Complete guide to hot melt stitching and dotting

There's an industry secret out there that the big dawg hot melt manufacturing giants don't want you to know. But, I'm sure you don't care that you're buying 50% more adhesive than you need; so you can quit reading this article and go about your day. After all, ignorance is bliss. 

Mountain View Packaging made the switch and saved 50%, you can too! If you're a rebel, and you want in on the growing buzz in the adhesive underground, hold onto your hot melt and read below. 

Most automated packaging and assembly operations use lines of hot melt adhesive. This has been the process for ages, and that keeps the industry giants happy. Lines of hot melt generate huge profits for these corporate organizations. But there is a growing group of plant managers and pricing buyers who have found a way to cut their adhesive costs in half. They are joining the rebel resistance and looking into a method of dispensing referred to as hot melt stitching or hot melt dotting

Here is a quick guide to the industry disrupting hot melt dotting phenomenon. Read it quick, and only speak of it in whispers; the corporate empire is listening.

We're going to let you in on a little known hot melt industry secret when it comes to automated packaging and assembly with hot melt adhesives. You're probably using way too much glue. Up to 70% too much glue. In this article, we're going to take some time to dig into a method of dispensing often referred to as hot melt stitching or hot melt dotting. For the purposes of this article, we're going to be using stitching and dotting interchangeably. If you've got extra time, there are differences between the two which you can read about here .

The Basics of Hot Melt Stitching and Dotting

Hot melt dotting, or hot melt stitching, is a pretty simple concept. Instead of laying down a long continuous (and boring) line of hot melt in automated dispensing applications, an innovative specialty gun system is used to dispense a series of hot melt dots or lines. 

The beauty is actually in the space between the dots; now there is half as much adhesive used to adhere the same area... because of the space between the dots!

Now you see the issue Big Brother has with hot melt dotting. You already pay for a line of adhesive. Why would they want to help you cut your adhesive costs in half?

Get a Quick Quote

Heard enough and want to find out how to use 50% less adhesive? Click here to get pricing on an upgrade package.

Here's a quick video to show you the process of hot melt dotting hands on. 

Less Adhesive Must Mean A Weaker Bond, Right?

We know what you're thinking, I'm using half as much adhesive so my bond is going to be half as strong, right? And this is certainly what the hot melt adhesive giants want you to think. 

But this is wrong. Dispensing hot melt, or water based adhesives, in packaging and assembly applications creates a bond that is just as strong, and in some cases, stronger than laying down one continuous expensive line of hot melt adhesive. 

A continuous line of adhesive is interconnected. Effectively, you have one application of adhesive. If the adhesive begins to fail at one end of the line, it can weaken or cause failure to the entire, connected line, of hot melt. 

Hot melt dotting creates a series of individual bonds. Again, each "space" between the dots is key. This space between the hot melt dots creates multiple individual adhesive bonds that much each be broken. 

The Savings Is In the Space Between

We have not stressed space enough. I mean, space, it is the final frontier. Space is everywhere, but it has never helped save you money on your hot melt operation 

Here's a quick visual of the savings created by hot melt stitching and dotting. Think of each dollar sign ($) as a gram of adhesive in a dispensing application. The savings created by upgrading to a hot melt or water based dot pattern can often pay for itself in a matter of months.

We at offer a free dot pattern upgrade to qualifying applications. Basically, we can often upgrade your existing dispensing system with the innovative electronic dotting guns at no cost to you. See if you qualify here

Traditional Hot Melt Line Pattern

Hot melt line pattern for end of line packaging applications

Hot Melt Stitch Pattern

Hot melt stitch pattern

Hot Melt Dot Pattern

Hot melt dotting pattern

Look at the difference in dollar signs from the traditional hot melt continuous line compared to the industry disruptive hot melt dotting pattern! All those spaces. All those dollar signs not being paid to finance an Adhesive CEO's corporate jet but instead being reinvested into your plant's operation. 

