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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In-Line Gun Filters

There are a couple different types of filters that you need to change out regularly on your adhesive melter system. One is a tank filter, which we describe in a previous article: The Importance of Tank Filters. The second, is the in-line gun filter. This is the filter that goes between the hot melt gun applicator and heated hose. This is the last line of defense against char being transferred through the module and potentially clogging the nozzle.

There are a three different in-line filter assemblies that are available for your hot melt system: Straight, 45 Degree & 90 Degree. The first is a filter assembly with a straight connector from the gun to the hose. This straight fitting is used when guns line up directly with hoses, typically applying the glue straight out to onto the boxes. The other two filter assemblies offer a 45 degree and 90 degree fitting that allows you to connect the hose to the gun at an angle. These filter assemblies are mostly used on setups where the applicator guns are either above or below the packaging line.

Each filter assembly is available with 50 mesh, 100 mesh and 200 mesh filters. The replacement filters are sold separately in packs of 5 for easy installation so that you do not need to switch out the entire assembly. The filter is easily screwed into the top of the filter body as seen below. Please make sure that you lubricate the o-rings before installation to help you for future filter changes.

In-Line-Filter-Assembly-90-Degree In-Line-Filter-Assembly-45-Degree In-Line-Filter-Assembly

For more information on which in-line filter assembly is best for you, please call (561) 272-5442 or email sales@ussefl.com.

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Line Operators: The First Line of Defense

Understanding hot melt tank systems is no simple task. It usually takes years of experience to learn how to effectively manage adhesive systems and keep your packaging line running efficiently and effectively. Universal Systems SE understands that new line operators come into work and might need help learning which items to replace and how to replace them the correct way. That is why we offer technical support to all of our ProBilt™ customers!

There are several maintenance tasks that we recommend be completed on a regular basis to keep your adhesive system free of char and debris, which is the number one culprit in bringing down a line. Below is an easy maintenance checklist that each line operator should have in hand.

We recommend that you print this checklist out and give it to every shift that operates the packaging line. Keep in mind that changing out items such as gun heads, modules, filters and pumps all require you to clear the old lines and remove the air pressure before re-installation. Releasing the air pressure and removing all old adhesive will ensure that all seals stay intact and reduces the char transferred from the old to the new parts.

If you need help changing out parts or have questions about which items need to be changed regularly, 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 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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Modules: The Glue That Holds Your Adhesive Melter Together

Modules, they are the most used product on your packaging line, yet so many operators don’t understand how they are constructed or when to replace them. Like an oil filter on your car, a hot melt module’s main job is to be the conduit for applying adhesive on your packages and should be replaced every 1,000 hours. Replacing a module is simple, and the part itself is fairly inexpensive, but not changing them out could lead to extremely expensive repercussions.

There are two different ways that hot melt can be pumped through the module. First, there is an air on, spring off module (AO/SC). This type of module is the most common in the packaging industry, and the easiest module type to replace. It works by the gun pumping air into the module, to open the flood gates and pump the adhesive through the nozzle, on to the packaging material. When the airflow stops, a spring inside the module closes the opening and stops the adhesive from flowing. The other type of module is an air open, air close (AO/AC). This is a less common type of module and patented by Nordson®. If your machine operates with an air open, air close module then the replacements will be more costly and harder to find. Essentially, this module operates with air pumping through the gun to open the flow of adhesive, and then uses an air intake from the side of the module to stop the flow of adhesive. Keep in mind, that if you operate using an air open, air close module, you can replace it with an air open, spring close module by bypassing the air intake line. However, you cannot run an air open, air close module on an air open, spring close gun.

O-rings are an important component on any module. These tiny ring-shaped seals keep your module from clogging up, increases the efficiency of your system and limits the downtime of your lines. When replacing modules on your guns, make sure that the o-rings are placed securely on the module. If they get clogged with glue, then your module will clog and become defective.

Another important point to note when learning about your module, is the type of nozzle it takes. Not all nozzles and modules are the same. For example, zero cavity modules come with an integrated nozzle seat which allows for a no drip, positive cut off of adhesive. Each zero cavity module needs to be ordered by diameter size. A standard H200 module, however, does not come with any nozzle. You need to order nozzle separately and they come in multiple orifice sizes.

For more information on modules and how they can help improve your packaging line efficiency, reach out to Universal Systems SE at (561) 272-5442 or sales@ussefl.com. You can also view all of our ProBilt® series modules by visiting the Hot Melt Modules section of our website.

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