Tag Archives: packaging machinery

One of the biggest threats to the efficiency and profitability of any production line is unscheduled machine downtime. It can be a sudden production halt or an intentional machine stop by an operator who has detected defective functioning on the line.

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Not only does this cause time loss, but also results in increased over-time to meet production goals, as well as replacing a small part that might be currently out of stock. Such unscheduled machine downtime forces operators to leave their tasks and try to fix the problem, which sometimes requires specific knowledge and can only be fixed by the technical service of your packaging machinery supplier (who, to make matters worse, is located miles away and unable to provide immediate assistance). Simply put: it costs you time and money. Sometimes lots of money.

As a leading manufacturer of adhesive dispensing systems for the packaging industry, we know how distressing this situation can be for our customers. For that reason, we have decided to focus on exactly why a hot melt glue system could cause a packaging line to stop.

We found that the main reason for failure on a hot melt glue gun was typically compressed air.  Luckily, we also identified a solution to fix this problem: electric hot melt glue guns. To dive deeper, in this post, we examine how all-electric hot-melt systems save more time and money than pneumatic hot-melt dispensing machinery by looking closely at long-term issues reported on air quality, solenoid performance, spare parts replacement and adhesive usage.

Air Quality:

How can compressed air have such a big impact on the life and performance of a hot melt applicator? To start off, manufacturing compressed air is expensive, and due to the age of most systems, the quality of the air starts diminishing shortly after installation. This, in turn, affects the efficiency of the applicator, the accuracy of the pattern and the potential lifespan of the hot melt system. On the other hand, an all-electric valve has a consistent performance throughout its entire life, which can reach up to 300 million cycles.

Solenoid Performance:

Pneumatic hot melt glue guns require air solenoids to activate the module. The combination of heat, debris, oil, and air moisture quickly weakens the solenoid performance, resulting in sloppy or inconsistent glue patterns, spitting, or no glue firing at all. While you might think to replace the solenoid would correct the issue, more often than not, it’s hard to tell whether the origin of the problem is the air-activated solenoid valve alone. Therefore, the nozzle, module, and the solenoid are all replaced to ensure the problem is resolved, which necessitates an important investment in spare parts, inventory, storage, and technical training. Since electric valves don’t require solenoid valves, these associated issues are of no concern.

Spare Parts Replacement:

Seals and moving parts in the valve are subject to wearing out and require regular maintenance and replacement to maintain the valve in good condition. By reducing the number of seals, not only can you diminish the maintenance requirements, but also dramatically reduce chances of failure. Such is the case with an electric valve, which uses a small number of seals and other moving parts, guaranteeing longer life with less maintenance. To help illustrate this point further, we’ve created this infographic comparing the number of seals in both hot-melt systems.

Adhesive Usage:

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Last but not least, electric valves reduce adhesive usage up to 75% while continuing to provide perfect bonding and sealing.

Compared to pneumatic hot melt glue guns, an electric valve can be set to work on stitch mode, producing any desired pattern larger than 1/8” (3 mm). The size of the bead and the distance between beads can easily be set and controlled from a Pattern Controller, which is usually provided as an integrated feature of the hot melt unit. All of this translates to great savings, while still allowing you to deliver a more eco-conscious product.

Why take our word for it? Our customers’ results speak for themselves: Click here to find an adhesive usage comparison at a well-known global beverage manufacturer, before and after they switched to Valco Melton’s EcoStitch™ Electric Valves and more informative materials.

To contact a hot-melt system specialist today, click here.

We have been selling and manufacturing adhesive dispensing equipment and cold glue or hot melt systems of all kinds since 1952. Through careful testing and repeated implementation around the world, we have experienced firsthand, why various systems outperform others.  In our latest post, we concluded that up to 75% of adhesive can be saved by implementing an all-electric hot melt glue system. Just to get the point across, this week we have uncovered 7 additional ways that an all-electric hot melt glue system is reshaping the packaging machinery, folding carton, and print finishing industries.

