Baumer hhs has expanded its product range for glue application and quality assurance with the Xfeed, a centralized adhesive supply system for hot melt units that offers a number of unique features.

The automated, closed-loop system supplies adhesive granules on-demand to up to 20 hot melt units from a central storage location, bridging incomparably long distances of up to 200 metres even at high feed rates. In addition to the Xmelt family of hot melt units from Baumer hhs, the Xfeed is also compatible with systems from all other manufacturers. In other words, with Xfeed, customers can centrally supply even heterogeneous system configurations with adhesive.

“Our customers want just one representative for their entire gluing process if at all possible. They want to be able to get all the system components and services they need from a single source. In response, we introduced the Xfeed to round out our range of hot melt application products for end-of-line packaging. The solutions from Baumer hhs offer all kinds of possibilities for optimising gluing processes end-to-end, that means from storage, feed, distribution and filling, to melting, conveying and application, all the way to quality control and monitoring,” explains Martin Kotecki, packaging industry specialist at Baumer hhs.

Compared to manually handling the adhesive granules, the Xfeed offers a number of significant advantages as a closed-loop system. For example, it considerably increases ease-of-operation and occupational safety for machine operators. They no longer have to handle or transport bags of adhesive granules, or stock them for their machines. Both the physical strain and time spent transporting supplies are eliminated. Xfeed prevents work injuries, such as the burns that can still occur when manually filling hot melt units with adhesive despite all the safety precautions. What is more, no vapours are released into the immediate environment because machine operators no longer have to open the hot melt units.

Additional advantages of the closed-loop Xfeed system include a clean work area and optimum adhesive quality at all times. No granules are spilled at the packaging lines any more, and the adhesive can no longer be contaminated on the way from material storage to the hot melt systems, making clogged filters and application head nozzles a thing of the past. Xfeed turns connected hot melt units into melt-on-demand systems. They no longer need to buffer significant quantities of melted adhesive, which prevents charring and guarantees a consistent viscosity. In short, Xfeed enhances the stability of the gluing process. At the Xfeed Centre, the operator can select the quantity of adhesive to be conveyed to each hot melt unit as required for a specific application.

In light of these advantages, major food product manufacturers today have made the automated supply of adhesive granules to their hot melt units a standard requirement. “As a rule, conveying adhesive granules with Xfeed is also the more cost-efficient solution for upwards of five hot melt units,” adds Kotecki. Depending on the number of hot melt units and the local plant set-up, Xfeed can reduce the cost of manual granule supply by up to 90%. The system is of modular design. For Baumer hhs customers that translates into flexibility: They can introduce automated granule supply even for just a few hot melt units and later expand to up to 20 units per Xfeed system.

The Xfeed offers easy, intuitive operation via touchscreen display. In line with Industry 4.0 standards, the adhesive supply system logs statistical data to help optimise adhesive consumption. For example, it shows the quantity of glue conveyed to each connected unit. Based on this information, Baumer hhs has succeeded in reducing adhesive costs for many customers by modifying the glue patterns. With their long service life of up to 1 billion cycles, the various hot melt application heads from Baumer hhs offer the option of minimising adhesive consumption by using dot application, without compromising the functionality of glued joints.

The company’s innovative dot board, for instance, converts input signals for the tesla electric hot melt heads into high-frequency signals, so that the heads apply multiple glue dots instead of lines. This method can cut adhesive consumption by up to 50% without affecting the durability or reliability of the glued joints. What’s more, the high-performance sensors integrated in the Baumer hhs quality assurance systems reliably monitor application of even the smallest glue dots at maximum machine speeds. The tesla product family encompasses three different, high-output, electric hot melt heads: tesla go, tesla evo and tesla pro. In contrast, the electropneumatic aerto heads are designed for adhesives with relatively high viscosities and for special applications that depend on applying the hot melt with virtually no tailing at all.

Apart from optimising adhesive consumption while ensuring maximum application quality, the solutions from Baumer hhs also display low energy consumption. “Our hot melt systems have a reputation in the market for their high energy efficiency, which is both an economic and ecological advantage,” points out Kotecki.