Why Glue is Better Than Tape to Seal Boxes

Having been in business for over 40 years, here at Universal Systems we are a little biased regarding why glue is better than tape, however there are some key differences that all packaging facilities should take into consideration before buying a case sealing system.

Are you looking for a case sealing system that is durable, reliable, easy to maintain and affordable long term? If so, then you should definitely look into hot melt systems. Universal Systems’ ProBilt melters are stainless steel and come with a 10-year heater warranty. We offer full time customer service and can easily walk you through setup and maintenance. Tape sealers can be more difficult to set up and run for high-speed packaging. Tape is also not as forgiving as glue, and more expensive per box. It can get jammed more easily and needs to be replaced more often, increasing your long-term budget.

If you are running a high-speed packaging line, sealing a lot of boxes, then you should probably use hot glue versus tape. Tape machines have a much slower run time than hot glue application systems. While it does take time for the glue to melt and allow it to set, once hot glue is applied, it will be on there forever. Glue is also more durable through all different types of weather conditions. Tape tends to unstick in heat and in cold. The strength of adhesion you get with hot glue is much stronger than tape. So, if you are sealing boxes that are heavy, such as bottles, then hot glue is the way to go.

The application process is also very different with hot glue than tape. With hot glue, you have the versatility to use it for several different types of applications including larger or smaller boxes, filters, non-wovens, etc. Additionally, through nozzle size and air pressure, you can regulate how much glue you apply to each box. With tape, it is a set feature that you cannot change.

For all of those reasons and more, if you are evaluating case sealers make sure you take a look at every aspect of your business now and in the future. If you are running a large packaging facility and need versatility and longevity, go with hot glue. If you are smaller and have a set box sealing system in place that will not change much over time, go with tape.

If you have any other questions about hot glue case sealing systems, please call (561) 272-5442 or email sales@ussefl.com.

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It is Usually Always a Clog

The most common reason for your hot glue system acting up is because of a clog. Clogs are common because you are working with glue, which is sticky and chars over time. Below are some of the most common technical calls we receive, with the solution…and you guessed it, it’s usually always a clog.

Pump is not pumping

There are several reasons as to why your pump can stop up. Honestly, it is usually dirty oily air in your shifter. However, when it is not your shifter it is usually a clog. If your shifter is running fine, but it sucked something up into the hydraulics of the pump, the pump shifter will be stopped in the top position, unable to shift down. That is because you probably have some char or debris in your hot glue reservoir and while pumping, you sucked something up into the ball check valve. You have now clogged up your pump and need to send it in for a flush and clean. Another potential issue could arise if your pump is running but sluggish. If your pump is running mush slower than it used to, it is probably because you haven’t changed out your tank filter and it is clogged. The tank filter is located on the side of the tank and filters all glue before it runs into the hoses. If that filter is not regularly changed (every 500 – 1500 hours depending on how clean your glue is) then that clog can cause pressure to back up into the tank and not allow your pump to run at full capacity.

Gun is not firing

If your gun is not firing at all, it is probably your solenoid valve. However, if your gun is firing every other time or randomly, it is probably due to a clog in your in-line filters. The in-line filters filter the glue from your hoses into your gun. These filters are there to help filter our char or debris that was missed by the tank filter or that has built up in the heated hose. If the filter screens are not changed regularly, they will get clogged up and not allow for your gun to fire properly. For example, if you need to increase air pressure in order for your gun to fire, it is probably the in-line filter clogged up. Another clog can happen in the gun manifold itself. Typically, this is only in multi-module guns. If you have a multi-module gun and the last module in the line is not firing, there is probably a clog in the manifold.

Module Drips

If your module is constantly dripping glue, then you have a clog in your module. This is most common in air open, spring close modules. A piece of char will get stuck in the seat and not allow the piston to seal tightly, causing the glue to drip out. A clogged module will need to be replaced with a new module.

