Lectro Offers Alternative to Open Flames

By Rhoda Miel

CHICAGO (July 1, 11:05 a.m. EDT) - Lectro Engineering Co. Inc. is looking to turn down the heat for blow molders who want alternative ways to pre-treat containers for labels or printing.

With the new LT Cold Flamer, which made its debut at NPE in Chicago, Lectro is offering up a highly portable option to open-flame treatments using indirect electrode technology.

"Insurance costs are going through the roof for systems with an open flame, never mind the fact that open flames in a plant can be a bad thing," said Lee Hyde, chief executive officer of St. Louis-based Lectro.

The Cold Flamer can come in at half the cost of open-flame alternatives, he said, and takes up less than 6 feet of manufacturing space. It uses banks of electrodes to raise the surface tension on bottles to prepare them to more accept labels or direct printing more easily.

With no demands beyond an electric plug, the system also can be transferred easily between lines, for contract manufacturers that may need to make fairly regular mold changes.

Traditional open-flame systems, Hyde noted, run at 400 F and require a propane hook-up. The LT Cold Flamer can be unplugged from one line and rolled into place at another.

"This really gives [companies] the flexibility to run different types of bottles with different needs," Hyde said.

The Cold Flamer can be used on any cylindrical bottle up to a gallon in size, as well as some flat-panel containers.

The company has one unit already up and running for one blow molder, and other prototypes in the pipeline.

"The one-for-one tradeoff compared to an open-flame system is not about just dollars," Hyde said. "It's about the safety of your employees, your insurance costs and the ability for a quick changeover."