Cold Weather Impacts Your Hot Glue
Most facilities are located in parts of the US impacted by the cold weather months. As the weather gets colder, so does the interior of the factories where most packaging lines operate. It seems like common sense that as the environment around your hot melt system gets colder, so will your hot glue unless you increase the temperature. Below are a few key factors to realizing you need to up your temperature.
Hot Melt Consistency
Hot melt consistency is the number one problem in most high-speed packaging lines during the winter months. This includes not only the consistency of the glue within the heated reservoir, but also the consistency of the glue to stay at temperature as it travels down that line. Just because your glue looks viscous inside the pot, doesn’t mean it is holding the same viscosity throughout the travel process. If your glue looks stringy or your guns are not firing consistently, then you most likely have a glue temperature problem. Try increasing the temperature of the tank, hoses and guns by 15 degrees. Please note that your hoses and guns should already be set 15 degrees higher than your tank. A minor adjustment like this will not char your glue, but should help keep it consistently viscous throughout the travel process.
Locate Cold Joints
Another important task would be to inspect your system setup for any cold joints. A cold joint would be any unnecessary extensions that you have added throughout the adhesive application process. Most cold joints are found on older machines that use larger sized extensions and filter housings. The more cold joints on the system, the more inconsistent the glue will heat and stay heated throughout the entire application process. If you cannot eliminate cold joints, increasing the temperature settings of the tank, hoses and guns will be helpful.
Location of your Line
One of the most important things to look at is where your packaging line is located within your facility. Most melters are located at the end of the line, which leaves them close to an exterior wall, door or window. The cold temperature outside could be impacting, not only the viscosity of your glue, but the heating time of your glue and its adhesion ability. Every time your line operator opens the fill door on the hot melt tank, the external air hits the existing glue and cools it off. Even if the lid on your tank is only open for a few minutes, that could impact not only the current glue in the tank reservoir, but the glue you are adding to the tank. If your glue pellets are colder than normal, it will take a longer amount of time to heat them. Since you cannot move the line, increasing the set temperature of your tank, hoses and guns will help eliminate glue inconsistency during the winter months.
If you have any questions about how to reduce the impact of winter weather on your hot melt system, please reach out to a technical rep at email@example.com.
ProBilt Glue Systems Meet the Demands & Needs of Packaging Lines
The trend in packaging for many CPGs has been to move away from in-house packaging solutions and more towards co-packers and contract packagers. Rather than dedicating complete in-house lines, CPGs and processors can be more flexible with their budgets by putting the responsibility of capital investments for machinery in the hands of the contract packagers. In addition, the CPGs no longer have to worry about hiring line operators for the packaging machines. In the last few years, it has become clear that hiring, retaining and training employees is a challenge for every company. CPGs are finding that if they move the responsibility of packaging to contract companies, they no longer have to deal with that potential issue.
The move to contract packaging is not a bad thing for glue equipment OEMs, like Universal Systems SE. We enjoy working with contract packagers because they are equipped with the skills and knowledge to focus on packaging lines and, in most cases, know what they want and need from a hot glue machine, more than a CPG will.
Below is a list of requirements we are hearing about from Contract Packagers for their packaging equipment, and an explanation as to why Universal Systems ProBilt systems will work best to fulfill these needs.
- Quick changeovers to limit downtime – USSE’s ProBilt systems are plug and play. They are easy to set up and disable for cleaning, preventative maintenance, component replacement, etc.
- Preventative maintenance schedules – USSE believes that preventative maintenance is key to maintain the efficiency and longevity of any piece of machinery. A hot glue tank is no different. Universal Systems offers up a preventative maintenance schedule upon request, along with recommendations on what parts to keep on the shelf and how many of each part is needed to keep your operation up and running at all times.
- Streamlined equipment so that system components are interchangeable – Universal Systems prides ourselves in being the most streamlined OEM of hot melt machines in the market. Not only do all of our tanks take the same pumps, filters, valves, etc., all of our components are interchangeable with our top competitors including hoses, guns, modules and nozzles.
- Versatility for different packaging setups – Universal Systems manufactures over 100 different types of applications options, as well as the option to custom CNC any configuration needed.
- Easy-to-operate machines – Our ProBilt tanks are by far the easiest in the industry to operate. We focus on longevity and simplicity so that anyone can set up and operate our tanks with ease. We also offer online videos on how to set temperature and utilize our setback feature.
