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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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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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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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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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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Important Notes for Hot Melt Purchasing Agents

The packaging industry is unique, and can be a tough industry to buy for. It is important for purchasing agents to understand how their hot melt systems operate in order to ensure they are buying the correct parts. Hot melt manufacturers are full of highly educated engineers that have honed their skills over time. At Universal Systems SE, we combine our experience of over 40+ years to keep our products ever evolving and ensure we are still at the top of the industry, while offering our expertise to help our customer purchasing agents make the right choices.

Keeping up to date on the latest trends is not only important for us as manufacturers, but it is also important for buyers. Below are 5 important facts that every hot melt equipment buyer needs to keep in mind before making a purchase.

  1. Durability – at USSE, we stand behind the durability and craftsmanship of our products. That means that we offer a solid warranty, longer than all of our competitors.
  2. In Stock Products & Compatibility – whenever you call to inquire about the pricing on a melter or replacement part, make sure you remember to ask if the part is in stock. There are several choices that you have when ordering both main and replacement parts. Most all companies make their parts compatible with industry standards.
  3. Tank Capacity – make sure your melter’s tank capacity matches your packaging line output. This will ensure that you have the correct tank needed for the job.
  4. Match Your Adhesive and Your Pump – the pump needs to match the viscosity of your chosen hot melt adhesive. This is key to making sure that you are ordering the correct style pump to dispense the adhesive on your packaging materials.
  5. Usability – the best melters will be easy to operate, easy to change out replacement parts, and easy to clean and maintain. They will also come with smart features like USSE offers on all of our ProBilt adhesive melters.

At Universal Systems SE we are dedicated to the education of both our customers and the next generation of hot melt engineers.

If you are interested in learning more about hot melt equipment tips and facts, please call one of our customer service specialists today at 1-800-848-5018 or email sales at sales@ussefl.com. You can also view these facts and several other key features of our ProBilt™ Melters by visiting us on YouTube.

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