Case & Carton Packaging for Pharmaceuticals
The pharmaceutical industry is no stranger to growth, but over the last few years, it has seen an unprecedented increase. Because of rising healthcare spending, the launch of new treatments, and rising frequency of chronic diseases, the pharmaceuticals market is expanding. This will allow low-cost generic alternatives to enter the market, which will spur demand for pharmaceutical packaging equipment.
When you think about pharmaceuticals, packaging isn’t top of mind, but it is a key factor in distribution and cost effectiveness. At Universal Systems, we realize that pharmaceutical companies need precise, accurate, reliable packaging equipment in order to get the latest medications out into the world. We have been working on perfecting specific precision hot melt application equipment for over 35 years when we initially launched our ProBilt® Zero Cavity Modules.
Zero cavity modules apply a thin line of hot melt along medication boxes, effectively sealing each box for mass distribution. Zero cavity modules have a very specific look, with a matched needle and nozzle assembly which eliminates minute material pockets that can cause nozzle clogging or dripping. They also come with an E-Z Micro Adjust option to that allows the operator to “dial in” on an exact adhesive extrusion and precise bead placement. This unique technology allows for line operators to place a small amount of glue on a small, predetermined location without creating any stringing. Typically, because of the precision requirements, most zero cavity modules are made with either a .008 or a .012 diameter orifice, so that there can never be too much glue applied.
Not many hot melt application manufacturers offer zero-cavity modules. At Universal Systems, we believe in innovating for the pharmaceutical industry rather than trying to use case and carton machines for such precision application.
If you are sealing pharmaceuticals, call or email us today for a quote!
What Empty Grocery Shelves Mean for the Hot Melt Industry
If you are like me, you walk down the aisles of the grocery store searching for your favorite staple items and can’t find them. The space for the product is still there, but it is empty. With budgets tight and good help hard to find, the struggle to keep grocery shelves stocked is a difficult one. In addition, inflation is demolishing the grocery market with the average consumer spending 60% more for items that actually contain less food.
How does that transfer over to packaging? Easy, with less product demand, the storage facilities start to fill with products that have been packaged but not ordered by grocery stores. This causes CPGs to shut down front end packaging lines and look to see where they can cut costs on equipment.
If this scenario sounds familiar, there is a long-term solution. Universal Systems provides high-quality, cost-effective packaging machinery options that can fit into your budget all year long. And as an OEM, we manufacture everything in the US and stock all items for same day shipping. With packaging needs changing day to day, and many suppliers out of stock on standard maintenance items, CPGs can find it difficult to stay in production. Here at USSE, we focus on helping you stay up and running with the most cost-effective options. We also offer full time tech support to walk you through any line issues that arise and help with the glue tanks and components.
One way that Universal Systems adds value is that we also offer Nordson® compatible parts. So, if you are finding it difficult to get Nordson® parts or if you are currently running a Nordson® discontinued system, we manufacture all of the parts that you will need to stay up and running. Our products work with case packing lines, tray formers and folding cartons in all industries including food and beverage, pharma and healthcare, electronics, cosmetics and many more.
Hopefully we start to see grocery shelves get back to normal supply and demand. USSE can work with you and your packaging needs through both the good times and bad. We will get you up and running when needed, and keep you there, so that when grocery stores are ready, we can fill up the shelves once more.
For more information on our ProBilt® line of hot melt products that are all compatible with Nordson® please call or email us today.
Cold Weather Impacts Your Hot Glue
Most facilities are located in parts of the US impacted by the cold weather months. As the weather gets colder, so does the interior of the factories where most packaging lines operate. It seems like common sense that as the environment around your hot melt system gets colder, so will your hot glue unless you increase the temperature. Below are a few key factors to realizing you need to up your temperature.
Hot Melt Consistency
Hot melt consistency is the number one problem in most high-speed packaging lines during the winter months. This includes not only the consistency of the glue within the heated reservoir, but also the consistency of the glue to stay at temperature as it travels down that line. Just because your glue looks viscous inside the pot, doesn’t mean it is holding the same viscosity throughout the travel process. If your glue looks stringy or your guns are not firing consistently, then you most likely have a glue temperature problem. Try increasing the temperature of the tank, hoses and guns by 15 degrees. Please note that your hoses and guns should already be set 15 degrees higher than your tank. A minor adjustment like this will not char your glue, but should help keep it consistently viscous throughout the travel process.
