The Importance of Tank Filters

There are two types of filters used in hot melt systems. The first, and most popular are the inline filters that go between the hose and the gun. These filters help reduce the transfer of char from the hose into the gun applicator. However, there is another type of filter that is just as important, and commonly overlooked. Your system’s tank filter.

Unlike an inline gun filter, that will come with either a straight, 45 degree or 90 degree filter body that houses a small inline mesh filter and mounts to your applicator gun, the tank filter is simply a long round cylinder that fits inside your tank itself. The tank filter’s job is to filter the glue out of the tank into the hose, reducing any burnt or charred old adhesive in the tank from clogging up your hoses.

Universal Systems SE recommends that you check and replace your tank filter every 500 hours. In order to check the filter, you can locate it in the lower right-hand side of your system tank. You may not need to replace the entire filter, so first check the screen. Below is an example of what the entire tank filter assembly will look like, compared to only the screen.

        TANK FILTER ASSEMBLY            TANK FILTER SCREEN

                                                      

For more information on tank or inline filters, please contact sales@ussefl.com or call (800) 848-5018. Our Universal Systems SE technicians are here to help!

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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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Top 10 Tips for Maintaining Your Hot Melt Machine

Hot melt machines are an important investment into the efficiency of your packaging line. Just like any important investment, you want to make sure that you are maintaining your hot melt machines to limit downtime and minimize expenses.

Below are the top 10 maintenance recommendations to ensure you get the most out of your Universal Systems machine.

1)      Replace Melter Filter after 500 Hours

2)      Clean Melter Tank with Purge Plus after 1,000 Hours

3)      Clean and Flush Pump after 2,500 Hours

4)      Replace Pump after 5,000 Hours

5)      Replace Hose only when it stops heating

6)      Replace In-Line Filters after 150 Hours

7)      Replace Gun Head only when it stops heating

8)      Change Module Every 1,000 Hours

9)      Replace Nozzle Every 120 Hours

10)   Depending on how many lines you are running, make sure you keep enough spares of each in stock.

Universal Systems SE stocks all of the above and can ship almost anything same day. For more information on how to operate your hot melt systems or perform maintenance on your system, please check out our YouTube channel.

For pricing on any items, please reach out to one of our sales representatives at sales@ussefl.com or feel free to call our corporate office at 1-800-848-5018.

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How Cartridge Heaters are Made and Why They Fail

There are two methods of manufacturing cartridge heaters to ensure a useful life and not have them fail prematurely. The first is a standard cartridge heater and the second is a swaged cartridge heater. Even though both cartridge heaters might look identical on the outside, they are constructed very differently. Standard cartridge heaters are the most commonly used, but if you need to operate at higher temperatures and vibration applications, then you will need a swagged cartridge heater.

A standard cartridge heater has nichrome wire heater coils that are weaved through holes in the ceramic tubing. Pure magnesium oxide filler is vibrated into the holes, heating the coils to allow maximum heat transfer to the stainless-steel sheath.

A swaged cartridge heater’s nichrome wire is wound tightly around a ceramic core, to situate it in close proximity to the heater sheath. Pure magnesium oxide is vibrated in and the heater is swaged to a specific diameter.  This compresses the magnesium oxide so it becomes an improved conductor of heat from the wire while maintaining its dielectric properties. This is why it works so well with high temperatures.

The useful life of a cartridge heating element is determined by how quickly the heat generated in the resistance wire can be dissipated to the outside sheath. So why do cartridge heaters fail and sometimes prematurely? The reasons include improper fit, moisture, watt density is too high or if you are using the incorrect voltage.

Improper fit is the most common cause of cartridge heater failure. If the cartridge does not fit into the hole it is inserted, then the heater cannot dissipate the heat being generated by contact with the sheath. So, in effect, the temperature inside the heater will continue to rise until the magnesium oxide or resistance wire breaks down and the heater fails.

If moisture or impurities are present they can be drawn into the heater. Because magnesium oxide is hydroscopic, every time power to electric heaters is eliminated, an internal vacuum occurs which draws in air from the surrounding area. This vacuum can cause a short circuit.

Finally, make sure that the wattage density isn’t too high and that you are using the correct voltage. Either of these issues can a cartridge heater to fail.

If you have any other questions about your cartridge heaters, please call us at (561) 272-5442 and one of our technicians can help you diagnose any cartridge heater problems.

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Why Should You Clean Your Melter Filter

First and foremost, your melter adhesive filter should be flushed once a day. Cleaning your melter filter can be dangerous so always remember to wear safety glasses and heavy duty gloves. This will help to prevent any injuries that might be caused by splashing hot melt adhesive during the flushing process.

The first thing you must do is heat your system to its operating temperature. This is very important to prevent damage to the filter screen. Next, you will need to reduce your pump air pressure to zero at the air regulator. Then, you must relieve the system pressure by triggering any and all guns. This will now relieve trapped hydraulic pressure. After all system pressure is released, you can open the manifold drain valve. Using a screwdriver, open the valve over an open container. You then want to slightly increase pump pressure until a steady flow of adhesive comes from the drain. Continue to allow material to flow until it appears clean and free from any foreign matter. Once the adhesive appears to be clear, shut off the air pressure to the pump and close the manifold drain valve. You now have successfully cleaned your melter filter.

The importance of a clean filter when operating your melter system is imperative to running a high-quality machine. Many people wonder if they should clean their filters or if they should buy new. The easiest way to tell if your filter should be replaced is if you have used it for longer than 200 hours. Every high-quality filter, even when cleaned daily, will only last up to 200 hours of operating time.

If you do need to replace your filter please follow the below steps.