For more information on Universal Systems and our ProBilt line of products please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (561) 272-5442.
Best Practices to Ease Supply Chain Burdens
It is no secret that everyone is experience supply chain issues this year. While there may be no end in sight, Universal Systems can only try and help ease the burdens on our end users. Below are a few of the best practices that we have implemented that we can recommend for our customers.
Keep an Open Line of Communication
With several of our competitors experiencing supply chain issues due to their overseas manufacturing and shipping issues in the current cultural climate, Universal Systems, being a USA manufacturer has received a lot of new business from large end users of hot melt equipment who would normally be buying from the big-name brand manufacturers. With the new influx of business, we have been open and honest with customers as to what we stock and what we make custom. If a new customer who is used to buying from Nordson calls and asks us lead time on standard stock items, we are happy to communicate that we can ship same day. However, if they have a custom gun or hose, we are honest regarding lead time and ship dates, normally 3-5 business days.
It is so important for companies to try and plan ahead with their inventory. While we realize this may be hard for many buyers due to lack of budget or their inability to get “out of the weeds” from being so far behind during Covid lockdowns, it is the only way to ensure there is no downtime on your packaging lines. Universal Systems offers all of our customers a preventative maintenance schedule and inventory recommendation list, so that you know what to keep on the shelf based on the equipment you are running.
Try New Products
Many of us get stuck in our ways and don’t realize there are other options out there that might improve our operations or way of doing business. Now that some large brand name companies, who have spent years manufacturing overseas, are feeling the crunch of no inventory due to low supply chain, many packagers should see this as an opportunity to work with Universal Systems. We have been manufacturing hot melt equipment in the USA for over 40 years and are well versed in packaging line needs and set ups. We manufacture most of the same products as our largest competitors and stock over 10,000 items at all times.
Think Outside the Box
With over 40 years of experience in packaging equipment, Universal Systems’ technicians are most skilled in thinking outside of the box. Whether it is troubleshooting an issue with an old machine that has been around since the dawn of day, or setting up a new line configuration, sometimes the most common answers don’t always work. We urge our customers to keep an open mind and work with us to figure out the best solutions to your packaging needs.
For more information about Universal Systems’ ProBilt line or products please reach out to email@example.com or call (561) 272-5442.
Help When You Need It
In the post-pandemic age of industry, every company is finding themselves in need of more help. Whether it is qualified technicians with experience in the field, or technical support and customer service from their vendors. A lot of large companies, like Nordson®, have gotten rid of their technical support and customer service representatives, replacing them with automated systems or remote sales reps that do not have a detailed knowledge of each customers purchase history or equipment needs. That is making it difficult for CPGs to troubleshoot issues or for new maintenance managers to know what to order.
Many line operators of hot melt machines are new to the industry, since companies saw their long-term employees retire during the pandemic. At Universal Systems, we not only stayed open and kept all of our employees during the pandemic, we have kept detailed reports of our customers purchase history, as well as a cross reference list of our products to Nordson®. We are always here to take any technical calls or offer Nordson® replacement parts when you need them. With the “supply chain shortage” impacting all Americans, we made sure to back our bets here at USSE. We have ramped up our inventory by double its normal size to ensure that you can get products when you need them and not be held hostage to overseas competitor parts. We make everything in the USA and use all US suppliers. We stand behind our products and feel certain that we would be able to help you with any issue that may arise with your hot melt equipment.
For any technical support please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 561-272-5442.
Glue Gun vs. Module vs. Nozzle
One of the largest misconceptions of hot melt packaging machinery is that maintenance on a glue applicator gun means replacing the entire assembly. That is not always the case. While sometimes, glue guns do need to be replaced, there are other times when a module or nozzle could be a cheaper solution to your problem.
What’s the difference?
It is pretty simple. The glue gun is the entire assembly (minus the nozzle). This includes the cordset, heating element, RTD, manifold and module. Essentially, if you order a glue gun, once you receive it the only thing you need to do is plug it in, attach the in-line filter assembly though the back fitting, screw on a nozzle and you are good to go. The reason to replace the entire gun would be if you get an error code on your melter main board that the gun zone is either not heating or not reading the RTD. If you get the gun zone heater error, that means that the heating element has stopped working and the gun needs to be replaced. If you get the gun zone RTD error, that means that the temperature can no longer be regulated and the gun needs to be replaced.
However, if you get no main board error code, but your gun is dripping or not dispensing glue at all, that could be a module or nozzle issue.
