You may be familiar with hot glue guns from your high school home-economics class. You may remember weird, cylindrical, solid-but-flexible, sticks of translucent glue that you placed into a small hot glue gun. The gun would heat the glue, and you could use the hot glue to adhere pieces of fabric together (or to make other craft projects).
Hot glue also has the name of hot melt adhesives, which is the term typically used in industrial settings (or just “hot melt” for short). Indeed, what you may not know is that hot glue has many more uses than craft projects. Many industries use hot melt as part of the manufacturing and assembly process.
In industrial settings, you are doing a lot more than sticking fabric together. Industrial hot glue is used for many different and sometimes precision jobs for various industries. For these bigger jobs, companies require industrial glue guns and products. These are not your little, home-economics-style, glue guns. These are bigger, with more power and more capability.
Let’s learn more about the industries that use hot melt, how it is used and which types of hot melt are best for each job.
First, Some Hot Melt Basics
Hot melt or hot glue is designed to be melted with a glue gun. This glue is sometimes called thermoplastic adhesive. Hot glue guns use continuous heating elements to melt the adhesive.
In industrial settings, industrial hot glue and industrial hot glue guns give many advantages over solvent-based adhesives or other fasteners. Industrial hot glue can dry strong and quickly, reducing the time delay before the product is ready. Hot melt also cures quickly. Industrial hot melt has a long shelf-life, and after use, it can be disposed of without any special precautions.
Hot melt also has the advantage of not losing any thickness when drying. This makes it especially helpful in some commercial projects (such as woodworking). There are many types of industrial hot melt and industrial hot melt guns to match different needs in various industries. There are even hot melt adhesives that can be applied by dipping or spraying.
Key Hot Melt Terms
Industrial hot melt has properties that should be considered for the specific job you intend it for. One of these is the bond formation temperature, which is the minimum temperature at which the adhesive can create bonds. In industrial settings, it is also important to consider the potential life stability, because the hot melt is often molten for longer time periods when working in industry.
The term tack refers to the stickiness of the hot melt. When you are working with industrial hot glue, you have a certain amount of time during which the hot melt is tacky before it sets. The open time tells you how long you can work to set a bond. The set time tells you how long it takes for the bond to form to an acceptable strength.
How Industrial Glue Guns Are Used
Hot melt industrial glue can be used in all types of product assembly, such as small joint assembly, large surface lamination, mounting and trip attachment. Product assembly that involves hot melt application can include appliances, mattresses, HVAC and many others. For a multi-purpose hot melt that can be used in many different applications, consider TEC Bond 23 Multi-Purpose Hot Melt Glue Sticks. These can be used with a multi-use industrial glue gun, such as the TEC 830 Medium Duty Hot Melt Glue Gun.
Furniture and Woodworking
Hot melt industrial hot glue and industrial glue guns can be used in furniture assembly to adhere small joints, mounting and trim. Large surface lamination on furniture and cabinetry is another application. In furniture assembly and woodworking, the nearly instant bonding strength of hot melt speeds up production. Industrial hot glue also bonds well with the materials typically used in furniture assembly, such as wood, particle board, MDF, laminate, foam and fabrics.
One particularly good option for woodworking projects is Infinity WoodTAC Woodworking Hot Melt Glue Sticks. These hot melt glue sticks are specially formulated for the woodworking industry. They offer a medium open time, so you can make adjustments in positioning your pieces. They also bond well with different surfaces, including vinyl, fabric, plastic, metals and sheet rock. WoodTAC requires a standard temperature industrial glue gun.
Building and Construction
Hot melt or industrial hot glue has many uses in the building and construction industry. Hot melt can be used for all types of flooring and carpets. Using hot melt in this application improves the quality and aesthetics of new flooring (compared to nails and staples).
Floor and wall tiles can be installed with hot melt. Specific adhesives are available for various tiling materials, such as stone and glass. Because hot melt can cure quickly, it is especially helpful when installing tile on vertical surfaces.
Hot melt can also be used to build strong, secure doors quickly. Using industrial hot glue in this application can help the door to prevent fire and smoke from spreading throughout a building. Industrial hot glue can be used for garage doors. Hot melt adhesive can make the garage door more resilient to extreme hot and cold temperatures.
Hot melt plays a role in the bonding and sealing process to ensure windows are properly installed. Even the small windows on garage doors can be installed with hot melt.
When working in construction, you will want high-performance industrial glue sticks, such as the Infinity SuperTAC 11 Super High-Performance Hot Melt. This option can bond with many different surfaces, including some that traditional glue sticks cannot. It is industrial strength, with high heat resistance. To use it, you will need a high-temperature industrial glue gun.
Packaging and Carton Sealing
During the 1960s, hot melt became a popular option in the packaging industry. It is typically used for closing cartons, as well as sealing and pallet stabilization. Industrial hot glue offers the benefit of greater adhesion on packages.
The shorter set time and water resistance also allow for more efficient packaging processes. This is especially true when using hot melt systems that allow for continuous running rather than needing to stop and reset machines.
Hot melt adhesives can be used on a range of packaging products from small cartons to large wrap-around cases. Starting in the 1980s, companies began using PUR hot melts because of their strong adhesion.
Today, many companies also use products such as Gummy Glue Peelable Adhesive. This product allows for long-term and strong bonding, but it has an infinite open time. This makes it perfect for affixing items the customer will later separate from the packaging, such as samples, coupons or credit cards.
