Adhesives In The Packaging Industry

Whether you need to erect and seal cases for your winery or you’re a pharmaceutical manufacturer interested in industrial adhesive options for flexible packaging, you have a variety of options. Yet how do you choose which adhesive is best for your packaging, sealing, attachment and labeling needs? Let’s take a closer look at some of the most commonly used packaging adhesives and examine how to know whether one is right for your situation.

Commonly Used Packaging Adhesives in Rigid Packaging

Most of us are quite familiar with rigid packaging — the tan Amazon box that arrives on your doorstep or the six-pack carrier that holds your favorite craft beer. But what you may not be as familiar with are the types of adhesives typically used in rigid packaging.

Manufacturers use both water-based and hot melt adhesives in a variety of packaging and labeling applications, but both have pros and cons. In general, using water-based adhesives in packaging can keep costs down and lead to easier clean up, but may not provide the level of adhesion you desire. Hot melt may be the best packaging glue for your rigid packaging as it provides fast bonds between a range of substrates.

Additionally, the best packaging glue for the job will depend on your existing equipment and the volume of adhesive you’ll be using. In low-volume situations, operators often use handguns or glue rollers to manually apply water-based PVA glue to build and seal boxes. In high-volume packaging applications, tank systems with hoses and guns are used.

Specific Adhesives Used in Packaging

Specific adhesives used in rigid packaging applications include:

  • EVA Hot Melts: Used in cartoning, case erecting and sealing applications, affordable EVA hot melts allow the operator to easily and precisely bond paperboard substrates.
  • Metallocene Hot Melts: Gaining traction in the packaging industry, metallocene hot melts have similar bonding capabilities to EVA hot melts but offer a greater yield per pound due to less adhesive degradation.
  • Water-Based PVA Adhesives: Commonly seen in slow-speed case erecting and sealing applications, water-based PVA adhesives are ideal for constructing corrugated packaging and gluing the manufacturer’s joint.

Flexible Packaging Adhesives

Becoming more prevalent in the packaging industry, flexible packaging is typically made from plastic film. Unlike rigid packaging, flexible packaging allows the manufacturer to more closely follow the lines of the product to create custom packaging.

If your situation requires a flexible packaging solution, you’ll be happy to know that you have a choice of adhesives specially designed for that exact purpose. From snack foods to medical devices, flexible packaging uses laminating adhesives that provide a completely sealed package without making it impossible to open.

Protective Packaging Adhesives

Boxes that are used to ship fragile or sensitive materials frequently feature foam inserts to provide added protection. These foam substrates require specific adhesive formulations and application techniques to avoid melting or wasting adhesive. A lower-temperature hot melt adhesive can be applied at temperatures less than 350 degrees, which prevents the adhesive from melting the foam.

Spray or swirl applications also require lower temperatures, and prevent the waste of adhesives when used on open-cell foam substrates. The use of roll coaters on open-cell foam substrates forces adhesive into open cells, resulting in the application of more adhesive than is necessary for the bond.

The Right Adhesive for All Your Packaging Needs

Are you certain you’re using the right adhesive for your packaging needs? Or is there an alternative that could improve the experience for your end user and keep your product safer while ultimately saving you money? Glue Machinery Corporation can help you explore adhesive options and select the right adhesive for your needs. Get in touch at 888-202-2468 to find out more about how our Glue Diligence program can help you determine which adhesive best suits your unique packaging situation.