Hotmelt

The Facts on… Hotmelt Glues

Hotmelt glue is a thermoplastic combination of polymers, resins and waxes that cures faster and releases less volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than liquid, solvent-based adhesive. By changing these basic ingredients and their relative proportions, characteristics such as melt heat, open time and bond strength can be adjusted to suit the bonding function and method of application.

Hotmelt gluing machinery applies the molten glue as a spray, with a heated roller or via nozzles, but within the light manufacturing and manual packaging sectors it is most commonly dispensed through a hand held applicator, often called a glue gun. A trigger action feeds cylindrical sticks of glue into the applicator’s melting chamber and ejects the molten glue from a nozzle in a controlled stream.

More advanced applicators include features that allow the operator to electronically adjust the melt temperature and regulate the amount of glue dispensed with each pull of the trigger. Interchangeable nozzles create different glue line diameters, extend the nozzle to reach recessed areas or apply a band of glue lines across a wider area.

An integral or removable gun stand makes it easier for the operator to pick up and place the gun when working sporadically and avoid damage or injury from the hot glue and nozzle. As the applicator relies on manual pressure to force the glue through, features such as an ergonomically profiled body, extended length trigger and soft grip inserts reduce the discomfort of strain and chafing during extended use.

While the possibilities for individual glue formulations are endless, the four formulations created for Stickfast™ hotmelts are sufficient to cover the requirements of most packaging and light manufacturing industries.

LTS is a low temperature adhesive specially developed for applying to heat sensitive materials such as expanded polystyrene, fabrics, paper and card. Its lower melt temperature also means that it cures faster.

MPS is a multipurpose adhesive with a long set time that gives opportunity to adjust the bond positioning before setting.

FSS is a fast-setting adhesive suited to sealing carton flaps and general packaging duties.

HSS is a more specialised high strength glue, bonding well to difficult surfaces with a high molten tack level and popular amongst carpet fitters and retail display contractors.

The higher-capacity 18mm glue sticks used by the Stickfast™ GX600 heavy duty applicator, and 43mm diameter slugs are for ultra-high capacity applicators, not included in the Stickfast applicator range.

Hotmelt applicators in the Stickfast range are:

  • GX80 light duty 12mm
  • GX80LT light duty low-melt 12mm
  • GX120 light duty 12mm with on/off switch and higher output
  • GX300 medium duty 12mm
  • GX600 heavy duty 18mm
  • SL120 slimline light duty 12mm
  • SL300 slimline medium duty 12mm

All stickfast applicators can be fitted with the following interchangeable nozzles:

For protracted use of heavier applicators an HGS12 tool balance can take much of the strain from the operator’s arm and wrist.

Stickfast™ is a long-established brand of hotmelt glues and applicators in the packaging sector and its entire product range is supplied by Southgate® through their extensive network of approved distributors throughout the UK and across Europe.

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