Nozzle keeps clogging

This one is fairly straight-forward. If your nozzles keep clogging there are a few solutions. First, you can change out your in-line gun filters. They are probably not clean and not filtering the glue through the gun. You can also increase your nozzle diameter. If you are running small hole nozzles such as .010 or .012 diameter, try a .014 or .016 and you will start to see less clogging. However, that will lay down a little more glue, so keep that in mind when reviewing your glue usage.

The best way overall to reduce the number of clogs in your hot melt systems is to do preventative maintenance. That means cleaning your tank every month or every quarter, depending on how many shifts your tanks are running. Universal Systems makes Purge Plus tank cleaner and we sell them in a 5-gallon pail so that you are set for at least 2 – 3 cleanings. Additionally, change out your tank filters and in-line filters. These 3 tips are the most inexpensive way to keep your hot melt system running smoothly.

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The Lost Art of Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting is most definitely a lost art. In today’s throwaway society, we have lost touch with our ability to fix things ourselves. That is true in all aspects of business and most definitely prevalent in the packaging world.

For us, in the hot melt application industry, we have seen it get progressively worse over the last few years. Ever since the pandemic, it seems that most hot melt manufacturers no longer stand behind their equipment and help with troubleshooting. Industry giants, like Nordson, want you to buy new machines, they don’t want you to fix what you already have. Here at Universal Systems, that is the exact opposite of our company culture. We are here to help, we believe in our equipment, and that the art of troubleshooting isn’t something that should be lost forever.

That being said, troubleshooting a pump not running doesn’t mean hitting it with a wrench until it moves. There is an art to it. Using deductive thinking to pinpoint the cause of the issue versus just replacing each piece until it starts working again. For example, your line is running a multi-module gun, and the last module on the line isn’t getting glue. In order to figure out where the real issue lies you first need to make sure all of your key points are met. First, is your glue heated to the correct temperature? What is the consistency of the glue out of the first module in the gun versus the second, etc.? If the gun isn’t heated to temperature, your glue’s viscosity may not be correct to run through the manifold to all modules. Second, have you checked your in-line filters? There could be a clog in the filter not allowing enough glue to flow into the gun to get to all modules. There could also be a clog in manifold itself. Once you eliminate all potential variables, you will be able to deduct what your actual problem may be.

Training on equipment is also very important in practicing the art of troubleshooting. If you have line operators that understand how your equipment works, they will be better equipped to troubleshoot potential issues. If your line operators or floor managers are not fully versed with your equipment, you should be able to call the equipment manufacturer to go through troubleshooting steps with you. At Universal Systems, we pride ourselves in our customer service and ability to walk any customer through troubleshooting. If you have a manufacturer, like Nordson, that will not take that time with you, maybe it’s time for a change to USSE.

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How Dirty Air Impacts Your Pneumatic Systems

Pneumatic hot melt systems are run by air in both the pump and the applicator guns. One of the most important ways to ensure the longest run time out of any pneumatic system is to make sure that the air is clean and dry. That can be easier said than done. Most all packaging facilities have oil, water, or debris in their air. That is just the way it is. Some factories will install air cleaning systems and then add lubricators to lines to ensure that other equipment that requires oil runs smoothly. But even with the most expensive and elaborate air filtration system, there will always be some type of substance that gets by and can lead to issues in the pneumatic pumps of hot melt units. The simplest solution is to install an oil removal filter regulator to the air line running to the pump.

Oily air is our most commonly found issue inside facilities that have pumps stop up. The reason is because the shifters are manufactured with very specific tolerance clearance between the shifter spool and sleeve. This design is a necessity in order to get the pump to shift. Too much clearance and the air will just blow by the spool, never building up enough air pressure to pump. Too little clearance and the shifter will jam. That being said, if you have oily air or dirty air being run through the shifter, over time, that will cause a film to build up inside the shifter and cause a jam. Depending on the amount of oil or dirt in your air, and the number of hours the systems is run for, will determine how long this will take to happen. However, if you feel like your facility air is questionable, we suggest that you use the oil-removal filter regulator to prevent any shifter stop ups.