  1. Fewer Plugged Nozzles: Did you know that by using an all-electric system, you can use lower pressures to administer the adhesive from the hot melt glue gun? Well, you can! This means that the nozzle diameter can be increased. The larger the nozzle, the lower there is a chance for clogging. Maintenance requirements and any risk of downtime are virtually eliminated.
  2. Safer Operation: As you probably know, the high pressure required to operate a pneumatic system along with the high temperatures of the hot melt adhesive is a potential safety hazard. Fortunately, there is a better way… Because an all-electric system utilizes a gear pump, they are able to provide operators with a safer dispensing application and work environment.
  3. Fewer Chances of Failure: Electric gear pumps and electric valves utilize almost 90% fewer seals and additional parts required to run pneumatic pumps and valves. This practically eliminates the chance of failure caused by worn out or imperfect seals.
  4. Any Pattern Configuration: Electric hot melt glue systems can be easily configured to work on stitch mode through a pattern control to produce any pattern larger than 1/8” in length (3mm), with exact start and stop placement and virtually without stringing. Pattern size is not affected by pumping rate limitations as often occurs with pneumatic systems.
  5. Longer Valve Life: By using electric hot melt glue guns, the lifespan of a valve module can reach up to 300 million cycles with slight variations, depending on the type of adhesive used. What that means for the user is easy savings and less hassle.
  6. Reduced Maintenance: The most frequent downtime on packaging machinery involves changing failed pneumatic glue modules, plugged nozzles and solenoids. Switching to electric guns eliminates the need for gun solenoids and modules that can be soiled and worn with a dirty, wet, and sometimes inconsistent air supply. In result, maintenance requirements are reduced to a minimum level.
  7. Minimal Spare Parts Stock: With fewer moving parts virtually eliminating the chances of failure, the spare parts stock is reduced to a minimum, resulting in lower investment, storage costs, and downtime associated with the replacement of parts.

To better understand how these 7 aspects affect your overall revenue and other key factors, we have put together a visual example with an intuitive diagram. You can request this by contacting us here.

Pneumatic System Seals with 4 Modules
Pneumatic System Seals with 4 Modules

Manufacturers have been using compressed air systems for many years. In fact, most adhesive dispensing systems today use pneumatics simply because air has always been available and this was the original design criteria in the development of hot melt system gun technology. Although pneumatic systems will get the job done, there are several known, long-term issues associated with compressed air:

1. Constant and costly replacement of parts gone bad.

2. Diminishing solenoid performance.

3. Pneumatic guns plus solenoid have eleven dynamic seals per set compared to electric guns that have no dynamic seals.

It’s a fact; Pneumatic valve performance starts diminishing shortly after installation. Most modules are replaced because they won’t fire glue, not because they are leaking from the glue seal. This is because the pneumatic portion of the valve module has failed, not because the fluid seal failed. Compressed air is the cause. Many nozzles are replaced because there is no glue coming from the module. Although nozzles do sometimes get plugged, there are just as many issues with the module or air solenoid not performing at full capacity that give the impression that the nozzle is the cause. The nozzles, module and air activation solenoid are all replaced to be sure the problem is resolved.

Air activation solenoids, like valve modules, are constantly pushing air through them. The combination of heat, debris, oil, and moisture in the air will cause the solenoid performance to start diminishing very quickly. A solenoid can still open and close, but it might only be working at 40% of its full capability. This means the volume of air going through the air solenoid is most likely much less than what is shown on the regulator. The symptoms of this issue are sloppy glue patterns, spitting, inconsistent glue patterns and in some cases, no glue at all.

Manufacturing compressed air is expensive and because of the age of most systems, the quality of the air diminishes each year. Compressed air contains debris that enters the piston pump, air solenoids, and glue module with each activation. This problem can be completely avoided by using an all-electric hot melt system. The all-electric hot melt system removes this contamination, resulting in higher quality and much cleaner product. An all-electric system does not have dynamic seals in the valves, contains a built-in troubleshooting guide, built-in gun filter, and there are no solenoids required. All of these prevent the constant replacement of system parts and diminishing performance; two issues that are common in pneumatic systems.