Deep Freeze Packaging
Frozen foods have quite the arduous journey from factory to table. The packaging takes a beating, starting with the filling process, during transport to the store, when on display, on the way to the customer’s home and when crammed into a freezer.
Along the way, packages get tossed around, dropped on the floor, thrown in a shopping cart, shoved in a plastic sack and so on. In all that process, the packaging must hold up.
A failure in the packaging could result in damaged or spoiled products. There is nothing more disappointing for a consumer than to discover their box of frozen pizza pockets has not successfully made the journey. A packaging failure would make for a disappointing dinner experience and potentially a negative impression of your product.
As a food packager, the industrial hot glue and industrial glue guns you use must match the needs of deep freeze packaging. The glue must be capable of withstanding cold temperatures. The glue must also adhere well to the glossy frozen food boxes.
In your industry, time is money. You want a glue with a short setting time that locks quickly, with the strength needed for the product. Consider products such as the Infinity FreezerPack Freezer Grade Hot Melt Sticks. An adjustable temperature industrial glue gun is recommended, so you can see what is optimal for your packaging needs.
Your end-of-line packaging includes assembling and sealing primary and secondary options, such as folding boxes, trays, wraparounds and other types of special shelf-ready packaging. You need fast-setting industrial glue options that are also strong for reliable closure, even in high line speeds or when pressure is placed on the packaging.
Hot melt industrial glue and industrial glue guns can be used to quickly bond corrugated cardboard. Seals on coated, printed and waxed surfaces can be quickly bonded. Surebonder 702 Hot Melt Glue Sticks are a good option for sealing your end-of-line packaging. These bond fast, and they work on most porous materials, including cartons.
If you have ever bought a plastic item that had an affixed label, you are familiar with the use of hot melt for label applications. Bulk hot melt is used to bond paper backed film to plastic. In some uses, it must have cold resistance, such as when the labeled products are placed in the refrigerator.
The Infinity Melt 6065 is a Bulk Hot Melt for Plastic Labeling is a good option. It is clear and offers superior tack on a variety of plastic types.
Point of Purchase
If you want to market your products to customers, use attractive displays and exhibits. But, your point-of-purchase displays also need to be sturdy and durable, as shoppers may sometimes bump into them. Hot melt industrial glues are going to provide the durable performance you need for display assembly.
Hot melt industrial glues can be used with a number of surfaces, so your dynamic displays will be well supported, no matter what materials you use. The Ad Tech 630 Carton Closing Hot Melt is a great option for point-of-purchase displays. It is specifically formulated for papers and cardboards, so if you are using graphics on cardboard, it will adhere these well.
Transportation and Electronics
Hot melt industrial glue and industrial glue guns can be used in the assembly of cars, trucks and buses. In the transportation sector, industrial hot glue is used to connect small joints, mount trim, laminate large surfaces and assemble various components. Hot melt industrial glue is a great option for these applications because it can be used to bond most different materials used in transportation assembly, such as foams, fabrics and plastics.
One great option for connecting mounting trim is Amorphous Polyolefin Bulk Hot Melt. This product sets hard, with strong bond strength, and it has high-temperature resistance (which is important in hot cars during summer months). If you are looking to adhere foam or fabric to seats, a sprayable hot melt adhesive and a spray glue gun are good options.
Similarly, hot melt plays a key role in electronics manufacture. Your computer, smart phone, television remote and all the other devices you use throughout the day are likely to contain hot melt. In electronics, industrial hot glues must have some extra properties to allow the electronics to properly function. The hot melt adhesive must hold components in place without damaging the small electrical pieces. It must also be able to tolerate vibrations.
One good choice is 3M 3779 Scotch Weld Electronics Hot Melt. This product has high heat resistance and good bond strength, making it ideal for electronics, including those that may come into contact with fuel and oil.
Another good option is the 3M Scotch Weld 3748 Electronics Hot Melt. This item has some special properties, such as strong thermal shock resistance, and it is non-corrosive to copper.
Footwear and Leather
If you are not in the shoe-making industry, you may not know you walk around on hot melt every day. Industrial glue guns are used to apply hot melt to components of the shoe-making process. This can include adhering foam inside the shoes, bonding the insoles, affixing the tongue of the shoe and bonding accessories to the exterior of the shoe.
A good industrial glue option for use in shoe-making is Permanent Pressure Sensitive Bulk Hot Melt. This hot melt can be used on fabrics and foam. This option has an indefinite open time for careful assembly.
However, it adheres permanently, which is a necessity in footwear, which gets a lot of hard use. Use a bulk industrial glue gun for application.
Today, books are typically bound with hot melt. In book binding, the hot melt must bring together stacks of paper and the exterior cover of the book. There are various methods to complete book binding, but whatever method is used, industrial glue guns certainly speed up the process.
The TEC Bond 1241F Bulk Bookbinding Hot Melt is a good choice for industrial hot glue. It is high quality and can be applied in multiple ways, including spraying or rolling. A bookbinding hot glue kit will also include everything needed to get started in bookbinding.
In our industrial world, millions of products are being produced every day. Many of those products involve hot melt at some point in the process, whether that is directly in product assembly or in the packaging of that product.
Quality industrial hot glue, applied with industrial glue guns, can speed up manufacturing and processing times. It also helps to produce the best products in your given industry (whether that may be furniture, cars or some other item) to make your customers happy.
If you run an industry that uses hot melt, consider consulting with hot melt specialists and purchasing your industrial glue sticks and industrial glue guns from a bulk distributor. This can provide you with quality products at a reasonable cost, to improve profit margins.