3/25/2010, Düsseldorf


Hotmelt production at Henkel

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From the melt to the pack

Flexibility and highest bond strength – these are the characteristic attributes of hotmelts from Henkel. In Düsseldorf, more than 150 of these hotmelts are produced for a wide variety of applications. The main focus is on hotmelt adhesives that retain their surface tackiness even when they have cooled.

The action principle of hotmelts has not changed since they were first used. Solid at room temperature, the hotmelt adhesive becomes liquid when exposed to heat. The liquid adhesive is applied to the surfaces to be joined, bonding them together as it cools. Hotmelts are sold in the form of granules, powders, film-packed blocks or candles. Several production steps are required before a hotmelt is ready for use.

At the Henkel facilities in Düsseldorf, the life of a hotmelt starts in a large vat. Here, different polymers, resins, oils and antioxidants are brought together, heated and mixed. After intermediate storage in a tank, the adhesive arrives at the filling station. The first step here is to weld a plastic film that serves to package the hotmelt into a tube. The hot adhesive flows into the tube at a temperature of 130°C and is cooled immediately by a continuous flow of water to prevent damage to the plastic film. The packaging film does not affect the processing capability or the adhesive properties in any way, and it is melted along with the product during later use. This kind of packaging means that there is no waste to dispose of – an example of Henkel’s sustainable production practices. In the next step, a squeezer roll gets the adhesive into the right pack shape. Before it can be packed for shipment, the hotmelt has to spend 40 minutes in a cooled water bath until its temperature has dropped to 60°C. The final step is to insert the packs into cardboard boxes, which are stacked on pallets by a robot.

Hotmelts from Henkel are everywhere
Whether in packaging, bookbinding or furniture, today’s manufacturing industries could not do without hotmelts. The range of hotmelt bonding applications is immense – from sanitary articles such as diapers to the labels on PET bottles. Henkel markets its hotmelts under various brand names: Technomelt for technical applications, Euromelt for packaging, Sanicare for hygiene articles. Wherever hotmelts from Henkel are used, they offer customers tailor-made solutions, high availability, and a broad product portfolio.