Managing Your Glue Usage in Packaging

Hot melt adhesive is not cheap and you may notice that the prices are only going up. What purchasing agents might not know, is that a lot of packaging lines are using more glue than is actually needed. There are a few simple ways to manage your actual glue usage and help cut costs to manage your budget.

Nozzle Diameter

The first step in managing your glue usage, is knowing the diameter nozzle tip you are using in your packaging lines, and understanding why you are purchasing that size. A lot of times, our sales reps will get calls from customers that want to buy larger size nozzle tips because their line operators are saying there is not enough glue being released on the cartons. Obviously, as you increase your nozzle tip diameter, the more glue you are going to use overall and increase your yearly costs for adhesive. This can also cause several other issues, such as potential sealing issues if the hot adhesive does not have enough time to dry as it moves along the cartoner. If your line operators are asking for larger diameter nozzles, question them as to why.

Evaluate Set-up

If your line operators are stating that the glue is not keeping the packaging closed, which is why they need larger nozzles, evaluate your setup. Check the distance your gun applicator is to your carton and at what temperature you are heating your adhesive. If the adhesive is not hot enough and your gun is too far away from the application site, the adhesive could be cooling before it even hits the carton which is why it is not creating a tight seal. Simply increasing your heating temperature or moving your gun applicator closer to the end application site could solve this issue. You could also be putting down too much glue already. If you have a high-speed packaging line, and put down too much glue, the speed will not allow time for the large amount of glue to dry.

Change Your Filters

Another simple solution to managing your glue usage, is to check both your tank and gun filters. If your nozzles are clogging frequently, causing the line operators to buy larger diameter nozzles, they may be clogging due to char. Char is a typical occurrence in hot melt packaging, but the transfer of most char can be prevented by regularly changing your tank and gun filters. These filters will extend the life of both your modules and nozzles.

For more information or tips on how to increase your packaging line efficiency and lower your costs, call a Universal Systems representative at (561) 272-5442 or email us at sales@ussefl.com.

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Simplify with the AccuScan™ Control Panel

Universal Systems SE manufactures a premiere line of hot melt adhesive systems. Our ProBilt™ line of tanks all come with our patented AccuScan™ Control Panel. The AccuScan™ Control Panel is exclusive to ProBilt™ machines and is easy for any line operator to use.

One of the most common feedback points we hear from customers is that they like simplified operational equipment. Usually line operators are understaffed and overworked. Simplifying how they use our equipment is a big selling point and the AccScan™ Control Panel is a great example of that.

Universal Systems SE developed our AccuScan™ Control Panel to simplify the operation of our adhesive melter systems. The main control screen lists the operational settings for up to 4 hoses and guns and the main tank. You can filter through these sections by pressing the Zone button. Once you choose the zone you wish to set the temperature for, press and hold the Set button. Then, using the up arrow, the digital screen will show the temperature setting increase until you reach your desired temperature setting. Once the tank or hose zones are set to desired temperatures, release the Set button. We also offer a Set Back button on the main screen. The Set Back feature puts the machine in an idle state, heating only to 165 degrees.

For further step by step instructions, we have put a video on our Universal Systems SE YouTube channel. Please check it out at https://youtu.be/QhSCXZs-8wY.

For any further instructions or information about our AccuScan™ Control Panel please call (561) 272-5442 or email sales@ussefl.com.

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Melt Rate vs. Pump Rate

When purchasing a hot melt adhesive system, it is important to know your desired melt rate and pump rate. It is also important to understand the difference.

All Universal Systems SE ProBilt™ tanks are equipped with a 14:1 ratio pneumatic pump assembly. Pneumatic pumps are most common and have a maximum pump rate of 75 lbs. per hour. No matter what the tank capacity is, whether it is 12 lb., 15 ob., or 20 lb., the pump will max out at 75 lbs. If you need to pump more adhesive then that per hour, you will need to transition to a gear pump system with a larger tank capacity.

The melt rate is the rate at which the tank will melt the adhesive you put into the reservoir. This is where the tank capacity comes into play. Before moving forward with any hot melt adhesive system, first you need to understand how many pounds you need to melt per hour. The melt rate is dependent on how many hoses and gun applicators you are running and how many boxes are sealed per minute on your packaging line. The most common tank capacity is the 20 lb. (10 Liter) ProBilt™ 20, with a melt rate of 23 lbs. per hour. If you are only running one line with one hose and gun applicator, then you may only need the 15 lb. (7 Liter) Probilt™ 15 which melts 18 lbs. per hour.

