Inflate Your Inventory, Not Your Budget
As we head into 2023, all Americans are impacted by the largest increase in inflation that we have seen in decades. With inflation comes several other economic impacts on society, including companies lowering budgets, changes in workforce, families not being able to afford bare essentials and many other challenges. With that said, companies still need to find ways to stay fully operational while staying within their newly defined restrictions.
Here at Universal Systems SE, we pride ourselves on producing high quality products at economical prices and have since 1981. All of our products are made in the USA and we keep almost every item in stock at all times. If you are having issues getting Nordson® products, or feel like the recent price increases from Nordson® aren’t allowing you to stay up and running at all times, please reach out to us. We will send you a quote within 24 hours.
The importance of “in stock” has never been more valuable. We realize that and are dedicated to continue to invest in stocking products so that our customers can get their most vital items in a timely and cost-effective manner.
For pricing on our most popular products, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Universal Systems Plug & Play Machinery
With what some industry professionals are calling “The Great Resignation” driving the packaging industry, it is so important to have equipment that is easy to use and operate. Recent studies report that the labor shortages in the packaging industry are due to employees not returning to work after Covid-induced shutdowns, as well as the increase in quit rates with most new employees not lasting longer than a month. Food industry production lines are reportedly standing idle because of lack of staffing where processors specifically pinpointed high retirement rates. This is a hard reality for many CPGs, and consumers are seeing this direct result in our local grocery and retail stores.
With over 40 years of experience in the hot melt packaging industry, Universal Systems is here to help. We have worked with hundreds of new maintenance managers and plant managers to help them learn about the equipment they are running. Whether they are running a competitor tank with our USSE components or our ProBilt system, we have the skills and knowledge of both old and new equipment to help relieve some of the stress that many companies may be feeling due to the loss of their most experienced workers.
Many CPGs also cite a lack of skilled labor capable of operating and troubleshooting complex packaging machinery. This is why Universal Systems’ line of ProBilt equipment is the perfect match for these end users. Our ProBilt equipment is in fact plug and play, with the easiest controls in the industry and the most flexibility by offering up to a 4-hose capability on all tanks. While many of our overseas manufactured competitors spent the last five years releasing “upgraded” equipment, they have lacked the foresight to see that they have ultimately overcomplicated the machinery for end user operators. Universal Systems’ ProBilt tanks have not changed much in the last 20 years. We have continued to manufacture our easy to program Accuscan control board and standardized components that we have prided ourselves on. Here at Universal Systems, we believe in quality, longevity and sustainability. Our products have proved time and time again that they work hard, for a long time, and without much training needed.
In addition, CPGs have been requesting more online videos and tutorials to help them train their new workforce on the machinery in their packaging lines. Universal Systems has listened to this call and we offer videos online on how to set melter temperature, as well as how the setback functionality on our tanks work.
We are here to support all of our customers, both old and new, as they navigate through their workforce troubles. By stocking over 10,000 items, we also help keep our customers up and running so you don’t have to wait out long lead times for standard operating equipment.
For more information about Universal Systems and our line of ProBilt products, please reach out to email@example.com or call (561) 272-5442.
Mini Modules and Gun Applicators
Several Years ago, Nordson® introduced the MBII gun applicators and modules. Initially, the small module and applicator manifold was made for packaging lines that were designed with little room for glue application. Then, they started offering them in a low-profile design for case sealers. Over time, Nordson® started using MBII guns and modules as standard equipment on all of their packaging line set ups. Why? Even though it is not clear the need for the MBII in most standard application setups that have room for an H200, the price surely made it a much more profitable product in Nordson’s® arsenal. The MBII is more than double the price of a standard H200 module and gun applicator.
The key question to ask is, when do you need to use a MBII applicator versus a standard H200 applicator? Like we mentioned earlier, a MBII applicator is essential on packaging lines that have about half the space to fit an applicator than typical lines. Not only is the manifold about half the length and height of a standard H200 gun, the modules measure a mere 1” x 2” in size. Additionally, MBII applicators have the filter built into the manifold. This is a space saver because it eliminates the need for the in-line filter assembly off of the back of a standard gun into a hose. This allows for the MBII gun to attach directly to the hose and still be able to filter out all of the char and debris travelling through the hose and into the manifold. MBII guns also are air open, air close systems, so you can only run them if you have your line set up with two air lines running to the gun. MBII modules do still fit all of the standard H200 nozzle tips. So, even though you cannot use your standard H200 module on the MBII manifold, you can use all of your current stock nozzles.
