Hot melt tank versus tankless systems - overview

Honestly, who doesn’t love the latest and greatest technology? We certainly do here at If it can save you money, speed up production, improve the quality of your projects, or simply make life easier, we’re all for it. And we want to be your most trusted source of industry information, so when new technology hits the market you know exactly where to look for the skinny.

Does it work? Is it reliable? Will this really save me money? That’s what we want to know too, which is why we’re so excited to take part in the hot (pun intended) debate about tankless vs. traditional tank adhesive systems. So without further ado, here is our unbiased look at hot melt’s latest innovation. 


In October 2012, Graco, one of the industry’s leading names, released their InvisiPac tankless system. Since then, the disruptive technology has received more than a tankful of accolades (such as the 2013 Gold Visionary Award from UBM Canon) and criticism. The revolutionary dispensing system uses a vacuum to pull adhesive pellets up a heated hose and through a state-of-the-art dispensing gun. What are the main advantages, you might ask? Cost. Savings. The precise temperature control reduces maintenance by cutting back on char and nozzle clogs so you can spend more time doing and less time cleaning.

The system’s signature stitching application technique also uses small beads of adhesive as opposed to a continuous line to streamline the efficiency of your glue and ensure you are only using as much hot melt as your project needs. Most importantly, the tankless system cuts back on manual refill time, keeping your product line moving as fast as your business does. The technology is heralded as a true game changer that will transform the production and packaging industries the way cars transformed the horse and buggy industry. But the reviews aren’t all positive. When the system fails, it can bring your production line to a screeching halt.


We agree, that all sounds pretty great. So what are all the traditionalists out there saying? Those in favor of the tried-and-true tank system make a great point: whether you call it a hopper or a tank, both systems have an adhesive holding system that can fail. So the question is, which system works better when it … well … isn’t working very well?

A traditional tank provides a buffer that usually holds between one to eight hours worth of adhesive, so even if things get stuck along the way, your project can keep moving or you can schedule your work around a refill. Traditionalists also argue that the tankless auto-refill system isn’t as reliable as it should be to justify the higher costs. No one disagrees that the technology has profound potential; the main question is whether it’s ready for your production line yet. Traditionalists stand by the trusted reliability of a tank loading system that is as dependable as it is predictable for now.

Whether you are an early adopter, ready to make the switch or a die-hard tank supporter, both systems boast unique advantages (and disadvantages) in a side-by-side comparison. The reality is – like any product comparison – may not be a “right” answer, so it’s up to you to decide which makes most sense fore your needs.

If you need additional help deciding which is right for you contact us.

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