A common misconception is that the on-demand autofill system, the ProBilt™ Phoenix, will have a larger melt rate and pump rate. That is incorrect. The tank capacity on any auto fill system is the same as a regular tank such as the ProBilt™ 20. However, the advantage to the auto fill is that the line operators will not have to watch the adhesive level in the tank as closely. The vacuum system connected to the tank will sense when the adhesive level is low and automatically fill the tank. This helps eliminate dry running and pumps will last longer. However, the pump rate on this system will still max out at 75 lbs. per hour.

For additional information about melt rate and pump rate on all of our ProBilt™ tanks, please call (561) 272-5442 or email sales@ussefl.com.

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The Importance of Utilizing Cross-Referencing

The packaging industry is entering the time of year when budgets are getting tight, but replacement parts are still needed. Universal Systems SE will cross-reference any of our competitor item numbers and get you high quality replacements. Cross-referencing Nordson item numbers to Universal Systems SE item numbers will help to lower your cost and keep your packaging lines running longer!

You will also notice that our competitors change their part number often. This is why we offer the search bar on our website for any cross-reference numbers you might have. Some of the most common cross references are listed below. If you purchase any of the parts listed on a regular basis, please feel free to call us today! We guarantee that all of our products are quality control tested before leaving our facility and we stand by all of our products with strong warranties.

Adhesive Systems:

P10, 1022234, 1022235, 276881, 276882, 276883, 276884, 276885, 276886, 276033, 276034, 238310, 243666, 168204, 166535 à ALL of these item numbers match USSE # D100-644

Heated Hoses:

4 Ft. Hose:

107288, 129556, 100120, 274791, 276151 –> 4104

6 Ft. Hose:

107286, 129557, 100121, 274792, 276152 –> 4106

8 Ft. Hose:

107287, 129559, 100122, 274793, 276153 –> 4108

10 Ft. Hose:

107289, 129561, 100123, 274794, 276154 –> 4110

12 Ft. Hose:

107310, 129562, 100124, 274795, 276155  –> 4112

16 Ft. Hose:

104008, 129564, 100125, 274796, 276156 –> 4116

20 Ft. Hose:

223838, 223836 –> 4120

24 Ft. Hose:

129565, 100832, 100126, 274797 –> 4124

Applicator Guns:

H200 1 Module AO/AC

8503717, 8505756, 8505768 –> 39105

H200 1 Module (AO/SC)

274596, 224939, 8503591, 8503686 –> 39107

Modules:

H200 (AO/AC)

1052927 –> 29215

H200 (AO/SC)

272282, 276119, 326583, 331979, 1048115, 2210, 2219, 2400, 2410 –> 29219

 

For any other questions on cross-referencing, please call (561) 272-5442 or email sales@ussefl.com.

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Troubleshooting Tips for Packaging Line Issues

Since Universal Systems SE offers technical support for all of our customers, we get several calls per day with all different kinds of technical issues that line operators experience. Because many packaging lines run 24/7, without regular maintenance of key products there will always be issues after a certain period of time. As always, we recommend changing your filters, nozzles and modules when needed to eliminate any potential issues. However, there may be other parts on your packaging lines causing these issues.

For example, if you are experiencing a dripping or not fully functional module, it is most likely not an issue with the module itself. Especially since all products go through a vigorous quality control process before leaving our facility. Because the modules are air open and spring close, there are a few items to check before switching out the module. First, Universal Systems SE recommends that you check the solenoid valve. The solenoid valve is the air supply that runs into the applicator gun and fires the glue onto the box. If the solenoid valve fails, it will not generate air power to fully open the module. If the solenoid valve is weak, it will not fully exhaust all of the air out of the module, and the module piston will not seat properly, causing a drip. Another potential issue could be that char or debris has been transferred from the tank into the gun and has gotten stuck in the spring close. This piece of char, no matter how small it could be, can limit the spring from fully closing causing “dripping”. Spring tension on the gun module being set too low could also cause “dripping”, so make sure you try to adjust that before switching out modules. Finally, if the line operator has not gone through the correct steps to change out the module, the module could be compromised. The line operator needs to make sure that they lower the air pressure used on the tank before switching modules. If they do not, they could potentially send glue into the air chamber of the gun when removing the old module.

Another common technical issue is that the heated hoses are either not heating or not heating to the correct temperature. The first step is to check and ensure that the hose zone is not set to “off”. If it is, turn the hose zone to “on”. Then, you should check to make sure all connectors are securely tightened and the controller settings are correct. If all of those are working, you next need to check the ohms reading on the hose heater and hose RTD, and all of the board fuses.  A USSE technical support representative can walk you through this check process and help identify the real issue.

For more information or if you need technical support not mentioned, please call (561) 272-5442 or email sales@ussefl.com

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Piston Pump Troubleshooting

There are several things that can cause a piston pump to stop working. The most common reason is that it is clogged. Unfortunately, not all line operators take the time to close the lid on a glue tank. With a lot of carton dust in the air at any facility, this dust gets into the glue pot and melts in with the glue. When the pump shifter runs to pump the glue from the pot into the hose, that carton dust gathers around the pump which can cause it to seize. The simple solution to this is to make sure that all shift line operators are diligent about closing the tank covers, that’s why they are on there.

