Thanks to key advances in polymer technology over the last decade, the performance of adhesives has propelled opportunities for packaging solutions like never before.

From improved bonding to unique functionalities, adhesives, the way they are used and the equipment used to dispense them have been the subject of rapid progress.

Early adopters have reaped the benefits of advanced adhesive technology to cut their costs, improve versatility and strengthen their brands.

If your business has been using the same adhesives for the last 10 to 15 years, it is time you look at what else is available on the market. Read on to find out about some of the trends in adhesive technology and dispensing equipment.

Advances in hot melt adhesives

Most with an interest in packaging would be familiar with EVA, or ethylene vinyl acetate copolymer, which has dominated the hot melt adhesives sector for decades.

They are regularly formulated with ingredients such as tree resin and rubber, and can be customised depending on different needs. They are versatile enough to endure freezer conditions, or tolerate warm, humid climates during shipping, and will bond with a variety of packaging materials from board to plastic.

Advances in polymer science led to the actions of tree resin being replicated in the lab, resulting in the relatively recent development of Metallocene, or mPO polymers.

Metallocene offers a range of benefits when compared to EVA. It isn’t as dense as EVA and therefore achieves greater yields, using less adhesive to create a strong and reliable bond.

In addition to less use of adhesive, and therefore greater cost savings, it offers greater stability in adhesive pots. This means it is less likely to cause blockages in equipment nozzles and result in downtime, which all contributes to higher costs.

While metallocenes are based on relatively new polymer technology, EVAs and other types of hot melts still have their use for specific applications. That’s why it is important to speak with an expert to help find the right adhesive solution for your packaging.

As a rule, hot melts are considered non-hazardous and eco-friendly, making them an obvious choice when sustainability is on the agenda. Typically, they have no fumes, low toxicity and contain no volatile organic compounds, and with little waste in the manufacturing process they cause little environmental concern on disposal.

Advances in hot melt dispensing technology

The development of new and improved adhesive technology has resulted in advances in dispensing equipment, such as the state-of-the-art Valco Melton EcoStitch all-electric applicator.

EcoStitch applies a unique and strict glue dot pattern, replacing long, broken beads with individual spots that provide a robust bond while reducing the amount of adhesive that is used by up to 70%.

While achieving significant cost and materials savings, EcoStitch also increases the bonding surface and enhances penetration of the material fibre.

The glue dot pattern is entirely customisable according to specific needs.

The ground-breaking technology also solves common issues with traditional pneumatic systems which rely on seals and moving parts, subjecting the equipment to wear and tear, downtime and expensive replacement parts.

Assembled by hand in America, EcoStitch is engineered with single, dual or right-angle nozzles and is ideal for precision and high-speed applications.

Watch the video here to see EcoStitch in action.

Talk to an expert for advice about advancing your packaging process

The team at Stephen Miller has more than 50 years’ experience in end-of-line packaging solutions and in that time, we have witnessed a range of advances in polymer science and equipment technology that have helped many businesses enhance their competitive advantage in packaging.

Take advantage of our insight to bring your packaging processes to the next level with enhanced results and improved cost savings.

As the exclusive Irish partner for Valco Melton, the world leader in hot melt adhesive application equipment, and the exclusive Irish partner of UK based award-winning hot melt adhesives manufacturer Beardow Adams, our team can provide you with technologically advanced solutions that consistently deliver market leading performance outcomes.

Get in touch with our expert team on 01 685 2096 to discuss an adhesive and, or equipment solution designed for your business needs today.