Choosing and Safely Using a Folder-Gluer

Choosing and Safely Using a Folder-Gluer

Folder-gluer machines are of great benefit to countless companies. They increase the productivity of workers while minimizing the time needed to carry out several tasks. The machine transforms flat material into a product that may be used for different purposes by folding a blank along pre-creased lines before applying an adhesive to hold the desired shape. 

The machines may be used on numerous materials, including corrugated board, plastics, and solid board. They are most commonly seen in the packaging industry, as they are of great help in taking flat blanks and creating multi-point, crash-lock bottom, and straight-line cartons. However, they are also found in several other industries thanks to their versatility and benefits. 

To accomplish this goal, a number of tools are used by the machine. This includes guides, rotary hooks, and more, and each could lead to damaged materials or injury to the user if the operator is not properly trained in the use of the machine. 

Hot-melt adhesive is often used to hold the products together and the blank is put under pressure after it is folded and glued. What other parts of the machine need to be used correctly to prevent injury or damage? 

The feeders must be properly maintained to ensure it feeds the blanks correctly and the prebreakers need to put creases in the appropriate place to make certain the products come out as intended. The crash-lock model relies on conventional or hook-free technology to make certain the base flaps are folded on certain types of cartons while the GYROBOX unit rotates blanks at the speed of the line. 

Combinfolders make use of rotating folding hooks to fold flaps on cartons with more than one point. To complete the production of the carton, the machine transfers cartons that don’t conform to the appropriate place while shingling cartons suitable for delivery. The final step is to apply pressure to the box stream to ensure the adhesive forms a good bond. 

With so many moving parts, it’s easy to see how products can be damaged or workers injured if the proper training has not been provided. Furthermore, the machines will break down with time due to wear and tear and problems with a machine can lead to injuries. How can one prevent issues such as these? 

Set-Up and Installation

Once the appropriate machine has been selected, the organization needs to determine where the folder-gluer will be placed. Air and electrical connections must be located or installed if needed before the machine is purchased to ensure they will be available and easily accessible. By taking these steps early in the process, a company will make certain there is adequate time to train workers in the proper use of the machine. 

Advances in technology have led to machines that are more versatile but also more complex. As a result, more time will be needed for training than was required in the past. Companies must make certain they allow for this extra instruction for the best results. 


Training the employees on the proper use of the machines is critical once the devices are in place. The amount that will be required depends on multiple factors. The experience level of the operator, the complexity of the machine, and the familiarity of the operator with similar products all play a role in the amount of training needed. Most experts recommend a minimum of one week is set aside to teach employees how to use the machine, although more time might be needed. 

The operator needs to fully understand how to work the machine. This may require the trainer to demonstrate the operation of the folder-gluer using a variety of work/blanks so the employee knows how to handle any situation that arises. Each step of the process needs to be covered, from the jogging of blanks to the pinch points. Transfer points, belt tension, and folding options are three additional topics to be covered in the training and they are numerous others. 

Every employee responsible for operating the machine needs to understand how to change the amount of pressure that is being applied over the lower carriers. Tooling assembly should be covered in the training along with where and how to attach the tooling. Each option available needs to be included in the instruction. 

Additionally, an experienced trainer shares with the machine operators how to set up the folder-gluer using alternate methods. Other subjects that should be covered at this time include adjustments to the compressed air, stock and coating options, and setting up the machine for various carton styles that will be used by the company purchasing the machine.

The trainer likewise needs to cover maintenance procedures for the machine. This would include things such as cleaning and adjusting internal components found on the glue pot, changing and adjusting carrier belt tension as well as tracking, and changing bearings on the machine. Other tasks will also be included as part of this training to ensure the operator doesn’t unintentionally damage the machine or shorten its lifespan due to improper or inadequate maintenance. 

By ensuring employees know how to carry out these maintenance tasks, a business finds they are able to handle most of these tasks in-house. This saves the company both money and downtime which is sure to be appreciated. 

Optional Equipment

Auxiliary equipment is often purchased in conjunction with a folder-gluer machine and there are numerous devices that may be obtained. Businesses might find they wish to invest in camera systems, glue systems, quality-control barcode systems, as well as case-packing and feeding systems that are either semi- or fully-automated. Training will be required for this equipment for the same reasons it is needed for the folder-gluer machine. 

An extrusion glue system is needed to ensure consistency among the products produced. Glue scanning is necessary to be certain the right amount of glue is applied to the material to create a quality bond that meets specifications. Quality control is of importance here and is usually provided by a system that not only scans the glue but reads codes as well. 

Implementing a code reading system prevents the mixing of cartons that have the same profile but different SKUs. The sorting may be done automatically or manually, but scanning each barcode in the glue prevents errors. The UPC code may also be scanned for product type and future readability if this is a capability the producer desires

The glue system controller might also be used for other purposes. A company may program it to drive a tape head or it might be used to create a timed air blast that will fold a particular panel. Customers frequently want multiple processes carried out during production, such as laying tape on a carton to allow for future sealing. The controller can be programmed to carry out these tasks as well. 

Another thing to consider is whether purchasing a folder-gluer that can also incorporate security devices into merchandise will be of help. This includes items such as RFID or Sensormatic tags for costly items. Camera technology could be used to determine where to place the tags for the best results. This is only one of many ways camera technology can be of help with quality control, and there are numerous others. 

An additional safety feature a company may wish to obtain is an ejection system that removes defective cartons. Some companies opt to obtain a device that is integrated into the machine. Others, however, select an add-on device capable of removing a bad carton from the line. Determine which tasks the machine will be handling before purchasing to decide which add-on features are essential and which would be helpful to have.

This automatic feeder is another add-on of great help as these machines can produce more than 100,000 cartons in an hour. When the machine cannot feed and pack this quantity, the productivity of all workers decreases and the workflow slows. For this reason, every business should consider investing in this auxiliary equipment. 

With so many options available today, companies must be aware of what their case packing system is capable of. Another option to consider investing in is a carton-aligner. This equipment works to ensure all blanks remain straight throughout the process of folding and gluing. Additionally, job-specific attachments will be of great help to many organizations because they often help to reduce the set-up time as well as the make-ready time on the machine.

Consider all of the above when choosing a folder-gluer. Understand that all installation and training specifics should be determined before the machine is purchased. By taking this simple step, a business finds it smoothes the process from start to finish and can benefit from the purchase in a shorter period of time. 

Regardless of which machine is chosen, quality installation and proper training allow the business to get the most from the machine. SBL offers a range of machines suitable for any business. Learn more today about the different options so you can get the one that best meets your needs and allows your organization to grow. 


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