polyethylene terephthalate having an integral injection molded projection extending from a wall thereof, comprising the steps of: (a) inserting a previously formed hollow blow molded article of polyethylene terephthalate into the blow mold cavity of a combination blow mold and injection mold wherein the blow mold cavity defines the hollow article, the injection mold cavity defines the projection extending from a wall thereof, and the blow mold and injection mold cavities are in commu¬ nication with each other at the location of the projection; (b) injecting blow gas into the interior of said previously formed hollow article to hold said hollow article in the blow mold cavity; (c) injecting molten polyethylene tere¬ phthalate into the injection mold cavity while the blow gas holds the hollow article in the blow mold cavity, thereby forming an integral injection molded projection on a wall of the hollow blow molded article at the location whereat the injection mold cavity communicates with said blow mold cavity; and (d) removing the hollow blow molded article with integral injection molded projection from the combination mold.
8. In a single stage process for making a hollow blow molded article of polyethylene tere¬ phthalate wherein a PET preform is injection molded, its temperature is conditioned to be uniform through out and within the stretch orientation range for PET, the preform is blown in a blow mold, and the blown article is ejected from the blow mold, the improvement comprising: (a) inserting the temperature conditioned preform of polyethylene terephthalate into the blow mold cavity of a combination blow mold and injection mold wherein the blow mold cavity defines the hollow article, the injection mold cavity defines a projec¬ tion extending from a wall of the hollow article, and the blow mold and injection mold cavities communicate with each other at the point where the projection extends from the article wall; (b) injecting blow gas into the interior of said temperature conditioned preform to conform said preform to the blow mold cavity; (c) injecting molten polyethylene tere¬ phthalate into the injection mold cavity while the blow gas conforms the preform to the blow mold cavity, thereby forming an integral injection molded projec tion on a wall of the hollow blow molded article; (d) removing the hollow blow molded article with integral injection molded projection from the combination mold.
9. A method of making a hollow blow molded article of polyethylene terephthalate having an integral injection molded projection extending from a wall thereof, comprising the steps of: (a) placing a previously formed hollow blow molded article of polyethylene terephthalate on a fixture which internally supports at least that portion of the wall of said article to which the injection molded projection is to be attached; (b) bringing the internally supported hollow blow molded article into communicating rela¬ tionship with an injection mold which defines the integral projection to be attached to said blow molded article; (c) injecting molten polyethylene tere¬ phthalate into said injection mold while said fixture internally supports said blow molded article in communicating relationship with said injection mold, thereby forming an integral injection molded projec tion on a wall of the hollow blow molded article at the location whereat the injection mold communicates with said article; (d) removing the hollow blow molded article with integral injection molded projection from the fixture.
Description:
METHOD OF MAKING A HOLLOW POLYETHYLENE TEREPHTHALATE BLOW MOLDED ARTICLE WITH AN INTEGRAL EXTERNAL PROJECTION SUCH AS A HANDLE

Background of the Invention

The present invention is directed to a method of making a hollow article having an integral projection extending from a wall thereof, such as, a bottle with an integral handle thereon, in which both the hollow article and integral projection are fab¬ ricated of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) .

There is a continuous demand for PET arti¬ cles such as bottles, buckets, pitchers, cylinders, funnels, etc., because they are relatively inexpen¬ sive, easy to use and generally non-breakable. It is oftentimes desirable that articles of large size have handles thereon to aid in their use. U.S. Patent No. 4,713,207 discloses a method of making a plastic container with an integral handle member thereon. The method disclosed includes the step of extruding a thermoplastic parison between sections of a mold and then blowing the container. Since it is generally understood that PET does not have sufficient hot melt

thermoplastic materials, such as high density poly¬ ethylene and polyvinyl chloride, must be used to produce blow molded containers where the handle is integral with the container. When PET is used and handles are desired, it has been the practice to attach the handle to the PET article in a separate operation, such as by ultrasonic fusion, after the blow molded PET article has been formed in and removed from the blow mold. Another approach has been to injection mold a thermoplastic handle in an operation separate and apart from the blow molding of the container, and snap the separately molded handle over the neck or finish of the blown PET bottle. In accordance with a still further proposal, the separately molded handle is inserted in the blow mold and the bottle is blown over/into the handle. None of these practices, however, has been entirely satisfactory since they add steps to the fabrication process, may require ultrasonic bonding equipment, and are otherwise unduly time-consuming and expensive. Summary of the Invention

