Adhesive Dispensing Systems

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Perfect Adhesive Management

14 May 2018

Düsseldorf, Germany

Note:This article originally appeared in the April 2018 issue of DMW magazine  
To read the original, click here.



As a leading domestic and international provider of end-of-line packaging solutions, A + F Automation + Fördertechnik GmbH presented the SetLine sleeving system for the first time at this year's Anuga FoodTec. Among the special technical feature for the cartoning machine, which is designed for the small to medium-size output range, is direct integration of the hotmelt application system into the HMI of the machine. As an additional option, the adhesive system, which comes from Nordson, the company's partner for many years, can also be regulated or controlled remotely, for example with a tablet PC.

Parent Machine Integration (PMI) is implemented by a Profibus interface. The US American adhesive specialist with European headquarters in Erkrath, Germany recently began offering starter kits for all commonly used control units, which significantly reduce the time required for programming. The software, which is available for downloading free of charge on the Nordson website, makes it possible to create an individual and intuitive control panel. 

The control functions are further extended so that all relevant data of the melter can be adjusted, evaluated and documented. It is especially important for the machine operator that an overview of the important parameters is available at a glance

In the special case of the measuring machine, the program sequence of the line is controlled by a Simatic HMI Comfort Panel from Siemens. Of course A + F alternately offers the installation of corresponding Rockwell or Schneider components.

Forming multi-packs

The SetLine is a compactly constructed machine for forming multi-packs and placing them in trays or crates. The modularly structured system can easily be integrated into a complete line. Since the dairy industry is an important customer group of the end-of-line packaging specialist with headquarters in Kirchlengern, Germany, processing of cups represents an ideal application for the system. In this application it achieves an output of up to 22,000 units per hour. In general, however, up to 50,000 cups per hour can be placed in sleeves, while bottles or glasses can also be handled.

The carton sleeves are removed from a multiple blank magazine by a combination module and placed in a carrier conveyor. A robot gripper system simultaneously moves the cups from the feed conveyor and positions them on the previously unfolded sleeves.

The system features a high level of flexibility in terms of formats and product groups. A variant with four-packs was demonstrated in Cologne under conditions simulating practical use. After the cups are top-loaded, the sleeves are glued from above. 

In the configuration that was demonstrated, this task is performed by two Nordson MiniBlue II series pneumatic hotmelt dispensing guns, each of which applies three relatively short hotmelt beads. Applicators that are up to the industrial standard work with a minimum switching time of 2 ms and are characterised by a long service life of more than 100 million cycles.

Tankless hotmelt application system 

They were supplied with hotmelt adhesive by a ProBlue Liberty system size 14. The melter of this system has an output of 14 kilograms per hour. The most significant feature of the innovative application system is the absence of a conventional tank. Instead, a device reservoir with reduced volume essentially functions like an instantaneous water heater, keeping only the amount of glue actually required at the processing temperature.

Melting only what is actually required allows for significantly shorter heating up and flow-through times, thereby providing significant savings in energy costs. The granulate is supplied automatically from a 120 or 240-litre storage tank. The system is thus completely enclosed, which eliminates contamination and also increase work health and safety, since there is no manual refilling of hotmelt with the associated risk of burns.

State-of-the-art configuration

After the sleeves are glued they are folded and closed by a second combination module. This is followed by final packaging of the multi-packs in crates or trays. A conveyor belt can also be used for moving them away.

The SetLine system considered as a whole reveals a well engineered and flexible operating principle offering user-friendly efficiency enhanced by the integration of the adhesive application system into the main control unit. And not least, the available option for regulation and control from outside of the system is also in line with the latest state-of-the-art as exemplified by "Industry 4.0".