Battle Ground, Washington
360.687.7171 | 800.426.4070
From beads to bottles...
We all have seen movies or commercials, or even have personal experience with how milk used to be bottled and delivered in the early 1900's.
Back then, milk men would pick up old glass bottles left on the door step and leave behind a fresh set of bottles filled with milk. A lot has changed since then, and we would like to share just how bottling has changed in our industry over the years.
Today milk is not delivered to your home, but found and purchased in local grocery stores. Instead of glass milk containers, it has evolved from glass to paper, and now paper to plastic milk jugs.
Andersen Plastics made the transition to paper in 1975, then from paper to plastic in 1980. As the industry has changed, Andersen Dairy has changed, as well: developing a plastics side to business now known as Andersen Plastics. Andersen Plastics specializes in both blow molding and plastic injection blow molding. We manufacture a variety of plastic bottles and containers for our dairy, as well as containers for businesses located in the Western United States.
The manufacturing of plastic containers begins the same across the industry - with small plastic beads. There are many different types of plastics but the bottle forming process is much the same. These beads enter what is called a hopper. While in the hopper, the small beads are dried to remove moisture, then heated to a liquefied state. For extruded blow-molding, the plastic is then extruded down in a thin walled tube of hot pliable plastic. This is then extruded below to a metal bottle form, which is called the mold.
The mold then closes; pinching the base of the extruded plastic and forming a deflated balloon like form. Air is then blown into the plastic tube, pushing the plastic outward and into the form of the mold.
The plastic has now taken on the form of a bottle inside the mold. However, it is still very hot, and if released right away would deform and be defected. Built into every mold is a cooling fluid line, which helps to cool the plastic down enough so it will keep the bottle shape once the mold is released.
After the cooling process, mechanical arms reach up and hold the excess plastic that was pinched off by the mold. The mold is separated, and the mechanical arms gently lay the newly formed bottles down on a moving belt. The belt then transports it to a machine (known as the de-tabber), which removes the excess plastic at the top, in the handle, and at the bottom of the newly formed bottle.
In the injection blow-molding process, the plastic is not extruded but is instead injected into a metal mold, called the preform mold. The preform plastic - while still warm - is then moved to the bottle mold. Like the extruded molding process, the plastic balloon-like form is then filled with air to fill the bottle mold. It is then cooled and released.
In the injection molding process, there is no need for a de-tabber, as the bottle was molded in a preform (as opposed to extruded plastic that is pinched off by the final mold). Final finished bottles are then filled with the intended contents, caped, and labeled for distribution.
At Andersen Dairy & Andersen Plastics, we are involved in every step of the process; from the plastic beads the bottles are formed with, all the way to the delicious milk and juice products found on your local store shelves.
Andersen Plastics has made available a recycle drop-off at their location on 15 N. Grace Avenue in Battle Ground, WA.
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