All-electric systems not only provide a higher quality product but also decrease downtime caused by diminishing system parts, which simultaneously increases production. Whether you are a folding carton, packaging, or print-finishing manufacturer, all-electric adhesive systems can improve your production rates and increase the quality of your product.

We tested our CHOICE all-electric system over a three-week period with one of our customers that were using a pneumatic valve and a traditional bead of adhesive for their card attaching applications. The customer provided us with sample product of card attachment that was completed with their pneumatic system. Our goal was to run this exact same card attaching the application with our all-electric system for three weeks to show the customer the adhesive consumption savings and cost savings they would achieve by using our CHOICE system compared to their previous method.

First, we weighed ten of the products glued with the traditional, pneumatic valve as well as ten products glued with our all-electric system. After obtaining the weight of the glued cards, we subtracted the card weight (6.29 grams) to determine the weight of the adhesive applied to each card. The results determined that there is a 60% reduction in adhesive usage when using the all-electric system compared to the pneumatic system.

We went a step further to discover the financial savings they could attain if 8,000,000 pieces were produced. Now that we had determined the weight of the adhesive applied to each card for the two systems, we calculated how many pounds of adhesive would be used with 8,000,000 pieces of the product by the pneumatic system (3,227.57 lbs) versus the all-electric system (1,287.50 lbs).

Using a hypothetical price of $3.00 per pound of adhesive we were able to determine the adhesive cost for the pneumatic system at $9,682.71 and the adhesive cost of the all-electric system at $3,862.50. Bottom line, the customer saves $5,820.21 using the all-electric system.

The test clearly showed the customer that the all-electric system lowers adhesive consumption by 75%, which in turn lowers the adhesive cost. The new systems paid for themselves in less than 4 months.

The great news is that Valco Melton’s EcoStitch system can be implemented onto an existing line, but moreover, the amount of investment you make today will be in direct correlation with the return you will see tomorrow. You can learn more about how this all-electric system can help your business today by speaking to one of Valco Melton’s specialists. You can contact an expert directly, here. Don’t forget to mention that you are interested in the CHOICE system you read about in this August blog post

Hard Savings:

  • Adhesive Consumption
  • Removal of Pneumatics
  • Reduction in cost of plant air usage
  • Less spare parts associated with an electric system
  • Less degradation to valves
  • Less moving seals

Soft Savings:

  • Downtime associated with pneumatics
  • Less stoppage to change out solenoids and seals
  • Nozzle Plugging
  • Larger nozzle orifice and lower operating pressures
  • Also helps with machine safety
  • Faster Production Speeds
  • Gives you the ability to stitch at higher production rates with clean, crisp patterns

System Applying Glue During Tray FormingHaving worked in supplying adhesive dispensing equipment to people all over the world since 1952, we have heard a few horror stories from customers using hot melt glue systems. Surprisingly, most of these stories stem from the same common mistakes. If they had known what we are about to tell you, these issues could have been easily avoided and downtime dramatically reduced.  To ensure you aren’t one of the legendary characters, today, we are giving you 5 easy tips to prevent the most common hot melt gluing mistakes:

