How to Obtain Maximum Adhesion on Your Packaging Line

As we return back to work from the shut down earlier this year, facilities may be experiencing several new situations or issues that they have either never dealt with before, or maybe they are new to the industry and need help with understanding how best to operate a high-speed packaging line. We are hearing from a lot of our customers, both old and new, that good adhesion has become a problem. Even though we are moving into the summer and the weather is no longer a potential cause of adhesion issues, there are a few other checklist items that you can walk through to help correct any lack of adhesion.

The first thing to check is the distance of your application gun and nozzle tip to the container or carton you are trying to glue together. If there is too much distance between the tip and the box, the glue could be cooling mid-air, not allowing the cartoner to get full adhesion when moving the box to the folding stage. This solution could be a simple mounting adjustment to lessen the space between the nozzle tip and the box.

Another item to review is the viscosity and melt rate of the glue you are using. It is imperative to educate your line operators on the glue specifications to make sure they are heating it to the correct temperature. On the flip side of that, make sure they are not over-heating it and making the glue too thin, creating a longer open time for the adhesive. Knowing the specifications of your glue will also help you to regulate the amount of glue you are using on your applications, hopefully keeping your operating budget down.

In addition to the above listed items, we also highly recommend regular maintenance on your hot melt system to limit the amount of char building up in the tank. Performing regular maintenance such as changing out tank filters, in-line filters and cleaning out the tank quarterly, will lessen the effects of char through the line. If you do have a lot of char build up, that can and will transfer through the system and onto the box. Too much char mixed in with your glue can be causing adhesion issues. Once the glue dries and hardens around the char, the char can separate from the box.

If you are experiencing any adhesion issues or have any other troubleshooting questions that you would like to review with a technician, please call Universal Systems SE at (561) 272-5442 or email tech@ussefl.com.

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Starting Back Up After a Pandemic

This is most definitely a new reality that we are all facing. Never before have so many companies had to shut down several, if not all, of their packaging lines because of a global pandemic. However, it was a scary and necessary measure taken to prevent further outbreaks of COVID-19. Now, as we slowly start to reopen as a nation, so does our packaging facilities. State by state, Governors are rolling out the reopening phases that each company, both essential and non-essential must follow.

With the reopening happening, that may mean you are going to run into a few speed bumps. As we all know, machines that typically run seven days a week, don’t like being shut down for three months. Especially if they are not shut down and cleaned out properly before they sat around idle. So, when you switch the power button back to “ON”, everything might not turn green.

In an effort to help with troubleshooting, we have put together a quick list of potential fixes.

1. CLEAN YOUR TANK. We cannot stress this enough. Even if your team drained the glue in the tank reservoir before shut down, there will still be old residue that will impact your restart. Cleaning your tank is fairly simple. First, make sure to detach all guns from the hoses before running the cleaner through. Utilizing our Purge Plus cleaner, fill the tank reservoir and heat. Place the end of the hose inside a bucket and flush the cleaner through the tank and out through the hose.
2. CHANGE ALL FILTERS. This includes both the tank filter and in-line gun filter. Starting with new fresh filters is the smart way to go.
3. NOZZLES MIGHT GET CLOGGED UPON INITIAL RESTART. Nozzles have small orifices that dispense the glue onto packages. If there is any left-over char in the tank from restart, the nozzles could get clogged up first. Try switching the nozzle to see if that fixes the issue.
4. REBUILD KITS. There are a few items that can be rebuilt on your adhesive melter system. For example, your pump. If you think that your seals have dried up from sitting idle through the down time, and you have a skilled mechanic trained to work on the equipment, try ordering a rebuild kit. This will save you money on purchasing a new pump.

If you experience any other issues during your restart, please call us directly at (561) 272-5442 and a technician will walk you through troubleshooting any issue. Stay Safe!

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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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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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