Modules are the mechanisms that attach to the front of the glue gun manifold to dispense the glue. These modules are operated by air and springs within the module body that control the piston to dispense the glue for easy release and clean cut off. If you are experiencing dripping, or no clean glue cut off, then most likely there is char in the spring that is holding the piston up and leaving the module open. Or, in some cases, the seals within the module could be stiff from usage and wear, and no longer creating the tight seal required for precision dispensing. In either of these instances, the module would need to be replaced.
If you are getting no glue at all to come out of the module, most likely your nozzle is clogged. The nozzle, or tip, is typically attached to the module and can easily be changed by screwing it off and on. In some cases, such as zero cavity or reduced cavity modules, the nozzle is fixed and can only be replaced by rebuilding the entire module, replacing the tip, piston and seals.
If you have any questions about which part of your glue gun you need to replace, please give us a call at 561-272-5442 or email email@example.com.
Cold Weather Impacts to Your Hot Glue Melter
As we move into the holiday season, we also experience a change in the weather. In most places in the US, the winter months mean that the climate inside most packaging plants change. With that, line operators need to take that temperature change into consideration when working with hot glue machines on their packaging lines.
Hot melt consistency, heated hose and gun temperature consistency and glue stringing are all potential problems that maintenance managers can deal with during the winter months. One of the most important things to look at is where your packaging line is located within your facility. Most melters are located at the end of the line, which leaves them close to an exterior wall, door or window. The cold temperature outside could be impacting, not only the viscosity of your glue, but the heating time of your glue and its adhesion ability. Every time your line operator opens the fill door on the hot melt tank, the external air hits the existing glue and cools it off. Even if the lid on your tank is only open for a few minutes, that could impact not only the current glue in the tank reservoir, but the glue you are adding to the tank. If your glue pellets are colder than normal, it will take a longer amount of time to heat them.
Another important task would be to inspect your system setup for any cold joints. A cold joint would be any unnecessary extensions that you have added throughout the adhesive application process. Most cold joints are found on older machines that use larger sized extensions and filter housings. The more cold joints on the system, the more inconsistent the glue will heat and stay heated throughout the entire application process.
If your main problem is glue stringing in the colder months, an easy solution would be to shorten the distance from the nozzle tip to the top of the box. Limiting the amount of time the glue has to travel in the air will help to lessen the problem of stringing, which can cause a weakened seal on the box.
If you have any questions about how to reduce the impact of winter weather on your hot melt system, please reach out to a technical rep at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remote Buying & Troubleshooting is the New Reality
After the world shut down in 2020, then slowly started to reopen, it became clear that certain job roles no longer needed to be in an office and could work from home. For the packaged goods industry, that impacted purchasing agents. Now, as maintenance managers run the floor and manage the inventory, purchasing agents are at home trying best to communicate the company needs to suppliers. Realizing the potential that purchasing departments might rely on supplier websites, here at Universal Systems, we focused on updating our website and making sure that there are competitor OEM cross reference numbers easily searchable throughout the site. We also have sales reps that can handle almost any product question and return quotes within 24 hours.
Another impact the pandemic has had on the packaging industry is workforce. There might not be as many skilled and experienced engineers on the floor to troubleshoot issues as they arise. As a manufacturer, we have also experienced setbacks with sending technical reps out to facilities to help them troubleshoot. In an effort to virtually help our customers, we provided YouTube videos on how to set up our ProBilt line of tanks, how to program our control boards and how to set temperatures. We also have several very skilled engineers in house that can walk customers through any issue they may be experiencing. We’ve found ourselves utilizing technology more and more for troubleshooting. Since less techs are allowed in facilities, we have started doing virtual meeting via Facetime or through texting photos. Both have shown to be pretty effective.
Hopefully, one day soon, we get back to workers being allowed to be in the office to physically check inventory and see what they need to order. But until then, we will continue to help our customers as much as we can remotely. If you have any hot melt questions, please feel free to reach out to email@example.com.
Top 5 Tips to Hot Melt Machine Maintenance
Packaging lines are complicated pieces of machinery and knowing the ins and outs of each component is important. When you install a new hot melt system onto your packaging line, there are 5 helpful tips to take into consideration to ensure smooth operation and getting the most out of your equipment.