If your new packaging line comes in with a MBII system installed, our recommendation is to measure the space where the applicator is mounted. If you have room for a standard H200 applicator and in-line filter assembly, you can always switch to a standard H200 set up. The only thing you will need to change out is the gun, filter assembly and solenoid. This will save you thousands of dollars in the future…but only if it fits.
For more information about the mini modules and applicators manufactured by Universal Systems SE, please visit https://www.ussefl.com/products/applicator-gun-heads/h201t-guns/#1544128561143-eeff57c6-9818.
How to Determine Heated Hose Length for Your Packaging Line
One of the most important things to consider when setting up your packaging line is the best length hose that you should use for both the top and bottom applications. While most maintenance managers think the longer the better, that is not always the case. Heated hoses should be treated with care to ensure durability and run time. At Universal Systems SE we recommend that you map out where the tank will be situated and then where the guns will be mounted. When setting up the top applicator line, make sure to account for hose mounting brackets and try not to make too many turns. The hose line should run as direct as possible to the applicators. We recommend that the hose mounts be hanging mounts for top applications. This will cause no kinks or damage to the exterior hose casing and ensure the long run life of the hose.
When setting up the bottom line, the hose should be mounted down the side of the packaging machine itself. You can use hanging mounts here as well. Make sure not to lay or run the hose on the floor. Also, do not coil the hose under the tank. If you have any leftover hose that you need to coil…your hose is too long. Running the hose on the ground and coiling the heated hose could cause a plethora of issues such as power shortages, heating issues or tripping hazards, all dangerous to your employees. Make sure to keep the area around the tank and hoses clean and hazard free.
The most common hose lengths sold are 6’, 8’, 10’ and 12’. However, Universal Systems does manufacture 2’, 4’, 16’, 20’ and 24’ hoses that we stock. Our biggest piece of advice is to take your time measuring and setting up the mounting brackets. This will ensure that your hoses will last longer and your packaging line will be as efficient as possible.
For more information on our USSE heated hoses, call a sales rep today at (561) 272-5442 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Help When You Need It
In the post-pandemic age of industry, every company is finding themselves in need of more help. Whether it is qualified technicians with experience in the field, or technical support and customer service from their vendors. A lot of large companies, like Nordson®, have gotten rid of their technical support and customer service representatives, replacing them with automated systems or remote sales reps that do not have a detailed knowledge of each customers purchase history or equipment needs. That is making it difficult for CPGs to troubleshoot issues or for new maintenance managers to know what to order.
Many line operators of hot melt machines are new to the industry, since companies saw their long-term employees retire during the pandemic. At Universal Systems, we not only stayed open and kept all of our employees during the pandemic, we have kept detailed reports of our customers purchase history, as well as a cross reference list of our products to Nordson®. We are always here to take any technical calls or offer Nordson® replacement parts when you need them. With the “supply chain shortage” impacting all Americans, we made sure to back our bets here at USSE. We have ramped up our inventory by double its normal size to ensure that you can get products when you need them and not be held hostage to overseas competitor parts. We make everything in the USA and use all US suppliers. We stand behind our products and feel certain that we would be able to help you with any issue that may arise with your hot melt equipment.
For any technical support please email email@example.com or call 561-272-5442.
Spring Cleaning for Your Hot Melt Systems
It’s that time of year again, when the days are longer and everyone is motivated to do some Spring Cleaning. That should also apply to your hot melt equipment. Like most machinery, your hot melt tanks, hoses, guns, filters and nozzles need regular preventative maintenance and cleaning. Below is the maintenance recommendation schedule that Universal Systems SE provides to all of its customers regarding our ProBilt line of products.