  1. Stop “overfilling”. When the hot melt glue system runs out of adhesive, it can make the entire packaging line come to a screeching halt, resulting in expensive downtime. Although overfilling the melter to ensure the adhesive supply will last longer seems like it could be a brilliant idea, once the adhesive is actually melted, it can result in unwanted spillages. This can create serious safety hazards for yourself or other operators, as well as damage your packaging equipment.
  2. Get rid of risky maintenance practices. Regular maintenance processes should always include cleaning your hot melt glue systems. Rushing through this task can sometimes lead operators into manipulating the melter without getting rid of the high pressure first. Given the risk that the combination of hot adhesive and high pressure involves, eliminating the pressure from the system is a necessity to ensure a safe cleaning process.
  3. There is no universal configuration. Although it would be ideal, unfortunately, one configuration does not work for all applications. It is important to know the exact parameters, such as line speed, pattern type or applicator cycle speed that each application requires to avoid defective bonding or stringing caused by either an excess or a lack of hot melt adhesive.
  4. Always use the correct type of adhesive. It is important to be aware of the type of adhesive your application needs. Take into account the product that is being sealed and the hot melt glue system being used. Using the wrong type of hot melt for your products may create defective bonding or even damage the material. If the adhesive is not suitable for the hot melt glue system, common problems can include an unstable pumping rate due to incorrect viscosity, clogged nozzles due to debris formed by burnt adhesive, or a complete stop of the system if the melting requirements are higher than the system’s melting rate. If you are not sure, ask!  There is nothing more glorious than a perfectly glued product.

Start improving your production processes today by implementing these simple changes in your day-to-day operations. Watch exactly how our hot melt glue systems can help you avoid these and many other costly mistakes here or contact us today to learn what you can do next.

We are frequently asked about the convenience of switching from traditional stretch wrap for palletizing systems to the adhesive dispensing based alternative. Given that this is a reoccurring question and the advantages can be clearly defined, we have decided what better way to talk about the answers than on our blog.

1. First and foremost, savings are the most obvious benefit. Switching to adhesive based palletizing processes brings immediate savings by removing the large amounts of stretch wrap used to secure pallets in a traditional method. You are then automatically reducing material investment, material storage costs and material disposal costs.

Poor Quality of using Tape for Sealing Boxes

2. Additionally, adhesive-based systems with palletizers are completely automated, so there’s no need for the operator to handle heavy packages or to use blades to complete the stretch wrapping process.  This means a safer work environment is possible.

3. Adhesive based palletizing systems minimize transportation damages. Adhesives create a secure bond between stacks, to prevent movement during handling and transport. This method protects the outer box, the contents, and minimizes product damage for the largest benefit: preventing an unhappy customer and a returned product.

4. Avoid storage damages. When the product needs to be kept in stock, sometimes storage conditions are not the most adequate. If even the slightest bit of moisture makes contact with the product, the stretch film will prevent it from evaporating.  This keeps it in contact with the product, which will most likely affect the outer packaging and the product itself.

5. Aside from bringing important improvements to your production process, palletizer systems with adhesive are easy to install in an already existing line. Whether you are using hot melt application or a cold glue spray, palletizing systems can be mounted into any existing conveyor.

Was this of interest? Learn more about what palletizing systems can do for you by contacting us.

System Applying Glue During Tray Forming

I often hear colleagues discussing their take on various adhesive related topics.  Most recently, the conversation was about hot melt glue systems vs. tape systems in the packaging industry. I questioned whether one system was truly more beneficial than the other or if it was just the right choice for a few specific groups.  And if not, why not? In formulating an opinion, I thought whom better to ask than my colleagues who are specialized in both? From a cumulative response, a pattern was discovered. I noticed a set of 5 differences. I have listed them here with the hope that this might also benefit you when trying to decide which system is right for you.

1)    Consumption: If you have sustainability requirements, it’s important to consider how much glue is being used. A hot melt system applies less adhesive with the ability to provide a shorter glue line. Small amounts are used on the minor flaps as compared to a roll that uses more glue.

The tape roll is replaced once it reaches its end, but before the entire tape roll can be used.  Most companies that tape will replace the roll before it is finished during a changeover.  This can cause up to 10% of waste. No replacement is needed with hot melt. In addition to this, about three inches past the end on both sides is necessary to provide the strength needed.  Which leads me to our next point…

2)    Strength:  Strength is important in most situations. Broken bonds can result in product jams on the line. Once the shipment makes it out for delivery, a deeper strength is sometimes required for adverse weather or wear-and-tear caused by moving and re-use.  Hot melt not only burns into the microfibers of the box but also continues to burn several minutes past the compression section of the parent machine. Product tape does not gain additional strength after application.

