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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How to Prevent Your Glue from Stringing

One of the most common issues that many packaging line operators experience with their adhesive melter is stringing. Stringing is when the adhesive is applied to the box, but before the flaps are closed on the cartoner, the glue starts to dry and string like cotton candy floating through the air.

There are a couple of fixes for this issue. Whether you are using a straight, right angle or swirl pattern nozzle, try moving the applicator gun closer to the box flap where you are applying the adhesive. The stringing could be caused because it is travelling too far of a distance from the applicator gun to the box. The shock from hitting the cooler factory air could be causing it to lose viscosity and start drying before it even hits the box. Not only will that cause stringing, that might also compromise the integrity of the glue hold on your product packaging.

Another cause of stringing glue could be temperature. Every adhesive is different and each one might require a different melt temperature. In order to keep the adhesive a consistent viscosity, make sure that the temperature on your glue tank and applicator guns are set correctly per the adhesive requirements. If the adhesive is too viscous then you might need to increase the tank temperature or change to an adhesive with a lower viscosity. If your tank temperature is correct, but your guns are not hot enough, then the glue could start to cool while travelling from the tank to the applicator gun. In this scenario, you would see that the thickness of the glue as it leaves the nozzle. Some line operators might try fixing the issue by putting a larger diameter nozzle on the module, which could be a temporary fix, but the real issue could be the temperature setting on the gun. Simply increase the gun temperature as needed to ensure a smooth, consistent adhesive flow.

There could also be an issue with the adhesive you are using on your packaging line. Like many products, if the adhesive is too old, has been sitting for too long, or has been heated and cooled too many times, this could cause stringing. We recommend that you drain all old adhesive from your tank, clean the tank with a cleaner such as Purge Plus™, and refill with fresh adhesive.

Universal Systems SE recommends trying to correct stringing if it is happening to your packaging line. Some line operators may think it is not that big of an issue, or they might blame the adhesive manufacturers, when in fact it could be a simple and important fix.

For more information or technical support to help you better understand how to fix your stringing glue, please call Universal Systems SE at (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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Water Wash Heated Hoses vs. High Flex Heated Hoses

Universal Systems SE manufactures our ClearFlow™ line of heated hoses. ClearFlow™ hoses can be used to transfer many different types of heated materials, however the most common is adhesive. There are two different types of heated hoses that USSE manufactures, high flex and water wash. Water wash, also known as washdown hoses, are manufactured with the same high-quality materials as our high flex hoses, but with a secure water wash connection between the hose and glue head. They are also encased with state of the art, high temperature, extremely durable, waterproof jacketing.

The main question that we get from customers is: why would we need a water-resistant hose? These are not hoses that get submerged under water. These water-resistant hoses, are used in facilities where machines are required to get washed down during or after operation. Hence the name water wash. For example, any type of food manufacturing plant such as ice cream, frozen food, cheese, etc. would be required by the FDA to wash down their equipment regularly. These wash downs impact all of the equipment in the facility, so if you are purchasing a water-resistant heated hose, you will also need a water-resistant gun applicator. The washdown gun applicator will also have the special waterproof jacketing on the cordset and water-resistant adaptor that fits with the hose. As displayed in the picture below.

All ClearFlow™ water wash hoses are manufactured with PTFE Teflon® inner cores and RTD temperature area-sensing. They have a maximum operating temperature of 450 degrees Fahrenheit, maximum operating pressure of 1,500 psi and are 240v. Universal Systems SE manufactures our washdown hoses in multiple lengths that range from 2 feet to 24 feet long.

If you are interested in getting pricing on a ClearFlow™ Water Wash heated hose, please 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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Know Your Equipment, Not Just the Part Numbers

The hot melt equipment industry has evolved over the last 40 years. Each manufacturer has made design and material modifications to their product line, which has had a significant impact on the creation and assignment of part numbers. Unfortunately for our particular niche industry there have also been an abundance of variations created solely for clerical purposes. These superfluous numbers make it extremely difficult to place orders and keep inventory organized.

Let’s say you are looking for a single orifice right angle nozzle with a .014 inch diameter hole. The correct manufacturer number can be 244519, 244-519, 244 519, 24-4519US, 320014, 320-014, 320 014, 32-0014US, 1011014, 1011014US, or SR19014. These are all correct manufacturer parts numbers and as you can see the variations are sometimes nothing more than a space or dash. This has already created a very high level of confusion, but wait, it gets even worse.

If you are not purchasing directly from the manufacturer you add a whole other coded level of alpha numeric characters, dashes and mystery spaces. Each buying house has their own system, each aftermarket dealer makes up their own numbers, and even legitimate distributes from time to time will add a character to a part number purely for tracking purposes.

It is important for anyone using hot melt systems to understand the function of each piece of equipment so that there is not a complete dependency on just a part number. We at Universal Systems SE work with our customers to identify parts through a combination of part numbers, descriptions, and photographs. It is especially important to take the time to talk to one of our associates if you haven’t ordered a replacement part in several years or are order a new part for the first time. Our website has a part number search function for your convince; but know you can always call 1-800-848-5018 for personal assistance.

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The Growth of Hot Melt Adhesive Systems

Unlike water and solvent based adhesives, the adhesives used in a hot melt system do not require any dryer after being applied. This gives these machines a unique and efficient advantage over other types of adhesives being used. Also known as “hot glue,” hot melt is a thermoplastic adhesive that begins to bond as soon as it’s applied to the object due to it being able to cool down to its solidification point almost immediately.

Who Benefits With Hot Melt Adhesive Systems?

Hot melt adhesive is ideal for those who work throughout several industries. This type of adhesive equipment is ideal industrial applications that include, but are not limited to:

  • Bonding versatility.
  • High-speed manufacturing.
  • Minimal shrinkage.
  • Large gap filling.

Within the packaging industry, hot melt adhesive systems are extremely popular because they allow for major applications to be accomplished in a faster time while increasing production value. Whether you work in construction, woodworking, stock and tape manufacturing, bottle labeling, or any type of bonding industry, this adhesive system can only benefit your business.

Using a Hot Melt System

With a majority of hot melt glues being composed of polyolefin compounds, acrylics, polyamides, and urethane materials, there’s no need for any pre-surface treatment when you begin bonding. Hot melts are easy to apply systems because the only process is turning a solid into a liquid then it immediately turns back into a solid (remember: no dry time). Although durable and long lasting, this type of adhesive is easy to repair by reheating and re-separating.

If you think a hot melt adhesive system can benefit you and your business, contact us at Universal Systems and we can inform you of the equipment that has the best benefits in terms of what you’re attempting to achieve.

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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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