Credit cards and gift cards are typically attached to paper substrates using removable adhesive. This process has been offered to industry for 25+ years. With the massive increases in the numbers of credit cards and gift cards sent everyday – the speed and precision of this process is very important.
For many years latex water based adhesive was the standard adhesive used to attach cards to substrates. Latex removable adhesives have decreased in use because of the inconsistent bonds provided and the difficulty maintaining the systems that apply these adhesives. Latex adhesive under pressure tends to clot within the systems.
Hot melt removable adhesive also called “fugitive” hot melt adhesive has become the norm for that temporary attachment of credit cards. This product offers a wide range of tacking strengths and easily attaches to most substrates. Thousands of high speed machines use this product every day to send millions of cards to consumers.
The most basic form of this adhesive is the preassembled dot or spot of fugitive hot melt attached to release liner on a roll. These products are fugitive removable hot melt adhesives in a convenient package. Operators peel these dots off the release liner and marry two substrates with the dot between. This product and method of application is
acceptable with small jobs in the thousands but far too labor intensive and expensive for larger jobs. The typical cost of each dot in this form is one cent.
Fugitive hot melt adhesive is processed in melters that pressurize the adhesive to a nozzle. It is simple to apply, bonds a wide range of substrates and is easily removed. Typically – hot melt Fugitive adhesives are available for approximately 1/10th to 1/20th of one cent and are considered extremely affordable.
The industrial hot melt machines used to apply fugitive removable hot melt typically cost between $1250.00 and $10,000.00. These systems melt, pump and apply hot melt through a nozzle directly onto the card or carrier substrate. These systems must be hot to apply this product and some attention needs to be given to correct operation and system maintenance.
Bench mounted systems are available for the semi-automated application of this hot melt in dot form. This method of application allows the operators to cycle a dot, series of dots or lines of hot melt directly onto the substrate with a foot actuated pedal. Assembly or attachment of the card to a substrate can occur at the glue station or the substrate can be handed to another person for faster production line assembly. The typical assembly speeds using bench mounted systems is three time that of the preassembled manual dot application.
Automatic systems are available to apply dots directly to substrates as they pass the glue gun at consistent rates of speed. These systems employ the use of photo sensors with timers to sense the substrate or carrier and apply a dot, series of dots or lines of hot melt directly to carrier substrate. These systems can easily operate 10 to 50 times faster than the application of preassembled dots of adhesive or the bench mounted system.
Credit card attachment with temporary removable adhesives has become an art that has expended into many other fields such as insert attachment or tipping, outsert attachment for direction, component bonding prior to shrink wrapping and direct mail application.