When you hear the words “glue gun,” what comes to mind — arts and crafts projects? Did you know that there’s an industrial version of the glue gun that can take on more extreme tasks? To learn more about industrial glue guns and how they increase efficiency in product packaging, we spoke with Rick Warner, Industrial Sales Manager, and Terry Spradlin, Social Media and Content Manager, at Surebonder.

Surebonder, established over 50 years ago, is a U.S. manufacturer of industrial glue guns and hot melt glue sticks. Eugene Kamins started the company in his home garage. At that time, he served primarily crafters by supplying eyelets and rivets. But as the company grew, they began offering glue guns and formulas for a variety of applications, including carton and case sealing in food packaging.

The advantages of hot melt adhesives

Currently, food grade tape is the most common sealing method used in food packaging processes. But there’s a faster, cleaner, and more efficient method — hot melt adhesive.

Better branding opportunities

From a branding and marketing standpoint, tape leaves much to be desired. Since it’s visible, it often interrupts or obscures the package design.

One of the main benefits of hot melt sealing is that you can’t see it. “When you close a carton with hot melt, you don't see the adhesive, the fastener, or whatever is closing the box,” Warner explains. “When customers look at that carton, all they see is the branding.”

Fast open times

Hot melt formulas can provide very fast open times. “By open time,” Warner explains, “I mean the amount of time it takes for the glue to cool, and for them to actually use the box.” This is also known as “set time.”

Surebonder’s fastest glue formulas have an open time of about five seconds, depending on how much glue is applied. For larger boxes, which require a longer application time, the open time ranges from 30 seconds to one minute.

Different temperatures for different surfaces

Hot melt adhesives are highly versatile. They work well on corrugated cardboard, paper boards, and some types of coated surfaces.

Warner notes that low- or adjustable-temperature glue guns are best for porous or delicate materials like foam and fabrics, so you don't compromise the substrate with the heat. For example, if a package requires a foam lining on the inside to protect the contents, a low-temperature glue gun would be the best choice to secure it. “Packagers often use hot melt to glue that foam to the side of the box before they put the product in.”

Glue guns designed for high-speed lines

When you’re working on a high-speed, automated food packaging line, you need a sealing solution that doesn’t slow you down. Industrial glue guns are built for high-volume, heavy duty jobs. They have a high glue output, so it takes just one pass down the box to create a seal. And with models packing up to 500 watts, they have more than enough power to take on even the largest packaging jobs.

In a food plant, processors often use glue guns for reworking purposes. “Let's say the machine goes down, or it misses certain boxes,” Warner says. “Typically, the operators will have a glue gun to take care of those boxes that, for whatever reason, did not get closed on the line.”

Surebonder’s glue guns have some additional characteristics that make them ideal for food packaging:

  • Cordless: Cordless glue guns come in handy during product transportation. Drivers equipped with a fully charged glue gun can seal up any packages that come open on the way to their destinations. “The product won’t be damaged,” Warner says, “which saves time and money and helps drivers be more efficient.” Surebonder’s cordless models include the HYBRID-120 and PRO2-60.
  • Ergonomic: To prevent operator fatigue, Surebonder’s glue guns have an ergonomic design that allows powerful, precise glue dispensing with minimal effort. This makes it easy to seal numerous boxes quickly.

This will be Surebonder’s first time at PROCESS EXPO. They selected the show for its emphasis on packaging, as well as the opportunity to get their products and solutions in front of the right crowd. “We’re excited to help people understand that these products can scale up their business and increase efficiency,” Spradlin says. “We're all about educating the market and showcasing what we're able to do for them.”

If you’d like to see Surebonder’s products in action, visit them at Booth #4064 at PROCESS EXPO.