By alleviating the arduous maintenance procedures associated with both EVA and PUR pre-melters, Biesse has conceived a game-changing Hybrid pre-melter that allows furniture manufacturers to switch effortlessly between EVA and PUR adhesives as well as cartridges and granules.
Dedicated pre-melters fall short of market demands
Flexibility is king when it comes to the application of adhesives for edgebanding. Gone are the days when furniture manufacturers would either use EVA or PUR. Today, agile operations want the option of using both adhesive types, and of switching rapidly between the two. They want to be able to use PUR where a minimal and high-quality glue line is important, such as on outer fascias and door fronts, and more economical EVA glue where aesthetics are less critical, such as on cabinet carcasses.
However, conventional pre-melters aren’t designed to offer this flexibility. Switching glue types carries too much risk and involves such a complicated and time consuming cleaning process that it is not something furniture manufacturers would consider.
Having the flexibility to accommodate different glue formats is also becoming increasingly important. Whilst PUR comes in both cartridge and granular format, EVA is usually supplied in granular format. Conventional pre-melters are either dedicated to granules or to cartridges. However, in the last year or so, supply chain disruption has led to certain adhesives being difficult to obtain. This has caused problems for those operations with granular PUR pre-melters.
New flexible friend
Recognising this growing demand from mid-sized and smaller volume manufacturers for a highly flexible pre-melting solution, Biesse developed its TM15 Hybrid pre-melter. Offering complete format flexibility and the ability to switch quickly and easily between EVA and PUR adhesives without any mechanical intervention, this innovation has the potential to be a game-changer. Users can change from one glue type or format in 10-15 minutes (the less glue left in the pre-melter and the glue head, the quicker the changeover) thanks to an inbuilt CIP (Clean In Place) system. The operator simply opens a flap to empty residual glue, selects a switch to purge the system, pours cleaning granules or inserts a cleaning cartridge into the machine and runs the cleaning cycle. Once the cycle is complete, the machine is ready to run using a different glue type/format.
Maintenance issues melt away
One of the biggest obstacles to the development of a hybrid pre-melter is that a PUR pre-melter requires more maintenance than an EVA system. Over time, traditional pre-melter units can develop a build-up of residue. This can result in blockages to the glue head as well as impurities in the adhesive, which negatively affects the appearance of the glue line. The only way of preventing these issues is to regularly dismantle the unit and clean it.
With conventional pre-melters, this requires a skilled technician and specialist tools. With the TM15, extensive R&D has gone into ensuring maintenance procedures require no special operator skills or tools. It is extremely easy to remove the pre-melting unit and dismantle it into its various parts using simple tools that are supplied with the machine. This entire procedure takes less than 15 minutes from start to finish and can be carried out by following dedicated tutorial videos.
Flexibility and functionality
The TM15 replaces the TM10 PUR pre-melter in Biesse’s range and is designed to work in conjunction with the new Hybrid Glue Head. It has a melt rate of 4.5kg/hr, which matches the demands of mid-sized and smaller manufacturers, and is hermetically sealed for a long glue lifespan. Glue temperature is monitored via an internal thermostat and controlled via the machine’s control panel to eliminate the risk of glue burning inside the pre-melter. An in-built glue level sensor detects when the glue level is low and the pre-melting cycle is triggered.
For high volume operations that do not require the same level of flexibility, Biesse recommends its TM20 pre-melter, which has a melt rate of 8kg/hr, supporting continuous, high-speed production.