  1. Heat the system to operating temperature.
  2. Reduce your pump air pressure to zero and trigger all guns to relieve trapped hydraulic pressure.
  3. Loosen the filter with a socket type wrench.
  4. Wearing Kevlar gloves, carefully pull the filter assembly out of the manifold.
  5. Remove the screw in the back of the filter assembly and discard the filter screen.
  6. Replace the filter screen and reinstall screw.
  7. Inspect o-rings for damage and replace if necessary.
  8. Slide the filter assembly back into the manifold and tighten until it seats.

Make sure that you purge the manifold by opening the drain valve and increasing the pump air pressure slightly until a steady flow of hot melt is released from the drain. Close the drain valve and your machine is ready to operate with your new filter.

To order replacement tank filters please reach out to Universal Systems SE at sales@ussefl.com or call us at (561) 272-5442.

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Tips For Maintaining Your Hot Melt System

Hot melt systems are an important investment that will increase the efficiency of your business. Like with any important investment, you want to protect it and get the most out of it. A consistent preventative maintenance program is the key to ensuring efficient productivity and increasing the life of the system.

MAXIMIZE PRODUCTIVITY

As with any product used daily, normal wear and tear can cause reduced efficiency. Over time hot melt systems naturally see decreased bead accuracy and restricted adhesive flow. By checking the system and cleaning regularly, you are more likely to maximize productivity.

INCREASED MACHINE LIFE

The more comprehensive your maintenance plan, the longer your system will last. You will get the most for your money by responding immediately to slowed pump strokes, pneumatic gun misfires, and clogged nozzles.

SAVE TIME AND MONEY

A rule of thumb is to replace any component $100 or less, instead of trying to troubleshoot the component and fix it. Studies continue to show that a company saves the most by focusing on troubleshooting and fixing the most costly equipment.

LIMIT DOWN TIME

Replace consumable parts on a regular schedule to avoid unplanned down time. Once a packaging line goes down the average cost/lost to a company is $10,000.00 per hour.

To help you, here are some standard maintenance tips to ensure you get the most out of your melter.

1. Clean and purge your hot melt unit every 500 hours and/or each time you change adhesives.

2. Check all fastenings and hose fittings to your machine and make sure they are secure and tight.

3. Clean attached components monthly.

 

For additional maintenance tips for your specific melter or other components, please call 1-800-848-5018 to speak with a technician or send an email to tech@ussefl.com.

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Combat Downtime

Downtime for an average production line can cost a company, at minimum, between $150 – $170 per minute. This makes it vital for companies to identify factors and equipment that impact production capacity.

Why are Hot Melt Adhesive Systems so important?

Hot melt adhesive systems are often overlooked as just a cog in the production packaging line. However the reality is that these small systems are vital to processes like primary paperboard packaging as well as the key to ensuring protective secondary packaging. Furthermore any disruption to the heating, transferring and adhesive application process results in the slowing if not complete shut down of a production line.

While literal monetary translation of the 1-10-100 principal is debatable, there is no question a proactive approach to maintenance that considers prevention cost, corrective cost and failure cost will reduce downtime and yield significant savings.

How to optimize Hot Melt Part Maintenance and Purchases

To ensure quality, longevity, and support for hot melt glue equipment one should purchase from a well-established manufacturer such as Universal Systems SE, Nordson, Graco, ITW Dynatec or Robatech. All these companies have engineers on staff to discuss equipment selection, technicians to address maintenance questions, and sales representatives who can assist with product procurement and replacement.

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Hot Melt Adhesive Equipment: Troubleshooting Tips

Whether you’ve already invested in hot melt glue equipment, or you’re considering it, knowing how to troubleshoot any potential problems is highly advised by any hot melt adhesive machinery as well as equipment distributors and manufacturers. However, before we get into common troubleshoots; let’s define what hot melt adhesive systems actually do.

What is a Hot Melt Adhesive System?

Hot melt adhesive systems are composed of different pieces of equipment that come in a variety of pump, hopper, and hose gun connection sizes in order to satisfy your individual production needs. Hot melt glue machinery can be used to assist several different industries including, but not limited to:

  • Bookbinding
  • Breweries
  • Graphic Arts
  • Labeling / Laminating
  • Packaging

Troubleshooting Mechanical Problems With Your Hot Melt System

Now, we don’t advise that you should try and troubleshoot a hot melt dispensing unit on your own unless you’re a qualified professional. If you are a qualified professional, observe and follow the safety instructions within your OEM manual that you were given for your specific machine.

  • IF YOUR PISTON PUMP ISN’T WORKING PROPERLY

    First, check to see if the unit has reached its operating temperature, if it has, then there could be a problem with your air supply, the solenoid valve, or there’s something wrong with the assembly of the shifter valve.

  • IF THE PISTON PUMP IS STROKING ERRATICALLY

    If this problem is occurring, then you may be low on adhesive, if you’re adhesive level is fine, then check to make sure that the adhesive is actually melted. You’ll also want to check the pump seats in case anything became lodged within them, as well as make sure that the o-ring in the crossover tube isn’t broken.

  • IF THE GEAR PUMP IS NOT PUMPING PROPERLY

    One of the first things to check if your gear pump is not pumping properly is the motor. If the motor is not running, you want to check the motor control as well as the capacitor. If you don’t see anything wrong with the motor than look for any fault indicators, as well as making sure that the pump ready light is on. In the event that none of these tips help, then there may be a blown fuse.

  • IF NO ADHESIVE IS PUMPING OUT

    If your motor is running, but there’s no adhesive being pumped out, then you’ll need to check your adhesive levels and make sure it’s melted. There’s a chance that the nozzle could be clogged on the head however, if it’s not then you’ll need to check the inline head filters, the tank filters, the coupler between the motor and the pumped, and the pressure regulator.

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