Another pump issue that can be caused by dirty or oily air is that it can get into the air motor and damage the rulon seals. The seals need to be tight to snuggly move up and down the air motor and if they get damaged by oil or dirt, that can lead to your pump not efficiently pumping. These seals can be replaced over time and should be checked every 2,000 hours.

Universal Systems offers pump rebuild kits for the seals, as well as sells the shifter valves in case you ever run into a pump issue caused by dirty, oily air. For more information on our pump rebuilding services, or for any technical support you might need, please call (561) 272-5542 or email sales@ussefl.com.

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How Melter Sustainability Lowers the Impact on Your Budget

Budgeting is nothing new, it is one of the toughest parts of business. When you are running a packaging plant and need equipment, but the budget does not allow for it, what happens then? There is an answer to that dilemma…buy reliable melters and do preventative maintenance from the start.

Reliability is what we focus on at Universal Systems. We know that being up and running is the most important part of high-speed packaging. Not only do we offer full time customer service and an unparalleled heater warranty, our melters and components are easy to install, easy to operate and the most affordable on the market. All of our ProBilt melters come with a 4-hose max capacity and 10 year heater warranty. They also all run the same pump and same AccuScan Control Panel, no matter what size tank capacity, allowing you to stock less overall inventory since there is such versatility. This key feature helps you in lowering your overall budget spending.

When calculating budget, you also need to take into consideration personnel and training of personnel. The Universal Systems ProBilt melters are easy to install and operate, proud of the fact that we are plug and play. With just the press of a button, you can set the temperature on your tank and all your hoses and guns. With our seamless set back feature, you can leave the tank heated to 165 degrees if you are not using it for a shift, then heat back to regular set temperature within minutes to run at full capacity again.

Another key fact in lowering your overall spend is preventative maintenance. At Universal Systems, we really push our customers to maintain their equipment and keep it clean and filtered. Be as good to your equipment as you want it to be to you. Spending only hundreds of dollars monthly on preventative maintenance items such as filters and cleaning kits will save you thousands of dollars per year trying to fix what you could have prevented. We put together a suggested preventative maintenance schedule. For more information call one of our sales reps today at (561) 272-5442 or email sales@ussefl.com.

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Tried and True: How Reliability and Innovation Don’t Always Go Hand in Hand

Innovation is important in any industry, including packaging. However, the latest and greatest isn’t always the best for your operation. There are several reasons as to why it is better to stick with the old tried and true systems.


If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I am sure you have heard that saying before. There is a reason. If you have a system that has run great for you in the past, stick with it. Getting something new is not for everyone. With new equipment comes more complications such as line operator training, all new inventory, potential downtime due to the learning curve, etc. In addition, most all new equipment comes with new technology that, while it is probably meant to be helpful and less time consuming, becomes over complicated and more time consuming. Universal Systems ProBilt has kept its reliable technology for decades. And while that sounds like we are not innovating, that is not true. We are sticking with what we know works. We have found the secret sauce, why over complicate it?

Ease of Use

With every innovation, comes new challenges. Learning new ways to do things is not easy for everyone and can slow most people down. That is true in our everyday lives, just like it is in packaging. It’s called high-speed packaging for a reason, and every new technology feature opens the door to potentially slowing people down. If your network connection is slow, or the on-board computer screen doesn’t want to keep up with the operation. All these new luxuries can cause slowdowns. Our Universal Systems ProBilt tanks and components are easy to operate with our plug and play style. The board’s simplicity is our greatest asset. It lowers the number of faults and tells you the exact problem if there is a fault. With our ProBilt AccuScan Control Panel, you don’t need a book of faults to reference, the screen tells you what the issue it. Keeping it simple for all operations on the line.

