It may not be at the forefront of everyone’s minds, but packaging is a massive and complex industry – even more so when developing for foodstuffs. Boxes, bottles, films, and foils must be tightly and firmly sealed to maintain shelf life, resilient to damage yet easy to open, and safe for food contact. Fortunately for manufacturers, thermoplastic (or “hot melt”) adhesives provide the answer.
Hot melt adhesives are a form of highly moldable glue, which is typically solid and stable at room temperature but is applied to packaging in a molten state. These adhesives deliver a firm and thorough seal, ensuring a prolonged shelf life for the packaged item. They’re also highly resistant to degradation from moisture and other commonly encountered threats to bond integrity. These qualities have made melt adhesives an incredibly popular choice for packaging of all forms, and food is no exception.
You might be wondering what the disadvantages are: surely no adhesive is perfect? Fortunately, the one weakness of melt adhesives (bond degradation in extreme heat) hardly applies to food packaging, as realistically there’s little reason for foodstuffs to be exposed to the temperatures necessary to weaken the bond (this will vary from formula to formula, but many adhesives can reasonably withstand over three hundred degrees Fahrenheit).
How Safe are Melt Adhesives?
Consumer safety is of utmost importance when working around food – it’s for this reason that the FDA regulates melt adhesives for food safety. Plenty of melt adhesive formulas are designed with this purpose in mind, and finding one that is non-toxic and lacks any offensive odor shouldn’t be a challenge. In short, melt adhesives are safe – just check that the formula you’re considering has been approved before moving forward.
Sure Tack Systems (a division of Crist Company, Inc.) is a Georgia-based leading provider of melt adhesive assembly systems. Contact us today for more information, or to discuss a customized solution for your unique needs.