Hot Melt Not Running Properly? Below Are The 3 Best Practices For Hot Melt Adhesives
During your day to day operations it is your priority to make sure your hot melt adhesive is running smoothly and efficiently in the plant to yield maximum production. When doing so you will need to inspect your hot melt operation. There are some instances that contribute to inefficient hot melt usage. One of these is using too much hot melt which causes two main problems, one being an added cost to your company, and two it can clog nozzles.
How To Run Hot Melt Properly
Below are the 3 best practices to ensure your hot melt adhesive applications are running as efficient as possible.
Follow these 3 tips to ensure your hot melt performs optimally:
1. Apply adhesive at the proper temperature: Temperature is an extremely important variable for the success of your hot melt application. If the adhesive is too hot, it will take longer to bond and may result in what is best described as “chewing gum failure”. If the adhesive temperature is too cool, it may set too early and result in a weak bond. This is known as pre-set. Follow the TDS for the suggested application temperature range and adjust accordingly.
2. Keep adhesive pots full: Remember to keep your adhesive pots full during usage. When the adhesive level gets too low, hot spots and gel formation can occur, resulting in char. If you’re manually loading them, it can be easy to forget to refill your pots. Having an automated filling system to replenish adhesive on demand and a level control system to monitor the adhesive level will ensure your pots stay full. This replenishes antioxidants in the adhesive, which fight char.
3. Turn down pot temperatures when not running: Since hot melt tanks, hoses and nozzles continuously undergo heat stress, they have the tendency to create char. Turn down the pot temperature when it’s not in use to reduce any heat degradation that can occur to both the hot melt and equipment. This will decrease the opportunity for charring to occur.
Safety Best Practices for Hot Melt Packaging Adhesive
Above we talked about the best 3 practices to efficient hot melt usage. However, it’s also important to look at some of the safety best practices. Overall, when dealing with hot melt applications, the temperatures typically range between 121oC – 204oC (250oF – 400oF). Keeping employees safe from this high heat requires a combination of wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and training. All hot melt adhesives have comprehensive Safety Data Sheets (SDS) available. These should be the main point of reference for all hot melt packaging adhesive line operators and maintenance personnel. The SDS documents also recommend PPE for each product, including heat resistant gloves, face shields, safety glasses, as well as heat resistant sleeves. These will protect employees from contact with molten adhesive or hot equipment while working with hot melt or around the machine.
The best practices for Your adhesive line operators to go over with their staff:
- Read and Follow Guidance Documents: Read and follow the adhesive SDS documents and equipment directions before starting application. These guidance documents will outline operating conditions for the adhesive and setup/maintenance of equipment. The documents also contain helpful tips on safety precautions.
- Stay Focused: Accidents can occur when hot melt packaging adhesive operators lose focus. Stay alert and focused when filling the hot melt tanks or checking nozzles on the production line. This will reduce the likelihood of getting burned.
- Wear the Proper Equipment: The appropriate protective gear is advised when working with molten hot melt adhesive. All operators should wear safety glasses or goggles. Leather or other heat-resistant gloves prevent burns.
Keeping Adhesive Equipment Efficient
An important part of safety is keeping the equipment well maintained and the production area clear of debris and melted adhesive. Each equipment manufacturer has best practices to keep the machinery working efficiently. If the equipment is used incorrectly or not maintained, the hot melt packaging adhesive can be impacted. If preventive maintenance is not performed regularly on the hot melt equipment, the adhesive can char. This burnt adhesive that clings to the slide of the hot melt tank can impact the efficiency of the equipment causing clogged filters and nozzles.
Some common best practices for hot melt packaging adhesive equipment include:
- Daily Hot Melt Equipment Checks: This inspection identifies any visible failure points. The hot melt tank should be free of debris, cracks or other damage. Preventing faulty equipment avoids accidents.
- Use the Right Temperature: Set the hot melt tank temperature based on the operating guide for the hot melt packaging adhesive being used. This assures the adhesive will perform as expected and operators are protected. Using adhesive at a consistent temperature reduces the likelihood of pop opens and other bonding issues.
- Implement Setback or Standby Mode: Implementing a consistent setback plan makes it easier and less costly to prevent char and assure burnt hot melt adhesive does not infiltrate the production line. Set back mode keeps operators safe by reducing exposure to high temperature equipment as setback mode will lower the overall temperature. Implementing setback mode into daily maintenance can improve the uptime of a manufacturing line.
- Keep Work Area and Equipment Clean: Routine equipment maintenance, in addition to the daily equipment check, can prevent unnecessary downtime. Equipment manufacturers provide recommendations for regular maintenance on their systems. Broken tank lids, cracked hoses or clogged nozzles will impact the packaging line. Keeping the equipment and work area clean and well-maintained can prevent an avoidable accident.
If your adhesive equipment is still not functioning properly, and you’re not getting the desired output please reach out to us at BC Adhesives, we are happy to take a look at your equipment to resolve any issue you may have.