Tankless hot-melt systems seem to be the new darling of the packaging industry — everybody wants them. Many major packaging companies today are looking for alternatives to their conventional hot-melt systems with a reservoir, moving toward tankless options instead. But do you know why? Is there an actual value to the new trend, or is it just a passing fancy that will fade out of the market soon enough? Where is this newfound interest in the tankless trend coming from? Should you be switching over, too?
According to Nordson and Graco, manufacturers of the Freedom and Invisipac tankless systems, there are several key reasons for the tankless system’s current popularity. Let’s look at a few of their main claims and see whether or not they’re worthwhile:
- Reduced Maintenance from Degraded Adhesive: A lot of packaging firms think tankless hot-melt systems mean lower maintenance — but is that the case? While it’s true that tankless hot-melt systems, which are actually very small melt tanks, expose hot melt to application temperatures for less time than conventional reservoir systems, the hot-melt adhesives still degrade because of low-quality adhesive, excessive temperatures and exposure to heat over an extended period of time. With conventional systems with reservoirs, on the other hand, packaging companies melt, pump and apply hot-melt adhesive within the 100-hour “Pot Life” of most hot melts and experience very little adhesive degradation. In fact, many packaging companies have five-year-old machines that are perfectly clean, with no degraded adhesive.
- Power Consumption: Comparisons between the power consumption of tankless and conventional hot-melt systems show negligible difference between power consumption. Any tiny difference is not significant enough to justify changing out machinery.
- Tankless Costs More: Finally, when did a concept that offered less actually cost more? The tankless systems costs as much as 50 percent more than conventional high-performance hot-melt systems! This cannot be justified, as it cannot be recovered over the life of the machines.
So after looking at these claims and how little they actually offer, what does this mean for your packaging company? Ultimately the choice is yours, but my advice is to skip the passing fads and stick to your conventional hot-melt systems that work. This new tankless trend isn’t worth it.