- Replace tank filter every 500 hours or 3 months, whichever comes first
- Clean tank with Purge Plus every 1,000 hours or 3 months, whichever comes first
*stock 2 – 3 tank filters per tank and 1 Purge Plus cleaner
- Clean and Flush Pump every 2,500 hours utilizing Pump Service Kit B100-900
- Replace Pump every 5,000 hours or until Pump stops pumping
*stock at least 1 pump to reduce any potential down time
- Flush out hoses when cleaning tank with Purge Plus every 1,000 hours
*make sure to disconnect hoses from guns when flushing with Purge Plus
*stock at least 1 hose per length needed to reduce any potential down time
- Replace every 150 hours
*stock 5 spare filters for each filter body
- Only replace when it stops functioning –either the heater or RTD
*stock 1 spare gun applicator per line
- Replace module every 1,000 hours or every 6 months, whichever comes first
*stock 2 – 6 modules depending on how many modules are on each gun being used
- Replace nozzles every 120 hours or when they clog
*stock a minimum of 6 nozzles per line
*If you clean nozzles, we recommend cleaning them with kit # 1658 every 100 hours or when they clog
To keep your stock up to date please give us a call at (561) 272-5442. A USSE sales rep will quote you pricing and lead time on anything you need.
Glue Gun vs. Module vs. Nozzle
One of the largest misconceptions of hot melt packaging machinery is that maintenance on a glue applicator gun means replacing the entire assembly. That is not always the case. While sometimes, glue guns do need to be replaced, there are other times when a module or nozzle could be a cheaper solution to your problem.
What’s the difference?
It is pretty simple. The glue gun is the entire assembly (minus the nozzle). This includes the cordset, heating element, RTD, manifold and module. Essentially, if you order a glue gun, once you receive it the only thing you need to do is plug it in, attach the in-line filter assembly though the back fitting, screw on a nozzle and you are good to go. The reason to replace the entire gun would be if you get an error code on your melter main board that the gun zone is either not heating or not reading the RTD. If you get the gun zone heater error, that means that the heating element has stopped working and the gun needs to be replaced. If you get the gun zone RTD error, that means that the temperature can no longer be regulated and the gun needs to be replaced.
However, if you get no main board error code, but your gun is dripping or not dispensing glue at all, that could be a module or nozzle issue.
Modules are the mechanisms that attach to the front of the glue gun manifold to dispense the glue. These modules are operated by air and springs within the module body that control the piston to dispense the glue for easy release and clean cut off. If you are experiencing dripping, or no clean glue cut off, then most likely there is char in the spring that is holding the piston up and leaving the module open. Or, in some cases, the seals within the module could be stiff from usage and wear, and no longer creating the tight seal required for precision dispensing. In either of these instances, the module would need to be replaced.
If you are getting no glue at all to come out of the module, most likely your nozzle is clogged. The nozzle, or tip, is typically attached to the module and can easily be changed by screwing it off and on. In some cases, such as zero cavity or reduced cavity modules, the nozzle is fixed and can only be replaced by rebuilding the entire module, replacing the tip, piston and seals.
If you have any questions about which part of your glue gun you need to replace, please give us a call at 561-272-5442 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lowering Downtime on Your Packaging Line
As CPGs continue to change their packaging lines to try and cut costs but stabilize runtime, there are a few things to consider when analyzing the cause of machine downtime and how to prevent it.
The below statistics were taken from the Fall 2021 issue of OEM Magazine:
Causes reports by respondents at CPG companies as the most common cause of packaging machine downtime: 26.3% general wear and tear, 21.1% operator error, & 22.1% product changeover.
General wear and tear is pretty self-explanatory. This would depend on how many hours and days per week a facility runs their packaging lines. If they are running 24/7, then the percentage of general replacement parts purchased will be higher than a plant that is only open 8 hours per day, 5 days a week. To lower downtime, each facility should stock at least 1 -3 replacements, at all times, of the following items: Heated Hoses, Glue Applicators, Modules, Nozzles, Tank filters, and In-Line filters. Another way to lower downtime is preventative maintenance. If CPGs were to prioritize preventative maintenance, then their packaging machinery would last longer and lead to less overall downtime. We recommend PM practices that include changing tank and gun filters, as well as maintaining an even level of heated glue in the glue reservoir of the tank. If done on the regular, general wear and tear percentages would go down.
Operator error is also another large concern for CPGs and the cause of most packaging line downtime. That is because Nordson® and other large corporate OEMs are making their melters more technologically advanced. Unfortunately, this increased technology does not come with increased training. While technology can create less human interaction, if the line operators are not trained on how to work the equipment, it can lead to more errors. Also, several of the new systems need to run on a network in order to work, so if there is any network downtime, that will now impact the packaging machinery and shut down the line. Universal Systems has maintained our simple to use systems and provides YouTube videos on how to work our machines, along with error codes and how to navigate the control board.
