5 Safety Precautions to Take While Working with Hotmelts

Hotmelt is a polymer-based thermoplastic glue applied with an industrial application. It is used in a liquid or molten state but solidifies within a few seconds to one minute. The application is mainly via dipping, extruding, spraying and rolling, as prescribed. Hotmelts have a long shelf-life and provide gap filling. Hotmelts can bond a wide range of materials like paper, metal, glass and wood to ceramics, plastic, rubber, leather, fabric and foam.


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The global hot melt adhesives market size stood at $6.69 billion in 2021 and is projected to grow from $7.10 billion in 2022 to $10.10 billion by 2029 growing at a CAGR of 5.2%. It is extensively used in many end-use industries like food and beverages, carton sealing, bookbinding, bottle labeling, and packaging. Hotmelts are not toxic or dangerous, but fumes that develop during use may irritate anyone with respiratory issues. Hotmelts might catch fire under certain conditions. It is a good idea to learn a few ways to work cautiously.


1. Choose the Right Temperature


Most hot melt adhesives melt at about 180°F but they are applied at a higher temperature from 250°F – 375°F. It is necessary to pick the right temperature for different materials like plastics, ceramics, thin fabric, leather, or metal.


Image Source: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/burn_prevention.html


The application head may reach anywhere between 250°F to 375°F as well which is quite hot and can cause skin damage. In fact, as low as 160°F may also cause third-degree burns. So, whether you are a novice or a seasoned professional, it is advisable to be careful with any electrical equipment and its operating temperature.


2. Unplug and Power Down on Time


There should be minimal or no thinning or kinks of the hose material. Check for adhesive char which forms due to a change in the adhesive properties out of oxidative or thermal degradation by inspecting the in-line filter. Further, checking all the fittings from time to time is advisable. Make sure to read the safety and usage instructions to be able to use them better.


3. Check for Equipment Damage Beforehand


There are 2.8 million non-fatal workplace accidents and injuries taking place yearly across the nation’s private employment industry and 2.8 people out of 100 are getting injured at work according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2020 alone, there were 4,764 fatal injuries recorded in America. So, it is a good idea to perform a comprehensive check of the industrial applicators periodically to avoid frequent mishaps.


4. Protect the Surface Before Use


Hot glue drips can damage and melt particular surfaces like rubber or plastic. Remove any loose paper that may catch quick fire.


It is necessary to protect your skin’s surface as well. Wear sturdy leather gloves while working with a hot glue application system. Keep a bucket of water near your workplace but away from electric equipment. If you accidentally get glue on your skin, dip the part in cold water.


5. Keep any Flammable Materials Away from the Glue Application System.


OSHA reports there are more than 200 workplace fires per day and more than 5,000 people are injured by the same each year. Further, over 1 million work-related deaths occur annually and hundreds of millions suffer from workplace accidents including fires and hazardous substance leaks. So, it is necessary to take robust precautions to avoid trouble.


Admittedly, hot glue is an extremely convenient and useful product. It has extensive usage due to its water-resistant property and fast setting speed. Keep the above tips in mind to use them without regrets.