Adhesive Dispensing Systems

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Tankless across the entire line

24 Oct 2017

Düsseldorf, Germany

Note:This article originally appeared in the October2017 issue of Pack & Log . 
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Imball s.r.l. / Mespic s.r.l shows new system at the Interpack 2017 in Düsseldorf with Nordson ProBlue Liberty. The application system is installed overhead at the end of line. 

One of many OEMs to recently opt for the energy and material-saving ProBlue Liberty tankless hotmelt application system from Nordson is the Italian manufacturer of packaging machines Imball and its subsidiary Mespic. At this year’s Interpack, the company presented a complete picker line with integrated carton erector, top loader and sealer that relies on both the size-7 model of the series and the larger sister model ProBlue Liberty 14.  

While Imball s.r.l., which was founded in 1975 and is located in Sasso Marconi near Bologna, specialises in stand-alone machines for cardboard processing and folding, Mespic s.r.l., which is based in Faenza in the province of Ravenna, has been focusing on robotics solutions since 2008. Thanks to their close cooperation, the companies can offer complete product lines for primary, secondary and EOL packaging to a wide range of customers within the food and beverage industry, but also, for example, to the tobacco and hardware sectors.   

The Mespic Spider Cell system in Düsseldorf, which was designed specifically for the pharmaceutical and confectionery industries, is an impressive example of this perfect symbiosis. It also underscores the versatility of its configurability. The machine presented at the trade fair can handle 16 different carton formats. Switching between formats takes place fully automatically. Thanks to its modular design, customers can put together the components individually according to their needs.   

In this particular case, the line comprised five D4-500 pickers. The robot arms move within a radius of 500 mm at a maximum height of 155 mm and each have a maximum load carrying capacity of two kilogrammes. Up to 200 pick & place operations can be performed per minute. 

Different gluing requirements

Five rows of cardboard are simultaneously fed into the machine where they are then converted into smaller boxes suitable for commercial use. The ProBlue Liberty 7 hotmelt application system and three single-module applicators of the Mini Blue II series with ball-and-seat modules are used for the gluing process. As indicated by its type designation, the device has a melting capacity of seven kilogrammes per hour. The pneumatic dispensing guns, often referred to as "non-stop sprinters", work with a minimum switching time of 2 milliseconds and achieve a service life of more than 100 million cycles.   

At the end of the line, the commercial boxes are lowered into previously erected transport boxes. The cartoning machine has a capacity of up to five units per minute. For the gluing process, the sealer uses the ProBlue Liberty 14 model, which offers double the melting capacity compared to the smaller version. In addition, it allows for six hoses and dispensing guns to be connected instead of only four as with the size-7 version. 

The carton sealer of the Mespic line uses four applicators, two dual-module Mini Blue II units and two single-module SureBead units. The latter are equipped with a patented, self-cleaning needle seat module as a special feature. They almost completely prevent the nozzles from clogging. 

Melting only the amount of adhesive needed

Interestingly, the Italian engineering company installed the ProBlue Liberty 14 overhead at the transition to the EOL packaging section. This flexible installation option is made possible by the system's compact design measuring only 607 x 572 x 391 mm (W x H x D), which is an indication of its exceptional innovative functionality.  

The most significant technical aspect of the ProBlue Liberty series presented at the 2014 Interpack for the very first time by the US-based gluing expert with its European headquarters in Erkrath is the fact that it does not feature a conventional tank system. Instead, the melting unit's smaller reservoir essentially functions like an instantaneous water heater, keeping only the amount of adhesive 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. According to Nordson, intervals have been reduced from 90 to 30 minutes.

A secure enclosed system 

An integrated sensor monitors the fill level and reports when adhesive is required. The granules are fed automatically from a large storage container, which is available in a 120 and 240-litre version. The enclosed nature of the system is another important advantage. Interferences from dirt, dust and other deposits are eliminated. In conjunction with a high-quality glue, problems arising from cracking and clogged nozzles are largely eliminated. All standard commercial hotmelts in granulate form can be used. 

Also worth noting is the increased workplace safety ensured by the innovative application system. Because Hot Melt is no longer supplied manually, the risk of burn injuries – unavoidable with conventional tank devices – is completely eliminated. Overfilling and spilling of the adhesive are also eliminated.