The present invention is directed to a method of making articles of polyethylene terephthal¬ ate (PET) , .and more particularly to a method of making a blow molded PET article, for instance, a bottle, with an integral PET projection, such as a handle or foot, extending from a wall thereof. Since both the

bottle and handle or foot are made of PET, they both possess the superior characteristics of this material and recycling is facilitated.

In essence, in the method of this invention, a PET preform is inserted into a combination blow mold and injection mold wherein the blow mold cavity defines the article to be blown and the injection mold cavity defines the projection therefrom. The injec¬ tion mold cavity and the blow mold cavity are in communication with each other at at least one location defining the area where the handle or foot is to extend from the container. The "preform" may be a co-extruded, co-injected, or straight injection molded or fabricated PET preform. After insertion into the combination mold, the preform is injected with blow gas from a gas nozzle to conform the preform to the blow mold cavity, thereby forming the hollow blow molded article. Prior to blowing the preform in the blow mold cavity, the preform temperature is estab- lished at its stretch orientation temperature, which is well known for PET to be in the range of 195°F to 240 ° F . The preform may be one previously made on another machine which is heated to the stretch orient temperature range in a separate heating operation prior to insertion in the blow mold, or it may be a previously injection molded PET preform (as on a single-stage PET machine) that has cooled to the

appropriate stretch orientation temperature immediate¬ ly prior to insertion in the blow mold cavity. While the pressure of the blow gas holds the preform in conformity with the blow mold cavity, and prior to exhausting the blow gas, molten PET is injected under pressure into the injection mold cavity to form the integral protrusion or handle and bond it to the blown preform article at the point where the injection mold cavity communicates with the blow mold cavity. The combination mold is then opened and the finished article is removed. Because the handle and container are both PET and the injected PET is molten when injected into the injection mold cavity, the injection molded projection, or handle, fuses to the hollow blown article without need for ultrasonic bonding, adhesive, snap-on fittings or the like. Brief Description of the Drawings

Fig. 1 is a cross sectional view of the combination blow mold and injection mold with the preform (shown partially in phantom) being inserted therein.

Fig. 2 shows the preform being expanded by blow gas to conform to the blow mold cavity.

Fig. 3 shows the injection molding of the integral handle while pressure holds the article against the blow mold wall.

Fig. 4 shows a finished blow molded bottle with an integral injection molded handle. Detailed Description of the Invention

Fig. 1 shows a preform 10 (partially in phantom) being inserted into blow mold cavity 14 of combination blow mold and injection mold 12. Com¬ bination mold 12 consists of a blow mold cavity 14 having a configuration which corresponds to the desired shape of the hollow article body 31 (shown in Fig. 4) and an injection mold cavity 16 conforming to the desired shape of the projection or handle 32. Injection mold cavity 16 communicates at upper and lower ends 16a and 16b with the interior of the blow mold cavity 14 at the points where the projection extends from a wall of the hollow article. PET preform 10 may be formed by one of a number of known techniques such as are disclosed in U.S. Patent Numbers 4,151,250, 4,153,667, and 3,781,395. The preform is either heated to the appropriate stretch orientation temperature of between about 195°F and 240°F prior to insertion in the mold utilizing con¬ ventional techniques well known in the blow molding art, or it may reach the appropriate stretch orien¬ tation temperature by cooling after being injection molded on a single stage PET machine. It will be appreciated that preform 10 need not be of the shape shown in Fig. 1.

