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Precise Control of Adhesive Flow Rate

27 Oct 2017

Düsseldorf, Germany

Note:This article originally appeared in the October2017 issue of neue Verpackung  
To read the original, click here.

Precise control of adhesive flow rate

As one of the first end-of-line packaging system manufacturers, Econo-Pak GmbH, Flonheim, showed the new adhesive flow rate control system ATS (Adhesive Tracking System) from Nordson on a horizontal cartoner on the occasion of this year’s Interpack. In conjunction with the ProBlue Liberty tankless hotmelt application system, it significantly improves the efficiency and safety of the gluing process still further. 

Introduced onto the market in autumn 2016 and also available since May of this year as an upgrade kit, for example for the proven ProBlue systems, ATS directly and precisely measures the amount of holtmelt or bead volume actually applied per product and confirms the adhesive add-on weight. Tolerance limits can be defined by the user so that an acoustic warning and/or light signal is triggered if the quantity is too low or too high and the packaging machine can be stopped. Faulty products can be discharged. 

In this manner, the flow rate control system optimises adhesive consumption while saving costs, reduces rejects and therefore increases production efficiency.  It also makes it possible to detect batch and age-related changes to the hotmelt viscosity and defects in individual units of the application system. ATS also allows for extensive real time data analysis and documentation via a USB interface, web browser, Ethernet IP or a fieldbus connection.

ProBlue Liberty ATS is a complete solution and the controller is mounted directly on the melter. However it does not necessarily have to be directly mounted on the melter. A separate installation approx. one metre above the melter was decided upon for the trade fair machine. This flexible installation option is particularly interesting for modernising existing gluing configurations.

Product-friendly horizontal cartoner

The horizontal cartoner, type HKS, presented in Düsseldorf by Econo-Pak demonstrated cans being picked up, filled and packed in folding boxes. Accordingly, it was combined with a robot loading system from a French producer. The side loader that incidentally was also designed to handle other pressure-sensitive packaged goods such as bags or trays achieved a performance of up to 250 folding boxes per minute. The standard format range varies between 40 x 20 x 100 mm and 320 x 120 x 400 mm (L x W x H). Special format boxes can also be processed on request.   

One of the special features of the cartoning machine is the internal blank magazine that can be adjusted for various formats. In this way, the total length of the machine can be reduced by approx. 2,500 mm. Furthermore, many units are fitted with servo drives, for example both tab shifters, the product insertion section, the rotative extraction system used for individual removal and straightening of the pre-glued folding boxes or the downstream cleated chain. The product cassette belt is also driven by a servomotor for perfect coordination of all machine areas. 

The medium-sized, family-owned end-of-line specialist has worked closely together for many years with the American adhesive specialist Nordson, which has its European headquarters in Erkrath, Germany. So it is hardly surprising that together with ATS, the latest melter series was presented at Interpack which celebrated its premier at the previous event and since then has been successfully established on the market. These are tankless hotmelt application systems from the ProBlue Liberty series which cover sizes 7 and 14.

Tankless enclosed system

 The first version was used on the Econo-Pak machine. As indicated by its type designation, the device has a melting capacity of seven kilogrammes per hour. Its most significant technical feature is that it does away with the conventional tank system. Instead, the melting unit's smaller reservoir 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. 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. Here up to four tank systems can be filled from one storage container. 

The enclosed nature of the ProBlue Liberty system is another important advantage. Interference from dirt, dust and other deposits is 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. As hotmelt is no longer supplied manually, the risk of burn injuries is completely eliminated and overfilling or spilling of the adhesive is excluded.