Hot Melt Glue: Background
Hot melt adhesives differ from most other types of glues and adhesives in that the hot melt glue sticks, pellets, or blocks are heated to a molten state for application, and then cool to form a solid bond between the materials being glued. Thermoplastic polymers, plastics which become liquid when heated and re-solidify when cooled, are used as a basis for hot melt glue for their strength and high viscosity.These materials are often not ideal adhesives, however, so other materials such as waxes, stabilizers, and tackifiers are added to fine-tune the adhesive for a specific application.
The packaging, automotive, footwear, and furniture industries use hot melt adhesives extensively. Hot melt glue is also used in a wide variety of manufacturing, commercial, home, craft, and hobby applications. One reason for the popularity of hot melt adhesives is their versatility. Hot melt glue comes in a variety of forms — sticks in many sizes, pellets, chips, beads, blocks, and pillows. The adhesive can be applied using hand or pneumatic operated glue guns, glue pots and skillets, foot-pedal controlled dispensers, wheel coaters, and other specialized equipment.
The short set time of a glue such as our Fast-Set Packaging Glue makes this formulation ideal for high volume manufacturing and packaging lines, while the longer open time of a formulation such as our Dura-Tac High Strength Glue allows assemblers and crafters to position parts more precisely, yet still have the benefit of a strong bond once set. Pressure sensitive, non pressure sensitive, permanent, and fugutive (removable) hot melt adhesives are available in an array of formulations to provide optimal adhesion to almost any surface. Hot melt glue can also be produced with coloring agents added for applications such as material color-matching in manufacturing, movie special effects, and home hobbies and crafts.
Developments in hot melt adhesive technology continue to produce new polymers and glue formulations that provide improved adhesion, physical properties, and additional options for melting, applying, and activating the adhesives. Our Glue Dabs and Specialty Glue Gun are examples of advances in hot melt glue materials and applications.
Advantages of Hot Melt Adhesives:
- Rapid setting/bonding action
- Reduced waste
- Easy dispensing, simple to automate, dispensing equipment not complex or expensive
- Wide formulation latitude to meet a variety of cost and performance needs
- Little or no solvent within the adhesive – associated environmental issues avoided
- Low cost high volume systems
- Superior seal quality (penetrates most board stock and secures all flaps)
- Tamper evident packaging (hot melt seal will cause package board fiber to tear when opened)
- Pilferage resistant (unlike tape, hot melt adhesive seals cannot be opened and resealed without the consumer’s knowledge.)
Disadvantages of Hot Melt Adhesives:
- Heat required to melt adhesive unsuitable for delicate applications
- Limited adhesion strength when compared with epoxy, acrylics, polyurethanes, etc.
- Can be susceptible to creep under load
- Potential to have poor wetting properties
- Some hot melt adhesives are susceptible to solvent attack
Hot Melt Glue Uses:
Automotive Door Panel Assembly Sound Deadener Installation Headliner Assembly Impact Block Bonding Carpet Attachment Seating Build & Assembly Woodworking & Furniture Cabinet Assembly Drawer Bottom Bonding Vanity Back Assembly Mirror Assembly Profile Wrapping Office Panel Assembly Packaging Case Closing Tray Forming Carton Sealing Bag Sealing Over Wrapping Pallet Load Stabilization Dunnage Assembly Construction Window Sealing Pallet Fabrication Pre-Fab Wall Construction
Appliances Trim Installation Insulation Bonding Gasketing Retail & Graphics Retail Display Assembly Sales Kit Foam Insert Bonding Bookbinding & Printing Case Binding Joint Making Side Glue Insert Bonding Carpet Attachment Seating Build & Assembly Electronics Potting & Encapsulating Wire Tacking Small Component Assembly Filters End Cap Bonding Pleat Separation Seam & Pleat Sealing
Foam Laminating Plastic Corrugations General Assembly Bag Sealing Converting Labels Business Forms And the List Goes On... Multi-Wall Bag Construction Flexible Ducting Flower Arrangement Bonding Home Repairs Basket Assembly Luggage Assembly Insulation Bonding