The final most common cause of packaging line downtime is product changeover. To lower overall costs, many CPGs use the same machines to package multiple types of items, which requires a changeover of parts. This downtime might be harder to avoid, however if the line operators are well versed in the machinery and understand the usage need of the machine in all areas, this can be lowered.
For more information on our Universal Systems line of hot melt products, please contact a sales rep at email@example.com.
Remote Buying & Troubleshooting is the New Reality
After the world shut down in 2020, then slowly started to reopen, it became clear that certain job roles no longer needed to be in an office and could work from home. For the packaged goods industry, that impacted purchasing agents. Now, as maintenance managers run the floor and manage the inventory, purchasing agents are at home trying best to communicate the company needs to suppliers. Realizing the potential that purchasing departments might rely on supplier websites, here at Universal Systems, we focused on updating our website and making sure that there are competitor OEM cross reference numbers easily searchable throughout the site. We also have sales reps that can handle almost any product question and return quotes within 24 hours.
Another impact the pandemic has had on the packaging industry is workforce. There might not be as many skilled and experienced engineers on the floor to troubleshoot issues as they arise. As a manufacturer, we have also experienced setbacks with sending technical reps out to facilities to help them troubleshoot. In an effort to virtually help our customers, we provided YouTube videos on how to set up our ProBilt line of tanks, how to program our control boards and how to set temperatures. We also have several very skilled engineers in house that can walk customers through any issue they may be experiencing. We’ve found ourselves utilizing technology more and more for troubleshooting. Since less techs are allowed in facilities, we have started doing virtual meeting via Facetime or through texting photos. Both have shown to be pretty effective.
Hopefully, one day soon, we get back to workers being allowed to be in the office to physically check inventory and see what they need to order. But until then, we will continue to help our customers as much as we can remotely. If you have any hot melt questions, please feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Top 5 Tips to Hot Melt Machine Maintenance
Packaging lines are complicated pieces of machinery and knowing the ins and outs of each component is important. When you install a new hot melt system onto your packaging line, there are 5 helpful tips to take into consideration to ensure smooth operation and getting the most out of your equipment.
Read and Keep the Manual
The best practice for maintaining your hot melt tank is to read the manual and keep it handy. So many times, maintenance managers will install the tank, but not read the instructions on how to wire it or program it. That can lead to so many issues. In other instances, a tank may be running for some time, but someone hits a button accidentally and changes a setting, then doesn’t know how to change it back. If only they had read the manual or kept it on hand. It sounds like such a common-sense thing, but oftentimes manuals are discarded with the shipping crate. For this reason, we keep a digital manual on our website for anyone to reference.
Replace the Filters
Preventative maintenance is one of the most important tasks to keep your machine running efficiently and reduce down time for your packaging line. When your tank filters are clogged, that is good, it means that they are doing their job and filtering out char. Changing them on a regular basis and spending a small amount on a tank filter will save you thousands in the future.
Monitor Your Hot Melt System
Line operators are tasked with monitoring tanks on a daily basis. It is important to make sure that the pump is pumping smoothly, the solenoid is not lagging and the guns and hoses are heating to temperature and staying there consistently. Even a minor change in any of those tasks can mean that it is time to proactively replace a component, or at least make sure there is a back up on the shelf.
Know Your Options
Knowing your options ties all three previous tips together. If you have read the manual, you will know what your options are when something goes down. If you are doing preventative maintenance, then you know it is not the tank filters. And if you are monitoring your system, you know what components you replace most often and what inventory you have on the shelf. In addition, you should also know what options you have should you need to replace your current system. Is the current technology working for you or do you want to upgrade to an auto-fill system? It is always good to be prepared and know your options.
Listen to Your Workers
Line operators are on the front lines, literally. They watch particular lines and machines on each line all day, every day. They know what parts are running effectively and where the problems may lie. It is important that you listen to them. They might not be the maintenance manager by job title, but they are the most knowledgeable about the equipment they are in charge of and their opinion should be the first requested.
For more tips on keeping your hot melt systems running to the best of their ability, please give us a call at (561) 272-5442 or email email@example.com.