SOURCE: Graham Engineering

Graham Engineering

November 15, 2010 13:44 ET

Graham Engineering Celebrates 50th Year With Next Generation Wheel Technology for Extrusion Blow Molding

YORK, PA--(Marketwire - November 15, 2010) - Marking its 50th year, Graham Engineering Corporation (GEC) has commercialized its next generation rotary wheel for extrusion blow molding. GEC has built wheel machines since 1968, the bulk of its history as a stable, family owned company. GEC rotary wheels are renowned globally for many years of reliable service. The company estimates that well over 90 percent of all wheel machines are still producing today. In fact, a few years ago GEC did a rebuild on the "serial number one" machine, which is still in commercial use in Mexico.

"The wheel machine has long been our bread and butter," says Wolfgang Liebertz, president of GEC. "We have put a lot of R&D and business efforts into diversification. The general feeling among GEC and our customers was that our wheel machines were already robust and delivering high efficiencies, so why make changes?"

According to David Yenor, Vice President of Business Development, "While technology around the wheel changed -- controls, extruders, flow heads and downstream equipment -- GEC kept the rotating spool of the machine much the same. However, in the past two years, we focused R&D on improving our approach -- we utilized advancements in commercial machine components, and built upon a step-forward approach used successfully on our MINI wheel platform."

Yenor touts several advantages of the new GEC wheel design:

  • Engineered to run at higher speeds for lighter weight bottles
  • Reduced maintenance requirements
  • Higher use of pre-manufactured components
  • Improved access inside the spool area for changing hoses
  • Greater flexibility -- by changing out a few parts, processors can add or reduce clamp stations; cavitation or mold sizes are adjustable if the product mix changes over time
  • Commonality of pre-built clamp stations for each tonnage -- regardless of the number of stations per machine
  • Greater mold close time in some configurations (leading to faster cycle times)
  • Reduced lead times to build machines

Even with these changes, the next generation wheel machines use "tried and true" Graham Engineering approaches:

  • Cam-driven mold opening and closing action
  • Platens slide on guide rods
  • Strong linkages and bearings
  • Spring stacks for clamp force adjustment
  • Only water and air enter the spool via rotary unions

According to Liebertz, "With every decision leading to this new design, our approach has been to guarantee the long-life and high efficiency of our wheel machines. We tested prototype clamp stations under various conditions to verify robust performance. Then, we built a complete wheel machine in our R&D laboratory. It has run around the clock for several months."

Graham Engineering recently held a celebration marking 50 years of operation. Since 1960, when Donald C. Graham opened a design engineering firm in a farmhouse basement in central Pennsylvania, the Graham Group has undergone tremendous growth. Central to its ownership philosophy is the conviction that manufacturing companies must sustain industry leading engineering capabilities, value-added manufacturing expertise, and strong internal financial controls to succeed.

The Graham Group focuses on industrial innovation through development and commercialization of new manufacturing techniques and use of new and innovative raw material formulations. It is a market leader in commercializing many manufacturing technologies, including machinery to produce plastic bottles for motor oil, detergents, dairy, juices and food products, as well as large industrial parts. They are also focused on the development of thermally insulated windows for energy conservation and sound mitigation.

Graham Engineering is the technological engine driving the growth of The Graham Group's legacy industrial businesses. Its core business is the manufacture and sale of high-speed plastics processing machinery, primarily for the packaging industry. Its equipment is sold under the Graham Engineering brand name to customers worldwide.

For more information, contact: Graham Engineering Corporation, 1203 Eden Road, York, PA USA 17402-0673, Phone +1-717-848-3755, Fax: +1-717-846-1931,, e-mail:

Contact Information

  • Press Contacts:
    David Yenor
    Vice President of Global Business Development
    Graham Engineering
    Email Contact

    Dan Ditzler
    Newton Associates
    Email Contact