Read and Keep the Manual
The best practice for maintaining your hot melt tank is to read the manual and keep it handy. So many times, maintenance managers will install the tank, but not read the instructions on how to wire it or program it. That can lead to so many issues. In other instances, a tank may be running for some time, but someone hits a button accidentally and changes a setting, then doesn’t know how to change it back. If only they had read the manual or kept it on hand. It sounds like such a common-sense thing, but oftentimes manuals are discarded with the shipping crate. For this reason, we keep a digital manual on our website for anyone to reference.
Replace the Filters
Preventative maintenance is one of the most important tasks to keep your machine running efficiently and reduce down time for your packaging line. When your tank filters are clogged, that is good, it means that they are doing their job and filtering out char. Changing them on a regular basis and spending a small amount on a tank filter will save you thousands in the future.
Monitor Your Hot Melt System
Line operators are tasked with monitoring tanks on a daily basis. It is important to make sure that the pump is pumping smoothly, the solenoid is not lagging and the guns and hoses are heating to temperature and staying there consistently. Even a minor change in any of those tasks can mean that it is time to proactively replace a component, or at least make sure there is a back up on the shelf.
Know Your Options
Knowing your options ties all three previous tips together. If you have read the manual, you will know what your options are when something goes down. If you are doing preventative maintenance, then you know it is not the tank filters. And if you are monitoring your system, you know what components you replace most often and what inventory you have on the shelf. In addition, you should also know what options you have should you need to replace your current system. Is the current technology working for you or do you want to upgrade to an auto-fill system? It is always good to be prepared and know your options.
Listen to Your Workers
Line operators are on the front lines, literally. They watch particular lines and machines on each line all day, every day. They know what parts are running effectively and where the problems may lie. It is important that you listen to them. They might not be the maintenance manager by job title, but they are the most knowledgeable about the equipment they are in charge of and their opinion should be the first requested.
For more tips on keeping your hot melt systems running to the best of their ability, please give us a call at (561) 272-5442 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
When to Replace a Module
One of the most commonly replaced items on any hot melt packaging line is the module. Typically confused with an applicator gun head, the module attaches to the front of the applicator gun and dispenses the glue through the nozzle and onto the applicable surface. If you are experiencing clogging issues with your hot melt line or dripping from the tip of the nozzle, most likely the module has reached it’s end of life and needs to be replaced.
Replacing a module is fairly simple. First make sure the air is disconnected from the applicator. Always wear Kevlar gloves and eye protection when replacing any parts on your active hot melt system. The parts get hot and extending downtime might not be an option, so operator safety is very important. Then, remove the front two screws from the module and pull the module off the surface of the gun manifold. Make sure that you use the new o-rings and screws that come in your new module replacement kit. This will ensure that the new seal is tight and will not leak once operations restart. Also, make sure you are replacing the existing module with the correct replacement module. Below is a list of module options:
- Standard H200 Module
- Reduced Cavity H200 Module
- ProBead Self-Cleaning Module
- Zero Cavity Standard H200 Module
- Zero Cavity Micro Adjust H200 Module
- Swirl Pattern Modules
- Weave Pattern Modules
- H20 Modules
Finally, we also recommend to put a new nozzle on every new module. This will ensure that no clogging will occur. If you have a zero cavity or ProBead module, then the nozzle will already be attached.
If you need any more information about modules for your packaging line, please email email@example.com or call (561) 272-5442.
How to Change Out a Melter Pump
There are several reasons why a melter’s pump might stop working. The most common reasons are clogging of the ball and seat from foreign matter such as carton dust, and the actuator clogging due to dirty or oily air. No matter what the reason, if your pump stops pumping it needs to be replaced. Obviously, it much more cost effective to change out a pump then to replace the entire unit. However, it is not always easy to switch out a pump, especially if you are new to the line. Below are a few tips to help ease you through the process.
- Make sure the circuit breaker on the front of the unit is set to OFF once the applicator has reached normal application temperature.
- Shut OFF the input air to the pump.
- Set the pump regulator to zero and trigger all guns to relieve system pressure.
- When removing the old pump, rotate it slightly to break the suction and then pull it straight up and out.
- When installing the new pump, make sure to torque the screws 15-16 ft-lbs.
- Connect the pump electrical plug to tank receptacle and turn tank back on.
- Once the tank board reads that the tank has reached set temperature, wait 15 minutes. This will allow the glue around the pump hydraulics to get to temperature.
- After waiting 15 minutes, reinstall the air regulator and connect the airline and activate air.
If you have any further technical questions and want to speak with a technical sales rep, please call (561) 272-5442 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.