The injection stretch blow moulding process involves the inflation and stretching of a hot preform into a mould to form bottles. A critical process variable and an essential input for process simulations is the rate of pressure increase within the preform during forming, which is regulated by an air flow restrictor valve. The paper describes a set of experiments for measuring the air flow rate within an industrial ISBM machine and the subsequent modelling of it with the FEA package ABAQUS. Two rigid containers were inserted into a Sidel SBO1 blow moulding machine and subjected to different supply pressures and air flow restrictor settings. The pressure and air temperature were recorded for each experiment enabling the mass flow rate of air to be determined along with an important machine characteristic known as the ‘dead volume’. The experimental setup was simulated within the commercial FEA package ABAQUS/Explicit using a combination of structural, fluid and fluid link elements that idealize the air flowing through an orifice behaving as an ideal gas under isothermal conditions. Results between experiment and simulation are compared and show a good correlation.
- Stretch Blow Moulding