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How to Clean your Hot Melt Equipment

James Whitehot melt

You might not be familiar with the name, but if you know basic crafting tools then you know what a hot melt machine is: an industrial version of your favorite handheld hot-glue gun.

Hot melt adhesives are fantastic for low and moderate temperature applications because they bond to just about anything, dry or cure quickly, and are extremely versatile.

The hot melt machine is fantastic for filling large gaps in a project, and can be easily stored for long periods of time without the need for any special environmental considerations. For many projects, hot melt is the perfect adhesive solution.

Reasons to Clean

Unlike your household hot glue gun, a hot melt machine must be regularly cleaned and maintained to stay in top working condition. Why is cleaning your hot melt equipment so important?

1. Safety

There’s nothing worse than having your hot melt equipment break down when you’re in the middle of using it. Not only does it negatively affect your productivity, it can lead to dangerous repair attempts while the machine is still filled with hot melted adhesive. Normal cleaning and preventative maintenance can help to prevent unscheduled shutdowns and emergency repair calls.

2. Longevity

Normal wear and tear will eventually wear your hot melt equipment to the point at which it no longer efficiently creates adhesive bonds. By performing cleaning and preventative maintenance, you can help to increase the machine’s lifespan exponentially. This maintenance also helps to reduce the occurrence of normal equipment failures, such as clogs and char.

3. Reduced Char

In hot-melt systems, char in the adhesive pots is often caused by external contaminants like dust or wood shavings, depending on where the machine is being used. Cleaning your hot melt machine can prevent this char from clogging your adhesive lines. If left unchecked, char can cause hoses and nozzles to fail permanently, resulting in costly replacements.

4. An Improved Bottom Line

For many businesses, monetary saving is the most important reason to clean these versatile hot-melt machines. Clogged lines or dirty machines cost money to repair or replace — money that a startup company may not have to spare. The cost of a cleaning solvent or kit is minimal when compared to the cost of replacing an entire hot melt unit.

How should you go about cleaning your hot melt equipment to make sure it lasts as long as possible? Keep in mind that these are basic guidelines, and you should always follow your individual unit’s cleaning instructions to ensure that the equipment isn’t damaged.

How to Clean

Start by shutting the machine off and removing as much adhesive as possible. Most cleaning solvents will break up the remaining adhesive in the machine, but you don’t want to stick your hands into a tank that’s still full of hot melted glue if you can avoid it.

Next, add your cleaner and turn the pressure pump back on. This will flush the cleaner through the system and remove any remaining adhesive that you may not have been able to reach.

Finally, drain the cleaner out of your hot melt system, add new adhesive and — as soon as that has reached the right temperature — you can get back to work!

Clean your equipment periodically (depending on how often you use it) and it will last as long as you have projects that require the use of hot-melt adhesive.