Knowledge is Power

If you have a ProBilt melter, then your line operators know how to set it up, how to use it and the maintenance required to keep it running for decades. As we see other companies in the industry switching out their systems and discontinuing product lines, we have decided to keep with what we know. Inherently allowing our customers to keep with what they have been running for as long as they have worked with us. At Universal Systems, we don’t have any planned obsolescence. You will never not be able to get help with any of our equipment because we no longer support it. We make sure that we support everything we have ever made and will stay that way.

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Under Pressure: How changing air pressure impacts your hot glue lines

Universal Systems manufactures pneumatic hot melt systems, which means that our equipment operates via air pressure. It is important to understand how air pressure can put stress on equipment and why the correct pressure points are essential to run a consistent, well-maintained hot melt system.

The way that a pneumatic hot melt system works is that an airline goes into the pump, to move the pump shifter, air motor and pump piston up and down to pump the glue from the tank, through the manifold, through the hoses, into the guns and onto the boxes. There is also going to be another air line into the guns to get the module pistons to open, apply the glue, and in some cases there will be an additional air line the air to close the pistons.

Let’s start with the air pressure to the pump. The air pressure to the pump is very important and should always be set between 20 psi – 40 psi, with an ideal setting in the middle at 30 psi. If your technician thinks the pump is running too fast and lowers the psi to under 20, then the pump might not have enough pressure to move the shifter. In most cases, a pump will run at as low as 18 psi. If your technician comes to you and states that the pump was running too slow, so they increased the air pressure to over 40 psi, that could cause damage to the seals inside the pump’s air motor. It is important to note that if the air pressure on the pump is set to 40 and the pump is still not pumping efficiently, then there is another issue at hand. Most likely there is dirty air inside the shifter or a clog in the tank filter. The air pressure should never be increased to fix other issues stopping up your pump.

The second air pressure point in your hot melt system is at the applicator gun. The air going into the gun should be set at a minimum of 60 psi. In most cases, 60 is the perfect setting for the guns. If your technician tells you they need to set the psi higher to get the guns to fire, then there is a clog in the in-line filter and that filter should be replaced. If the psi to the guns is anything higher than 80, you could blow a seal on the module and have issues with application.

If you have any questions about air pressure, please call us at (561) 272-5442 or email sales@ussefl.com.

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Wine & Packaging

Why not combine my two favorite things: wine & packaging!

Winemaking is as much an art as it is a science, the same can be said for manufacturing packaging equipment. Winemakers need an OEM that has in-depth knowledge and experience in packaging products as high-end and fragile as wine bottles. At Universal Systems, we work with several large wineries to help them utilize the most cost-effective and capable line of hot melt equipment to seal their most valuable assets.

When wineries look to an OEM for their packaging needs, below are 5 things they need to focus on.

  1. QUALITY: All Universal Systems SE equipment is compliant with all international standards in addition to offering OSHA compliance.
  2. RELIABILITY: At USSE, we work with all wineries to make sure their hot melt equipment is optimized and running smoothly, and we have since 1981. We focus on matching the packaging needs with the tank capacity of the melter and the ease of operation on all machines for line workers. The easier the operation, the less potential for downtime. All of our hot melt tanks have the same components, this allows for you to streamline your inventory as well. We also provide you with advanced engineering and design with expert tech support.
  3. FLEXIBILITY: Your wine-making facility and process is unique, and you need an OEM that works with you to provide flexible solutions that support your business goals. Whether you need just a single machine or a full hot melt system, Universal System has a multitude of products that you can use for different glue applications.
  4. AFFORDABILITY: When you invest in new equipment, working directly with the equipment manufacturer eliminates the increased costs charged by a 3rd party representative of an OEM. Such investments should readily produce improved efficiencies that positively impact your bottom line. Our clients can attest to the fact that their investment in USSE equipment results in proven, accelerated ROI and a lower total cost of ownership. Plus, all of our equipment is proudly made in the USA.
  5. SUPPORT: Avoid frustrations of unanswered questions and unsolved problems by choosing to work with an OEM that provides excellent US-based customer service. That way, your operation can quickly get the assistance they need. Universal Systems is a US company who only has offices in the USA. We are proud to offer made in the USA products to our favorite US winemakers!


