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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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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Low Profile Glue Guns

Low profile guns are one of the most commonly used gun on cartoners. They come in two module and four module versions to allow for easy glue distribution on small to large box sizes. Their name comes from their unique gun body design which is angled on each side. The angled design sides allow for the box flaps to flawlessly close while the gun is applying the adhesive on to the boxes.

Even though the low profile guns look different than a standard gun applicator, they use standard H200 modules. This allows you to use the same modules and nozzles that you run on all of your other types of glue gun applicators. With both our two module and four module low profile gun, the modules are set with .88 inch centers and are a air-open, spring-close. The most commonly used nozzles for low profile guns are one or two orifice, right angle nozzles.

A few of our customers have asked over the years if Universal Systems SE manufactures a one module low profile gun. The answer would be no, however we can insert a custom module blank to the two module low profile gun, effectively turning it into a one module applicator. An advantage to this is that our custom module blank is removable, in case you ever change up your packaging line and need a two module low profile gun.

The item numbers for our Universal Systems SE ProBilt™ low profile gun heads are item # 3281 for the two module version and item # 3471 for the four module version. If you are interested in learning if your packaging line runs low profile guns compared to standard glue applicators, or the advantages to switching to a low profile gun, please call (561) 272-5442 or email sales@ussefl.com.

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Hot Melt Equipment Compatibility

Most all packaging lines come with an already installed hot melt adhesive system. This is the entire system that melts the adhesive pellets and transfers that adhesive to the boxes before they are sealed.

It is important to know that just because your packaging line comes with a hot melt system, that does not mean you need to buy the exact brand name replacement parts. Universal Systems SE manufactures an array of hot melt components and equipment at economical prices, that are most likely compatible with your current system.

The key term to focus on is compatibility. The devices and parts used to construct an applicator system are in depth, and we know they can get confusing. Not only do you need the melter itself, but you also need applicator gun heads, modules, nozzles, hoses and pumps.

Choosing the right part, or replacement part, to best fit your company’s needs may be difficult. Universal Systems SE has tried to make this process easier by building our technology to be compatible with all of our largest competitors. We also offer online search capabilities and list all cross-reference part numbers on our website, so that you can match your current part with our Universal Systems part number. This helps to eliminate confusion when ordering replacement components.

Example Cross-Reference Compatibility Comparisons:

ProBilt™ 20 Melter – Compatible to Nordson® P10, 3500 Series, 2300 Series

ClearFlow™ Hoses 4100 Series – Compatible to Nordson® 107286, 107287, 107288, 107289, 107310, 104008, 223838, 100832

ProBilt™ H200 Module #29219 – Compatible to Nordson® 1052925, 1048115

In addition to compatibility, Universal Systems offers one of the longest product warranties in the market. So not only will you be purchasing a component that is more economical for your budget, it will last you longer than your current parts.

With a combined experience of over 40+ years in the hot melt industry, Universal Systems offers the highest level of technical support. If you have a question on a part or if your machine is no longer running at its maximum capacity, just call in and speak with a technician.

If you need more information on how you can get the best pricing on hot melt applicator units, call USSE today at 1-800-848-5018 or visit our website at www.ussefl.com. When you click on a product of interest on the site, USSE will show you all of the cross-referenced product numbers from our competitors that this part is compatible with.

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