Locate Cold Joints
Another important task would be to inspect your system setup for any cold joints. A cold joint would be any unnecessary extensions that you have added throughout the adhesive application process. Most cold joints are found on older machines that use larger sized extensions and filter housings. The more cold joints on the system, the more inconsistent the glue will heat and stay heated throughout the entire application process. If you cannot eliminate cold joints, increasing the temperature settings of the tank, hoses and guns will be helpful.
Location of your Line
One of the most important things to look at is where your packaging line is located within your facility. Most melters are located at the end of the line, which leaves them close to an exterior wall, door or window. The cold temperature outside could be impacting, not only the viscosity of your glue, but the heating time of your glue and its adhesion ability. Every time your line operator opens the fill door on the hot melt tank, the external air hits the existing glue and cools it off. Even if the lid on your tank is only open for a few minutes, that could impact not only the current glue in the tank reservoir, but the glue you are adding to the tank. If your glue pellets are colder than normal, it will take a longer amount of time to heat them. Since you cannot move the line, increasing the set temperature of your tank, hoses and guns will help eliminate glue inconsistency during the winter months.
If you have any questions about how to reduce the impact of winter weather on your hot melt system, please reach out to a technical rep at 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.
ProBilt Glue Systems Meet the Demands & Needs of Packaging Lines
The trend in packaging for many CPGs has been to move away from in-house packaging solutions and more towards co-packers and contract packagers. Rather than dedicating complete in-house lines, CPGs and processors can be more flexible with their budgets by putting the responsibility of capital investments for machinery in the hands of the contract packagers. In addition, the CPGs no longer have to worry about hiring line operators for the packaging machines. In the last few years, it has become clear that hiring, retaining and training employees is a challenge for every company. CPGs are finding that if they move the responsibility of packaging to contract companies, they no longer have to deal with that potential issue.
The move to contract packaging is not a bad thing for glue equipment OEMs, like Universal Systems SE. We enjoy working with contract packagers because they are equipped with the skills and knowledge to focus on packaging lines and, in most cases, know what they want and need from a hot glue machine, more than a CPG will.
Below is a list of requirements we are hearing about from Contract Packagers for their packaging equipment, and an explanation as to why Universal Systems ProBilt systems will work best to fulfill these needs.
- Quick changeovers to limit downtime – USSE’s ProBilt systems are plug and play. They are easy to set up and disable for cleaning, preventative maintenance, component replacement, etc.
- Preventative maintenance schedules – USSE believes that preventative maintenance is key to maintain the efficiency and longevity of any piece of machinery. A hot glue tank is no different. Universal Systems offers up a preventative maintenance schedule upon request, along with recommendations on what parts to keep on the shelf and how many of each part is needed to keep your operation up and running at all times.
- Streamlined equipment so that system components are interchangeable – Universal Systems prides ourselves in being the most streamlined OEM of hot melt machines in the market. Not only do all of our tanks take the same pumps, filters, valves, etc., all of our components are interchangeable with our top competitors including hoses, guns, modules and nozzles.
- Versatility for different packaging setups – Universal Systems manufactures over 100 different types of applications options, as well as the option to custom CNC any configuration needed.
- Easy-to-operate machines – Our ProBilt tanks are by far the easiest in the industry to operate. We focus on longevity and simplicity so that anyone can set up and operate our tanks with ease. We also offer online videos on how to set temperature and utilize our setback feature.
For more information on Universal Systems and our ProBilt line of products please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (561) 272-5442.
Best Practices to Ease Supply Chain Burdens
It is no secret that everyone is experience supply chain issues this year. While there may be no end in sight, Universal Systems can only try and help ease the burdens on our end users. Below are a few of the best practices that we have implemented that we can recommend for our customers.
Keep an Open Line of Communication
With several of our competitors experiencing supply chain issues due to their overseas manufacturing and shipping issues in the current cultural climate, Universal Systems, being a USA manufacturer has received a lot of new business from large end users of hot melt equipment who would normally be buying from the big-name brand manufacturers. With the new influx of business, we have been open and honest with customers as to what we stock and what we make custom. If a new customer who is used to buying from Nordson calls and asks us lead time on standard stock items, we are happy to communicate that we can ship same day. However, if they have a custom gun or hose, we are honest regarding lead time and ship dates, normally 3-5 business days.
It is so important for companies to try and plan ahead with their inventory. While we realize this may be hard for many buyers due to lack of budget or their inability to get “out of the weeds” from being so far behind during Covid lockdowns, it is the only way to ensure there is no downtime on your packaging lines. Universal Systems offers all of our customers a preventative maintenance schedule and inventory recommendation list, so that you know what to keep on the shelf based on the equipment you are running.
