The most common type of hot melt system used on packaging lines is a manual fill system. With manual fill systems, there are several roadblocks that can occur with safety and productivity that many companies are experiencing. Universal Systems SE took those concerns into consideration when designing our ProBilt™ Phoenix auto-fill system.
It is first important to understand how a hot melt system works. Hot melt adhesive application systems house a Teflon® coated interior tank, where the glue pellets are added and melted. The glue is then pumped out, travelling through a heated hose, into an applicator gun, through a module and nozzle, finally landing the glue at its final destination.
Universal Systems SE has ProBilt™ tanks that range from an 8 lb (4L) capacity, up to a 20 lb (10 L) capacity. Depending on how many hours per day the packaging line is operated, and the size of the glue tank needed, line operators are in charge of making sure that there are always glue pellets in the melter. Running low on glue inside the melter tank can cause a plethora of issues with the system. One of the most common issues is running the pump dry. If a line operator lets the tank run dry and the pump “shotguns”, the pump or shifter can fail. Honestly, that is the most common cause for pump rebuilds that we see in our shop. The easy solution to this is making sure that the tank is always full with pellets.
However, consistent tank filling can increase the risk of other potential issues. The first, is that it increases the risk to employees. Since the tank runs anywhere between 200 – 400 degrees, it is HOT. If a line operator is in a rush or makes one careless move, they can easily be burned by the pot. Another issue is that when you open the tank lid to refill with pellets, cold air flows into the tank and cools down the internal temperature. If the glue is continuously getting hot and cold, it could negatively impact its bonding ability.
These potential issues prompted Universal Systems to develop and release our ProBilt™ Phoenix auto-fill system in 2018. Unlike with manual filling, the automatic filling process does not require the line operator to fill glue pellets directly into the hot tank. Operators fill the free-standing container, which is separate from the tank. The glue pellets are then deposited into the internal pot via the vacuum and wand system when the internal tank glue level is low. The Phoenix is available in two tank capacities, the 15 lb and 20 lb units. Each glue container has maximum and minimum fill lines so that line operators know how much or how little to fill the pellets. Since the containers can hold much more glue than a standard heated pot, line operators no longer need to worry about checking the melters as often as with a manual system. This will also ensure that line operators will not get burned and that the glue inside the pot will stay consistently heated, creating maximum bonding ability.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.