Today we’re continuing our extended series on the Graco InvisiPac system, which we now proudly carry on Hotmelt.com. To those of our customers who are involved with packaging and related applications, listen up, because this article is for you: the InvisiPac system is the newest, most comprehensive iteration of hot melt technology for packaging in a generation, and it is years beyond the technology currently powering most outfits’ systems. The sooner you get upgraded, the more time and money you’ll save, the greater ROI you’ll achieve and the bigger leg up you’ll get on your competitors.
But hey, we understand that you need more than just our word for it. You need solid, well-researched, actionable information. The 5 Ws, the 411, the lowdown on the hoedown. And that’s why we put this guide together for you. Let’s get started.
Enough About Us, Let’s Talk About You
First off, let’s talk about you. Specifically, let’s talk about the problems you face on a regular basis when it comes to your tank-based hot melt systems. If you’re like most folks in packaging, you spend a lot of effort on daily maintenance: Scraping char out of the tank, cleaning out hoses and unclogging your nozzles just to keep your system running. It’s a simple calculus, after all. Maintenance = less downtime = more productivity = greater profit.
You also spend a lot of time waiting around for your hot melt tanks to heat up, which you can account for before the shift begins, but this is a frustrating source of downtime if the system goes down and requires acute maintenance. Once the problem’s fixed, you still have to spend $1,000 + on lost production and labor costs just waiting for it to get back up to temp.
Lastly, in order to get decent performance from your tank-based systems, you have to use more expensive adhesives. It’s a fact of life. But wouldn’t it be great to get the same performance from a more cost efficient bulk hot melt, one that also wouldn’t degrade due to high temperatures, thus sidestepping potential maintenance and repair issues?
Graco set out to fix all of these problems – and many more – with the invention of InvisiPac. They took a holistic approach to design, meaning they created a synergistic system where everything works together in a way that facilitates everything else, all in the service of clean, continuous processing of each hot melt pellet from the manufacturer’s box to your specific application.
InvisiPac is a tankless system, which is the strength of the entire design. Instead of a big, bulky tank, InvisiPac uses a vacuum to pull bulk hot melt pellets into a compact melting chamber in the center of the system, which holds less than a liter of glue – meaning that your adhesive gets up to temp in about 10 minutes. The system dispenses the glue through a heated hose and a state-of-the-art gun. This environment is much more friendly to the glue, since there is a lot less exposure to harsh temperatures and the system only uses as much heat as is necessary to get the application flowing.
The Vacuum System
First things first – you get a continuous supply of hot melt, so there is no longer any need to worry about starving the tank or losing adhesive. The vacuum system also lets you bid a not-so-fond farewell to thermal shocking. Hey, it’s happened to almost everyone: The tank gets too low and you make a miscalculation, and end up adding too much adhesive to it. The overall temperature drops, your flow slows dramatically and in some cases, you have to stop operations altogether just to get the glue back up to temp. That will never happen again with InvisiPac.
You’ll also get significant reductions in contamination. This is one of the best examples of the InvisiPac’s synergistic design: Just because you have a nozzle that’s getting constantly plugged up doesn’t necessarily mean there is something wrong with the nozzle. It could just as easily be a problem with the feeding mechanisms. The vacuum feed contains the ambient adhesive, protecting it from environmental contaminants; it also uses a single airline that manages both vacuuming and vibrating, so that any trace amounts of contaminants that may be present are shaken off before the pellet feeds into the rest of the dispensing process. This cuts down on maintenance and makes for consistent precision in application.
Here’s the best (saved for last, of course): The InvisiPac’s vacuum makes the system much more safe overall. Everyone’s got a story about an injury they or someone they know received from a hot melt tank – either from the glue itself, or from a hot system component. Because the Invisipac’s vacuum system reloads automatically – and is tucked away where a worker isn’t at risk of accidentally burning themselves – you get a lot fewer “battle scars” and a lot more productivity from your happy, healthy workers.
For true glue nerds like us, the gun is one of the most exciting parts of the InvisiPac system, especially because it’s coming from Graco. If you’re not already familiar with the company, you need to know one thing: Graco’s entire modus operandi is moving fluid: Paint for thousands of applications, lubricants and oil in the automotive industry, beverages or ingredients in the food industry, you name it – the sheer volume of liquid dispensing guns that this company produces for industries around the world is absolutely enormous. That’s to say nothing of their 30 years of experience in the hot melt industry with their Thermoflow products.
So when they set out to re-imagine hot melt dispensing systems for packaging applications, they came in strong, with some of the world’s most experienced and specialized engineers and designers working on the project. In keeping with the synergistic approach to innovation, they not only re-engineered the gun, but the tips, the manifolds, the modules and everything else that goes into dispensing glue on that end of the system. That meant years of research to innovate a (patent-pending) free-flow channel for adhesive that drastically reduces dead spots and the resulting char buildup. It also meant adding filters that run into the manifold to catch char as it builds. The end result: A long-lasting, durable gun that doesn’t plug, performs with much greater uptime and reliability when compared to previous generations of dispensing guns, and most importantly, requires less maintenance.
Graco also went back to the drawing board for the user interface, making sure that InvisiPac had the most intuitive, simple-to-learn-and-use interface on the market. That meant using a single screen to view temperatures in all of your heat zones, incorporating icon-based graphics, implementing features that track adhesive consumption, and making data about operations, errors and events easily transferable and downloadable.
The Bottom Line
This is not an incremental upgrade to current hot melt dispensing technology – Graco has shifted the paradigm with InvisiPac. Now that you’ve read this guide, you know the big picture: What InvisiPac is, how it changes hot melt dispensing and what that means for the problems that the packaging industry faces on a regular basis. But there is plenty more – which is why our extended series will continue next week.
If you can’t wait to learn more, or you’re already prepared to step forward into the future of packaging technology, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team of experts here at Hotmelt.com – we’re ready and waiting to help answer your questions and provide you with the solutions you need. Contact us online or call us at (877) 933-3343.
Try Before You Buy
See if you qualify for the Hotmelt.com exclusive Try Before You Buy Graco InvisiPac promotion - details can be found here.