Types of Hot Melts That Can Be Used with Hot Melt Stitching and Dotting

Hot melt stitching and dotting works with a wide range of hot melt (and water based) adhesives. Stitching and dotting system are typically thought to be used exclusively on packaging lines with EVA and Metallocene hot melts but there are many other applications and adhesives that apply.

Hot melt dotting can also be used with adhesives like fugitives, pressure sensitives (PSA's), APAO's and more. The engineers at can configure a dotting system to work with almost any hot melt chemistry, viscosity and open time. 

What Type of Applications Use Hot Melt Stitching and Dotting?

End of Line Packaging

End of line packaging applications that are not using hot melt stitching or dotting are losing money. These applications are perfect for a dotting system and the savings can be significant - it is not uncommon to see 50% savings of annual adhesive use. 

End of line packaging applications that can utilize hot melt dotting include: 

  • Case and Carton Closing
  • Freezer Packaging
  • Food Packaging
  • Beverage Packaging

Product Assembly

Any product assembly or specialty packaging application using automated hot melt equipment can be a great fit for hot melt dotting. As we mentioned before, dotting systems can be applied to applications using many different types of hot melt like fugitives, PSA's and APAO hot melt adhesives.

Anything Automated

If you are running an automated line of hot melt or water based adhesive, one of the experts at can quickly assess your application. Shoot us a quick note to find out if this type of system could work for you. 

Why Hot Melt Dotting Isn't the Industry Standard

Great question, glad you asked. Hot melt dotting isn't a new concept by any means. There are a few reasons by hot melt dotting hasn't been implemented across the board when using hot melt adhesives.

The More You Save, the Less We Make

The biggest reason hot melt dotting isn't more well known is because most adhesive suppliers don't want you using less glue. Crazy, right?

Lucky for you, is not like most adhesive suppliers. We are looking for the best, most cost effective solution for every one of our customers. We'll always let you know if we think hot melt dotting might be a good fit and give you the most seamless path to test and or implement it into your existing application.

Not All Applications Are A Good Fit

Not all applications are a fit for hot melt dotting. The sweet spot for hot melt stitching and dotting is end of line packaging and other automated applications.

There are options for savings in hand held or non-automated hot melt dispensing applications but dotting probably isn't one of them.

Not All Hot Melt Dotting Systems Are Created Equal

There are a number of hot melt equipment manufacturers out there claiming they can implement hot melt stitching systems. The fact of the matter is, a lot of these systems are not very good and can cause more problems than they are worth. uses the best equipment and has experts that can install it with very minimal downtime.

Check out a comparison of the competitions hot melt stitching systems versus the dotting method. It's pretty easy to see that not all stitching and dotting systems are created equal.

The Cost of Upgrading to Hot Melt Stitching or Dotting

A common misconception is that to implement hot melt dotting requires all new equipment, requires long down times and they are difficult to maintain. All of these are simply untrue. 

A hot melt dotting upgrade can be applied to almost any existing automated hot melt dispensing system. The upgrade requires very little new hardware and the whole process takes 3 hours or less per line. can upgrade most systems with hot melt dotting for $5,000-7,500. The immediate results are a 30-70% savings in adhesive costs. 

  • No new hot melt tanks required
  • No new hot melt hoses required
  • 3 Hour changeover per line
  • Free upgrade available to qualifying applications

Can We Use the Same Hot Melt Adhesive with a Dotting or Stitching System?

The answer is, probably. However, we highly recommend a dot-optimized hot melt adhesive. The Infinity Bond line of dot-optimized adhesives can seamlessly replace almost any adhesive being used in an automated hot melt line.

They have been rigorously tested for dot and stitch optimization and are being used in hundreds of manufacturing, packaging and product assembly applications across North America. 

How to Upgrade to Hot Melt Stitching or Dotting offers a seamless, cost effective and sometimes even free way to upgrade your existing equipment to a hot melt dotting system. We offer a flat upgrade price per hot melt line to make the changeover simple and transparent. 

We also understand that down time = lost revenue. That is why we guarantee we can change your hot melt line over to a dot pattern in 3 hours or less. 

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