Call (561) 272-5442 today to speak with a sales rep to see how Universal Systems can help with your packaging needs.

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Case & Carton Packaging for Pharmaceuticals

The pharmaceutical industry is no stranger to growth, but over the last few years, it has seen an unprecedented increase. Because of rising healthcare spending, the launch of new treatments, and rising frequency of chronic diseases, the pharmaceuticals market is expanding. This will allow low-cost generic alternatives to enter the market, which will spur demand for pharmaceutical packaging equipment.

When you think about pharmaceuticals, packaging isn’t top of mind, but it is a key factor in distribution and cost effectiveness. At Universal Systems, we realize that pharmaceutical companies need precise, accurate, reliable packaging equipment in order to get the latest medications out into the world. We have been working on perfecting specific precision hot melt application equipment for over 35 years when we initially launched our ProBilt® Zero Cavity Modules.

Zero cavity modules apply a thin line of hot melt along medication boxes, effectively sealing each box for mass distribution. Zero cavity modules have a very specific look, with a matched needle and nozzle assembly which eliminates minute material pockets that can cause nozzle clogging or dripping. They also come with an E-Z Micro Adjust option to that allows the operator to “dial in” on an exact adhesive extrusion and precise bead placement. This unique technology allows for line operators to place a small amount of glue on a small, predetermined location without creating any stringing. Typically, because of the precision requirements, most zero cavity modules are made with either a .008 or a .012 diameter orifice, so that there can never be too much glue applied.

Not many hot melt application manufacturers offer zero-cavity modules. At Universal Systems, we believe in innovating for the pharmaceutical industry rather than trying to use case and carton machines for such precision application.

If you are sealing pharmaceuticals, call or email us today for a quote!

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What Empty Grocery Shelves Mean for the Hot Melt Industry

If you are like me, you walk down the aisles of the grocery store searching for your favorite staple items and can’t find them. The space for the product is still there, but it is empty. With budgets tight and good help hard to find, the struggle to keep grocery shelves stocked is a difficult one. In addition, inflation is demolishing the grocery market with the average consumer spending 60% more for items that actually contain less food.

How does that transfer over to packaging? Easy, with less product demand, the storage facilities start to fill with products that have been packaged but not ordered by grocery stores. This causes CPGs to shut down front end packaging lines and look to see where they can cut costs on equipment.

If this scenario sounds familiar, there is a long-term solution. Universal Systems provides high-quality, cost-effective packaging machinery options that can fit into your budget all year long. And as an OEM, we manufacture everything in the US and stock all items for same day shipping. With packaging needs changing day to day, and many suppliers out of stock on standard maintenance items, CPGs can find it difficult to stay in production. Here at USSE, we focus on helping you stay up and running with the most cost-effective options. We also offer full time tech support to walk you through any line issues that arise and help with the glue tanks and components.

One way that Universal Systems adds value is that we also offer Nordson® compatible parts. So, if you are finding it difficult to get Nordson® parts or if you are currently running a Nordson® discontinued system, we manufacture all of the parts that you will need to stay up and running. Our products work with case packing lines, tray formers and folding cartons in all industries including food and beverage, pharma and healthcare, electronics, cosmetics and many more.

Hopefully we start to see grocery shelves get back to normal supply and demand. USSE can work with you and your packaging needs through both the good times and bad. We will get you up and running when needed, and keep you there, so that when grocery stores are ready, we can fill up the shelves once more.

For more information on our ProBilt® line of hot melt products that are all compatible with Nordson® please call or email us today.

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