With the growing number of consumer shipments being made across the world, as well as the common transportation of goods from manufacturers to distributors, logistics teams are constantly working to improve protocol. Many are even focusing on their actual shipping materials as a means of cutting costs, improving efficiency, and even bolstering sustainability.
What is hot melt?
Although some manufacturers and distributors still rely on traditional packing tape to seal boxes prior to shipping, many are beginning to realize the benefits of hot melt. This type of industrial-grade adhesive, which is typically supplied in sticks and applied via a hot glue gun, has been used in arts and crafts for decades.
It has practical applications in many different industries, however, and experts are predicting a market increase of more than 5 percent by 2023. Considering the global market has already surpassed the $750 million milestone, it’s easy to see the trend is beginning to catch on.
Hot melt in manufacturing
Hot melt can be made of many different substances and materials, but metallocene hot melt products are extremely beneficial to the manufacturing process. Their resilience to extreme temperatures results in reduced long-term maintenance fees, which ultimately makes these products more marketable and affordable. Metallocene-based products are also odorless, which lends itself to a workplace that values workplace cleanliness and employee health.
When compared directly to packing tape, these benefits have the potential to:
- Reduce shipping costs
- Ensure the condition of packaged goods
- Streamline the entire distribution process
In addition, hot melt supports environmental sustainability and waste elimination initiatives as an eco-friendly and highly efficient material.
Other popular types of hot melt composite include various polyurethane materials, polyamide, and ethylene vinyl acetate. Some have different inherent properties than others, and certain recipes include pigmentation or dye to add artificial color.
Hot melt in packaging
As of 2014, the packaging industry accounted for the bulk of hot melt’s worldwide popularity. Considering some forecasts see the adhesive market exceeding $9 billion by 2020, it’s safe to say that shippers and distributors will ramp up their use of hot melt products in the coming months and years.
You may be ready to integrate hot melt into your company’s packaging process, but it’s important to understand the nuances of the material. Firstly, it’s critical you let the product reach its ideal temperature before application. This depends on a number of factors, including the makeup of the hot melt product itself and the type of material it’s being applied to. Most hot melt solutions include a detailed technical data sheet, which usually contains the ideal temperature range as well as other useful tips.
A number of steps must also be taken to maintain your industrial-sized adhesive pots. These should be kept full at all times to avoid the development of warm spots or gel, and they should be cleaned out on a regular basis to flush any foreign objects or external contaminants. Not only will this keep your operations running smoothly on a day-to-day basis, but it will also ensure the longevity of your equipment over the course of time.
Immediate and long-term market growth
There’s no denying the recent explosive growth of the adhesives market and, in particular, the hot melt niche. With industry insiders predicting even more development within the next 5 to 10 years, it’s a trend that is simply too big to ignore. Although maintaining such a heightened pace of increasing popularity and usage is a downfall for some, the need for greater sustainability and efficiency in both shipping and packaging bodes well for the hot melt market of the 21st century.
This article was written by Megan Ray Nichols. If you enjoyed this article, please visit her page Schooled by Science.