Edgebander Operating Tips

Advice on how full to fill the glue pot, glue selection, adjustments, and other factors that affect edgebander performance. January 20, 2010

Iím new to the edgebander experience, what happens to hot melt when it gets cold, both on cabinet parts and in the glue pot at 20-30 degrees F? Have you found you get less burning of the hotmelt by keeping the gluepot full or below half, etc.? Thanks for any input.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor R:
You should get no burning if you use a quality non-filled glue. The fillers in cheap glue have given the glue pot a bad rap.

From contributor P:
Mine stays cleaner when I keep it full. The trick to minimizing burning is to turn the heater elements off when not using the machine for a period of more than ten minutes or so.

From contributor L:
I second contributor P on this one. We ship all over the country all seasons and have not had banding failures so temperature must not be much of an issue. Don't buy cheap adhesive. Get your machine adjusted correctly, use clear banding for setup of glue roller gate. Don't put on too thick of adhesive, it doesn't hold any better and just makes a mess.

Match the adhesive you use to the feed chain speed. Donít have the bander located where the cold winter air blows on it when in use. The panels need to be warm (room temp) before banding. Pull the banding off test panels. The banding should take some of the material off the panel. We use primer on wood and laminate banding. One of our banders has a hot air blower that keeps the adhesive hot right up to the banding point (a good idea in cold weather.) Bander learning has lots of fine points.

From contributor M:
I also second the response here. Taking the time to set up and maintain an edgebander is critical to its profitable performance for you. Investing in quality glue will also pay off for you in the long run with fewer product quality issues, and fewer problems with the glue pot.

From contributor Z:
My EP-9 Cehisa bander gluepot has an opening at one end half way up the total height of the pot. My service tech told me to keep the glue level at this openings midpoint so that the glue will flow and circulate better. This keeps the glue from burning. Apparently airflow is important in this process and filling the pot to the top takes more energy every time you warm up the pot and causes more burned glue as most of it is being heated again and again. Depending on how much youíre banding, very little glue goes a long way. We have followed this advice and use the clear pellets and have no burning issues and our pot is spotless and clean.

If you had a huge bowl of chili, it makes more sense to scoop out what you want to eat and only warm that up; if you keep heating the same pot many times, you end up with burned chili all around the inside of the pot. It will also require more heating time.

From contributor U:
If you put a pot of beans on the stove, fill it with water and cook for some time without adding more water eventually the moisture will be cooked out. Filling a glue pot to the top allows the last glue which is cycled out to have been cooked for hours (unless you are running at 60 fpm/8 hours per day and then you are filling often). This changes the glue product from a thin viscosity at 200c to a much thicker product at 200c. As a rule of thumb, 1 lb of PVA hotmelt will band 250 - 300 feet of banding on 3/4" substraight. Most edgebander pots hold from 3 to 7 lbs.

By keeping the glue level low in the pot, you add fresh hotmelt more frequently and thus maintain a better viscosity product. The pot will also use less watts of power and be ready for operation sooner. It also creates less wear and tear on the glue systems moving parts. One other factor is that the thinner the hotmelt glue product, the deeper the penetration into the substraight edge. The substraight is where most bond failure occurs (with the exception of HPL or a dry wood strip). Consider a hot air machine. The glue sticks to the edgebanding but the weakness is in the bond to the substraight. As contributor L stated, buy quality hotmelts. If you put a pencil to it, a quality hotmelt is cheap if you must redo a job. There is the belt speed verses open time but thatís another subject.

From contributor L:
To the original questioner: do you have a bander now or are you working up to buying one? As you move up the price/feature scale the glue system changes, smaller pot with auto level detection and filling reduces the amount of adhesive needing to be re-heated, auto heater cut-back when no parts are being run after a short time, more heaters for better heat distribution in the pot, better temperature control, hot air or IR heating of the glue surface before being hit with the banding, more pressure rollers for better bonding, pressure rollers that press only when the panel is present and don't try to bend the tail of the banding as it passes the rolls, etc. Are all these required? Probably not, but they each contribute a little to the quality of the bond. The faster the feed chain runs the less open time the adhesive has to cool and the better the bond. Has anyone seen one of the new Homag adhesive-free banders run?

From contributor L:
I have had problems using white melamine and non filled hotmelt. There is a problem with the glue line showing too dark. Is there a hotmelt that solves this problem?

From contributor Z:
We just finished banding 60 sheets of white melamine. We only use the clear glue and run several samples till we get the best bond with the least glue. The glue line is invisible. This was with ABS edgebanding and "green" white melamine, but PVC runs the same.