A glued box is more secure after the glue has been applied and transformed from liquid to solid. The box will remain sealed until the product has reached the end user. If using tape, cutting the tape can easily open the box. To re-seal, the new tape must be applied.

How do you know what type of strength you need? Well, subsequent drop tests show that boxes sealed with hot-melt outperform those with tape.  The deeper bond is necessary if you believe you need additional security with the possibility of a dropped box.

3)    Price: I am confident that most of you are looking to find the best deal.  Unfortunately, one place that tape and hot-melt systems are alike is in their fluctuation of price off-set by the cost of raw materials. However, in order to produce tape, a large and expensive coating system is required to apply costly pressure sensitive adhesive to the product. This is an additional step in the process adding additional cost to the customer. Once adhesive is manufactured, it is shipped in a number of sizes, from 25-pound boxes to 250-pound totes; all of which have an effect on the price of adhesive.

Packaging companies that use corrugated boxes can use a less expensive adhesive (EVA) to lower cost. Hot melt equipment has the ability to control the amount of adhesive used through several different methods: pattern placementpattern length, and stitching the same length (up to a 50% reduction).

The actual adhesive for a hot-melt system costs somewhere between $2.50 and $3.50/lbs.  The tape is about $8-$10 per roll.

4)    Safety: When it comes to safety, as with most machinery equipment, both hot-melt and tape systems involve some risk.  Hot melt is usually installed inside a secure machine that you cannot operate while the doors are open. If touched improperly, there is a risk of burn. However, there are a number of systems available with safety features available to prevent this from happening.  One example is a locking lid feature. This inhibits the user from coming in contact with the unit during operation to prevent any potential burn. Another feature, as seen on Valco Melton’s new EC Series Melter, forces the unit to lose pressure if the doors are open. On the other hand, tape machines’ cutting blades can be dangerous. During operation and when changing out the roll, the cutting blade is exposed offering little protection to operators.

5)   Maintenance Cost: For both tape machines and hot melt equipment, the maintenance is about the same. Each has moving parts that may fail. Standard preventative maintenance is also necessary for both.  Knowing this, it’s important to compare the potential cost of maintenance care. Hot melt equipment has a larger upfront cost ranging from 5-10k for a new line with 5-7 year life. New, high-end tape machines can cost around the same. Others will cost less overall if you use the same machine for more than 10 years. Hot-melt parts are changed out more often than tape seal equipment. However, the cost of these parts can be recovered if you can focus on using less glue to provide a superior bond.

Did you find this information useful? We have prepared a comparative chart summarizing these and other key points to help you determine the optimal solution for your packaging line. You can request this by contacting us directly here.

This just in! Another exciting happening has just recently been released to the public by Valco Melton.  You are hearing it here first!

I am excited to officially announce that Valco Melton, a world leading designer and international marketer of adhesive application equipment and quality assurance (QA) systems is pleased to announce the acquisition of ClearVision Technologies, Inc. of Vancouver, Canada.

ClearVision Technologies, Inc. has become the market leader in the development and engineering of vision-based inspection products for corrugated box manufacturing. Since 2004, ClearVision Technologies has extensively pioneered intelligent camera technologies for packaging markets and has developed a top-tier suite of solutions that have been leading the industry in bringing QA capabilities to new heights. ClearVision will now become a brand name of quality assurance (QA) solutions by Valco Melton.

The acquisition will complement the Valco Melton family of products, combining ClearVision Technologies’ expertise in vision systems with Valco Melton’s world-wide coverage for service and support. This acquisition is another example of Valco Melton’s continued commitment towards being the world leader in adhesive dispensing and QA systems. To learn more about our organization and vision for the future, we invite you to please contact us by visiting here.


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