If carton dust is not your issue, and the pump fails, below are a few other possible causes and the corresponding solutions.

  • Adhesive not sufficiently heated – check the tank temperature and required melt temperature of your adhesive and set accordingly.
  • Inadequate or no input air to pump – increase the air pressure from the plant air supply and see if the pump will run.
  • Dry running – when a tank drops below a certain adhesive level in the pot, the pump does not have enough glue to operate at full capacity. The glue that runs through the pump acts as a padding so that the shifter does not pound against the top and bottom of the pump itself. When that padding is less, the pounding shifter can cause damage to the magnets and create an issue with the shifter. The only solution to this is to get a new shifter and potentially invest in an auto fill on-demand system that fills the glue into the tank for you, leaving less pressure on the line operators to fill the pot.
  • No Tank Screen or Clogged Tank Screen – the tank screen lives at the bottom of the tank and is the first line of defense against any foreign debris getting into the pump. Sometimes the tank screen gets removed or never cleaned. That can cause debris build up and seize your pump. It is easily cleaned by lifting out of the empty tank and then cleaning the tank with Purge Plus™.
  • Clogged Tank Filter – the tank filter screws into the side of the tank and filters the glue after it leaves the tank. If the tank filter is clogged, then the adhesive will back up in the pump, causing the pump to seize.
  • Pump solenoid is not on – if the tank is not within 35 degrees of the setpoint temperature on the control panel, the pump solenoid will not turn on. Check the setpoint temperature and make sure it is correct. If the setpoint temperature is correct and reading properly, then it might be a failed solenoid that needs to be replaced.

 

If you go through all of these troubleshooting steps and still have an issue with your pump, please call (561) 272-5442 or email sales@ussefl.com.

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What Diameter Nozzle Should You Use?

Hot melt adhesive application nozzles, or nozzle tips as they are commonly called, are the component that apply the glue onto boxes in packaging lines. Universal Systems nozzles are made out of brass with stainless steel tips to withstanding any beating they might take from box flaps in the packaging line.

Nozzles comes in many shapes and sizes, and are usually the part on the adhesive system that is most experimented with. Most nozzles are easily changed out by simply unscrewing them from the module. Other nozzles, like the ones on reduced cavity, zero cavity and ProBead modules are called integrated nozzles. We sell replacement nozzle kits for integrated nozzles that include the nozzle tip, needle, brass needle guide and installation tool.

The diameter of the nozzle tip determines the amount of adhesive that is distributed onto the box flap. Because you can easily switch them out, most line operators experiment with diameter to enhance productivity. For example, smaller, more precise glue application will require a smaller diameter nozzle. Larger, faster cartoners, will most likely run larger diameter nozzles to distribute a greater amount of glue and quickly seal boxes. Keep in mind that the larger the diameter nozzle, the more adhesive your tank will process. So make sure that your line operators are keeping a close eye on the adhesive level in the tanks. Dry running a machine can compromise your pump and create a costlier repair.

Because most adhesive systems run 24/7, the nozzle is the most commonly clogged component on your line. This is due to char or debris travelling from the tank, through the hose, into the gun and through the module. Because the nozzle is the smallest orifice on your system, most char will get stuck and you will be unable to get a consistent adhesive flow. Universal Systems SE offers nozzle cleaning kits that you can purchase instead of replacing nozzles. However, most line operators find the cleaning of nozzles a tedious process, even though when done correctly it works. Nozzle cleaning kits can save you money in the long run on replacing nozzles.

Another important aspect of nozzle diameter correlates to the size of the mesh in-line filter used on your system. The larger the diameter nozzle, the lower number mesh you should use. The smaller the diameter nozzle, the finer mesh you should use.  For example, with a .024 diameter nozzle, you should have a 50 mesh filter size. With a .012 diameter nozzle, you should use 200 mesh filters.

For more information about what diameter nozzle you should be using, call (561) 272-5442 or email sales@ussefl.com.

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Preventative Tips to NOT Char Your Glue

One of the most dangerous, yet inevitable, occurrences running hot melt systems in your packaging lines is char. Universal Systems SE has updated technology running in our ClearFlow hoses that reduces char, however the main char that runs through the hoses comes from the tank itself. Once your tank is infested with char, no matter how efficiently your hoses and guns run, there is always the potential to transfer this char onto your packages. You also run the risk of char clogging your nozzles and modules, which can back up through your guns and kill your pumps. Our Universal Systems SE technicians have seen it all. That is why we have created a list of preventative tips that each line operator should follow to effectively reduce char and keep your ProBilt® system running at top capacity.

