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Rotating Inventory Optimizes Adhesive Performance and Profits

Posted 11/04/2019 by Gregg Howard, Technical Manager, Graphic Arts

Better inventory management helps optimize adhesive performance and opens the door to significant savings.

As part of any lean and efficient organization, inventory management is critical when it comes to stocking items with a finite life cycle. Adhesives are no exception to this principle. Proper inventory rotation is important to get the most out of adhesives. Depending on what type of adhesives you use, be aware there are varying shelf life expectancies.

Water-based adhesives, including case-in pastes, two-shot primers and protein adhesives, tend to have shorter shelf lives – ranging from three to six months, depending on chemical make-up. Since these formulations contain a significant amount of water, there are certain changes that can happen if the material isn’t used within the stated shelf life.

“Over time, the viscosity of water-based products can start to drift, and older material can become prone to microbial contamination,” says Lee Moe, H.B. Fuller technical manager. “Also, the lower viscosity products run the risk of settling out in the container, which leads to both processing and performance issues.”

Hot melt adhesives, including pressure-sensitive and EVA adhesives, typically carry a one-year shelf life. This is in part because they are 100% solid material and not prone to the same issues as water-based and reactive products.

Reactive adhesives (or PURs) typically have a six- to 12-month shelf life, depending on formulation. It is very important to keep these products sealed until use. However, even sealed, over time their reactive system can change.

As a general rule, rotate your stock so the oldest material is always being used first. If you come across material that is outside of the stated shelf life, please contact your local H.B. Fuller representative. In many cases, material past its expiration date can be quality checked to determine if it is still good for use.

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