Try New Products
Many of us get stuck in our ways and don’t realize there are other options out there that might improve our operations or way of doing business. Now that some large brand name companies, who have spent years manufacturing overseas, are feeling the crunch of no inventory due to low supply chain, many packagers should see this as an opportunity to work with Universal Systems. We have been manufacturing hot melt equipment in the USA for over 40 years and are well versed in packaging line needs and set ups. We manufacture most of the same products as our largest competitors and stock over 10,000 items at all times.
Think Outside the Box
With over 40 years of experience in packaging equipment, Universal Systems’ technicians are most skilled in thinking outside of the box. Whether it is troubleshooting an issue with an old machine that has been around since the dawn of day, or setting up a new line configuration, sometimes the most common answers don’t always work. We urge our customers to keep an open mind and work with us to figure out the best solutions to your packaging needs.
For more information about Universal Systems’ ProBilt line or products please reach out to 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.
Cold Weather Impacts to Your Hot Glue Melter
As we move into the holiday season, we also experience a change in the weather. In most places in the US, the winter months mean that the climate inside most packaging plants change. With that, line operators need to take that temperature change into consideration when working with hot glue machines on their packaging lines.
Hot melt consistency, heated hose and gun temperature consistency and glue stringing are all potential problems that maintenance managers can deal with during the winter months. One of the most important things to look at is where your packaging line is located within your facility. Most melters are located at the end of the line, which leaves them close to an exterior wall, door or window. The cold temperature outside could be impacting, not only the viscosity of your glue, but the heating time of your glue and its adhesion ability. Every time your line operator opens the fill door on the hot melt tank, the external air hits the existing glue and cools it off. Even if the lid on your tank is only open for a few minutes, that could impact not only the current glue in the tank reservoir, but the glue you are adding to the tank. If your glue pellets are colder than normal, it will take a longer amount of time to heat them.
Another important task would be to inspect your system setup for any cold joints. A cold joint would be any unnecessary extensions that you have added throughout the adhesive application process. Most cold joints are found on older machines that use larger sized extensions and filter housings. The more cold joints on the system, the more inconsistent the glue will heat and stay heated throughout the entire application process.
If your main problem is glue stringing in the colder months, an easy solution would be to shorten the distance from the nozzle tip to the top of the box. Limiting the amount of time the glue has to travel in the air will help to lessen the problem of stringing, which can cause a weakened seal on the box.
If you have any questions about how to reduce the impact of winter weather on your hot melt system, please reach out to a technical rep at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Importance of IN STOCK
Over the last two years, as both manufacturers and consumers, we have learned a lot about the importance of having our most vital items in stock. As we head into the end of 2021 and move into 2022, we have to believe that getting products for both our business and personal lives is going to get increasingly difficult. As large US CPGs have relied more and more on packaging machinery made in China, like Nordson®, they are finding it increasingly difficult to get products. Large corporations have been incentivized for years to move their manufacturing facilities overseas, not only because labor is cheaper, but raw material is cheaper and more readily available. With that, however, the cost of their products has increased due to tariffs and greed, and they are now unable to ship to the US, putting some large CPG facilities in a bad situation.
Here at Universal Systems, we have prided ourselves on being Made in the USA and stocking thousands of items. We still do and will remain sourcing all of our raw material within the USA, as well as keep our most popular products built and on the shelf for our valued customers that need them in order to keep their production and packaging lines up and running. If there are any CPG companies out there that are having issues getting Nordson® products, please reach out to us. We will quote pricing and lead time 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 email@example.com.
How to Choose the Best Applicator for your Packaging Line
Oftentimes, a packaging line comes with standard, one module applicator guns. While that is the most common applicator on the market, there are several other application options available.
When figuring out your packaging line configuration, it may become apparent that a standard one module applicator will not work for you. It really depends on what you are closing up with hot melt. Are you running a case sealer? What size and style boxes are you sealing? How many edges do you need to hit with the glue and how do they fold together in the line? All of these questions need to be addressed before purchasing an applicator.
To help out, below is a list of some other common case sealer applicators. All of these items are in stock and ready to ship!
Low profile guns are one of the most commonly used guns on cartoners. Here at Universal Systems SE, we manufacture 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.
If you are running a high-speed line creating cartons that have multiple folds, such as a Douglas case erector, you may want to consider installing multiple module applicators. Universal Systems SE manufacture 2 module, 3 module, 4 module and 5 module applicators. There are various lengths between centers for each model. We recommend that you review all gun specs on our website.
For any other questions you may have regarding purchasing a new gun for your application, please give us a call at (561) 272-5442. We are happy to help create the best and most efficient hot melt application system possible.