Success Story: Mondelez International

Packaging Line Safety, Savings & Sustainability

Chances are high that you have recently consumed a snack, food, or beverage product made by Mondelēz International. After all, its portfolio contains household brands such as Nabisco, Oreo, Ritz, Toblerone, and Cadbury.

At the Mondelēz plant in Namur, Belgium, Dairylea, Sottilette, El Caserio and Philadelphia cheese or snack products are packed into cardboard cartons and sleeve packs. Obviously, providing the correct amount of adhesive at the right time and temperature on their automated packaging lines–and to the highest level of safety–is key to productivity and operator well-being.

After a six-month trial, the Mondelēz plant in Namur decided that the Graco InvisiPac was the ideal hot melt delivery system for them.

Seeking a Better Solution

Although the Namur plant's existing hot melt system was the industry standard, it was not optimal, and they were looking for something better. In their search for a replacement, one of their glue suppliers mentioned that the Graco InvisiPac hot melt delivery system is an extremely efficient product. Discussions with Graco soon followed.

"To be honest, we were quite skeptical about the impressive claims of the Graco salesman" admits Phillipe Jordens, former Plant Manager, Mondelēz Namur. "So before committing, we decided to conduct a six-month trial. The results of the trial were so impressive in terms of safety, increased profitability and reduced maintenance that we had no hesitation in purchasing InvisiPac."

Employee Safety

Safety of employees is an over-riding priority at Mondelēz Namur. "Working with material at temperatures up to 390˚F (200°C) can lead to safety hazards, such as burns or toxic fumes," explains Jordens. "So we were very keen to find the safest hot melt delivery system on the market."

InvisiPac is inherently safe because it keeps operator interaction with hot materials or equipment to a minimum. The operator simply fills the container with a large amount of adhesive, and when the level of adhesive in the melter reaches a certain minimum, a signal is automatically sent to the feeding system, causing adhesive to be sucked from the container directly into the system–all without operator intervention.

Time & Energy Savings

Another issue with their existing hot melt system was the long heat-up time. "We needed to wait at least 45 minutes for the glue to be at the correct temperature to use, which was wasted, unproductive time," says Mauro Del Priore, Packaging Engineer, Mondelēz Namur. "A huge benefit of InvisiPac is that it needs only ten minutes to heat-up."

This is because InvisiPac is a tank-free system. The bulk of the material is not melted, nor is it kept at a high temperature for a long time. Instead, only the amount of material that is needed is heated up and melted. The unit even has a timer which turns off the unit when it isn’t used for a certain time. This avoids problems when operators should forget to shut off the unit after their shift and also leads to a reduction in energy consumption and costs.

Production Efficiencies

The fact that only a small amount of material is heated leads to another major advantage. It eliminates the chance of char and nozzle blockings and thus reduces the need for maintenance. "The absence of char means we can operate InvisiPac continuously without production stoppages to clean nozzles," adds Del Priore. "In fact, the only maintenance necessary is to periodically replace the filter–a very quick, simple and cheap procedure."

The latest InvisiPac (HM25c) reduces maintenance even further as it has fewer parts than its predecessor model. For example, there is only one air regulator that controls the whole system, and the heated melter is now machined from one part. The drip tray is more robust, and the new funnel air filter is more dust and oil tolerant and longer lasting. All these improvements make InvisiPac virtually maintenance-free.

50% Less Glue Usage

Another objective of Mondelēz Namur was to increase profitability of the packaging lines. "At the end of the trial we calculated that we had reduced our glue consumption by 50%," explains Jordens. "That is a highly significant material and cost saving." Cost savings which have come at absolutely no expense to quality. "Our cardboard boxes work as effectively as before. We have not received a single customer complaint related to the adhesive."

Moreover, Jordens thinks that a further reduction in glue consumption of 20% is still possible. This is because InvisiPac measures the right amount of glue to be used, controls a consistent bead and tracks your usage grams per case, so you can use exactly what you need, where you need it.

Safe, Happy Operators

In total, 16 InvisiPac units were purchased, operating on 11 packaging lines at Mondelēz Namur. The hot melt adhesive operators on the Mondelēz packaging lines are extremely happy with all the InvisiPac units. They feel safe and more secure. They don’t have to wear PPE. They don’t have to spend so much time filling or cleaning the tank. And the system is very easy to use.

"The operators find the user interface very straightforward," states Del Priore. "What’s more, it enables them to receive alerts when material usage is out of range, as well as performance notifications on their lines. So it helps them do their work better."

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