Once preform 10 has been inserted into blow mold cavity 14 and combination mold 12 has been closed therearound, by any suitable means, blow gas injection means (shown generally as 20 in Fig. 2) is inserted into and injects blow gas into preform 10 such that preform 10 conforms to the shape of blow mold cavity 14 (also shown in Fig. 2) . The blow gas is injected at a pressure of between about 100 psi and about 750 psi and at a temperature of between about 40°F and about 120°F. At this point the exterior wall of article 31 communicates with the ends 16a and 16b of the injection mold cavity 16 at points 31a and 31b. In Fig. 3 there is shown a PET injection melt stream 22 which carries molten PET flowing in the direction of the arrow. The molten PET, which is at a temperature above 485°F, is injected through injection nozzle means (shown generally as 24) into injection mold cavity 16 while blown preform 18 is conformed to blow mold cavity 14 by the blow gas. In this way, the injection molded handle 26 directly fuses or bonds to blown PET article 18 at points 31a and 31b proximate injection mold cavity ends 16a and 16b. Standard injection molding apparatus and procedures, which are well known in the art for producing PET preforms, are used in the injection molding step of this invention.

Fig. 4 shows a finished blow molded bottle with an integral injection molded handle 30. As will

be appreciated, since the handle or projection is injection molded, it may have any suitable cross- section, including cored, and may be of any suitable size. In addition, if desired, a name or identifica- tion symbol can be molded into the injection molded handle as indicated at 32 by including such name or symbol in the injection mold cavity 16. Furthermore, since the handle is injection molded it may be made from recycled or regrind PET. Finally, the handle may be clear or colored or crystallized.

It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the method of the present invention is adaptable to produce a wide variety of PET articles with integral PET projections thereon, one example of which is a blow molded bottle with an integral handle connected to that bottle at two points as is shown in Figs. 1-4. Other products include, but are not limited to, funnels, buckets, pitchers, cylinders, etc. Any of the above articles may have a handle attached at two points (as shown in the Figs.) or at one point so that it functions as a hook, or they may have a base structure or feet injection molded there¬ on. An example of a blow molded container having an injection molded foot is shown in Figure 5 and an example of a blow molded container having an injection molded base structure is shown in Figure 6. The projection can be attached to the article in a variety

of positions, such as the bottom, side, or upper end. For example, a handle on the bottom of a bottle can be provided to facilitate hanging the bottle upside down for drainage or other purposes. In addition, multiple feet can be injection molded onto the lower end of the blow molded article using the method of this invention to provide a stable base or support.

It will be further understood that the method disclosed herein is adaptable to injection mold an integral external projection on a previously blow molded hollow article. In accordance with this approach, the previously blow molded PET article is inserted in mold 14, gas pressure is applied to hold the external wall of the article against the mold, and the handle 16 injected and bonded to the container in the manner previously disclosed.

The preferred embodiment of the method and apparatus of this invention has been described in connection with bonding a PET handle to the outside wall of a blow molded PET container by injecting the handle onto and/or against the outside wall of the blow molded container while the blow molded container is still in the mold and the blow gas pressure is still applied. It is also contemplated that the PET handle can be bonded to the outside of a blow molded PET container which has been previously blown and removed from the blow mold cavity. More particularly,

it is contemplated that a previously blown PET con¬ tainer can be placed on a fixture which internally supports, with an anvil or mandrel, that portion of the wall of the PET container to which the handle is to be attached. With the container so supported and the injection mold cavity located to position the ends thereof, 31a and 31b, adjacent the outside surface of the container behind which the anvil or mandrel is located, the molten PET material is injected into the injection mold handle cavity to bond to the supported wall portions of the container. With this approach, the blow molded container need not be located in the blow mold cavity and/or under internal gas pressure at the time the injection molded handle is bonded to the external wall of the container. Additionally, the blow molded container can be at room temperature, that is "cold", at the time the injection molded handle is bonded to the exterior wall of the container.

While the invention has been described in detail with respect to a preferred embodiment thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art to which the invention pertains that numerous changes may be made in the invention without departing from the spirit and scope thereof.