Preventative Maintenance

Universal Systems Se recommends a complete hot melt system cleaning at least twice a year using our Purge Plus system cleaner.

Contaminated Adhesive

Hot melt adhesive should always be stored in a strong container such as a heavy-duty plastic waste container. Do not set boxes or open bags of adhesive on the floor or on the top of the container. The container should be labeled “Adhesive Only” and include your adhesive part number.

Low Quality Adhesive

With hot melt adhesives, higher price usually means higher quality, the opposite is also true. Adhesive manufacturing is a highly un-regulated industry and many companies use low cost waxes and fillers in their products to reduce cost. These products tend to burn quickly. Due to the fillers and heavy waxes, low cost adhesives can greatly reduce your adhesive mileage whereas high quality adhesives are lighter and have a lower specific gravity. The bottom line is a higher dollar per pound does not necessarily translate to higher packaging costs. We also recommend that you do not mix old adhesives with new brand adhesives. Please read our past blog to help you understand why.

Old Equipment

Hot melt systems are not cheap, so most of the ones in operation today have been on their packaging lines for 10 – 20 years, whether they are running properly or not. That means that most likely, these older machines have char built up in their tanks. It may be time to evaluate the performance and efficiency of your aging equipment and trade up to a new ProBilt®.

To get the latest pricing on ClearFlow hoses, Purge Plus system cleaner or ProBilt® adhesive melters, please email sales@ussefl.com. If you are experiencing issues with char, please feel free to call one of our technicians at (800) 848-5018 and we would be happy to help you.

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What Hot Melt System is Best for Your Company

Hot melt adhesive can be used as a sealant solution for several different types of businesses. The most common use is with case packer systems, but it can also be used on product containers such as protein shake cartons, frozen pizza boxes, and so much more. There are several key elements that you need to take into consideration when choosing the perfect hot melt system such as efficiency, glue distribution, glue usage, and limiting downtime.

The first step in identifying what type of hot melt system is best for your company is to evaluate how much adhesive your packaging lines use in a day. If you are running a continuous packaging line with a large diameter glue nozzle, then you should research fill on-demand systems. A fill on-demand system, like Universal Systems’ ProBilt™ Phoenix, has a vacuum hose that continuously fills the melter tank with adhesive pellets from an adhesive storage container. Your line operators will only have to worry about filling up the adhesive storage container, which holds up to 6107 cui, allowing them to free up their time to tend to other tasks on the floor. If you are only running your packaging line for certain products, then you might want to look into limiting your tank capacity to either a 12 lb., 15 lb. or 20 lb. tank. The most commonly utilized tank size on today’s packaging lines is the 20 lb. tank, such as Universal Systems’ ProBilt 20.

Another topic to consider when choosing a melter system is how you will be distributing the adhesive onto the packages. Will you be laying down a line, spraying on the glue, or laying dots? This will be determined by the type of nozzle you are running on your modules. If you have a spray or swirl nozzle, then you will be using more glue than if you are using a straight small diameter nozzle. This knowledge will also help you choose the correct tank capacity melter needed.

To learn more about the different types of melters Universal Systems manufactures and which is right for you, please call us at (561) 272-5442 or email us at sales@ussefl.com.

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Why Tape Doesn’t Hold Up

There are two main options in the market available for sealing your packages: Adhesive vs. Tape. Much like Batman vs. Superman, this is a largely debated topic in the packaging industry. Many carton packaging line manufacturers have been changing their machines from hot glue to tape. They claim that this will cut costs and reduce downtime. Here is why that is the WRONG move!

The largest complaint among manufacturers is downtime. Downtime leads to higher product costs, higher labor overhead and material waste, especially when it comes to tape. Cartoner machines that seal packages with tape commonly run into the following issues:

  • Changeover Downtime – tape roll capacities are not as abundant as hot melt adhesive. Adhesive pellets are not only cheaper than tape, but with the new on-demand adhesive application systems, the adhesive flow process is seamless with fewer interruptions.
  • Poor Tape Adhesion – One of the things you will never hear a complaint about when it comes to hot melt adhesive is that it does not stick. However, that is the top complaint of packaging line operators when it comes to tape machines.
  • Uncut Tape – when the line fails to cut the tape at proper lengths, all of the cartons are held together. That results in the line being shut down and operators are forced to manually cut the tape. With hot melt adhesive, this is never a problem.
  • Broken Tape – this is a result from poor tension control which causes the tape to stretch and break. Another issue you will never experience from running an adhesive system.

Hot melt adhesive equipment, when maintained properly will last you decades and reduce your downtime overall.

To find out what the best hot melt adhesive application system is best for your packaging line, please call (561) 272-5442 or email sales@ussefl.com.

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