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Continued: Graco and Summit Brewing team up to solve sticky problem

  • Article by: DEE DEPASS , Star Tribune
  • Last update: February 15, 2013 - 9:29 PM

The Graco technology is a new take on an old system and it’s solving more than messes. Glue crocks need heat so they don’t gunk up sprayer nozzles. But each crock needs 45 minutes to heat to 350 degrees.

When workers forget to fire up the glue crockpots first thing in the morning, it forces them to wait 45 minutes to get the production line running.

“So you are just twiddling your thumbs and wasting time,” Gunderman said. The new system melts pellets in five minutes.

It also prevents equipment clogs, which frequently shut down production for 15 minutes a pop. A newly retired manager was so determined to avoid that problem, he’d stand over the clogged packaging line with a torch so the production line could keep going.

But heating glue by hand meant many a singed arm and hairs, Gunderman said.

The new packaging sprayers will be put on the market at $10,000 to $25,000 each, depending on the number of hoses and spray guns, Graco’s Long explained.

Graco is a newcomer to a crowded field of packaging dynamos that mainly rely on standard crockpot technology.

That’s where Graco can differentiate itself, analyst Halloran said. Graco has a reputation for going into niche industries with high-tech solutions.

“They are interested in being specialized and unique and having a technological advantage to their peer group.”


Dee DePass • 612-673-7725


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  • Kenny Gunderman, Summit Brewing’s packaging manager, explained how boxes of beer bottles are glued shut by a Graco glue head as they passed underneath while going down the assembly line. Graco has launched a new line of hot glue equipment that dispenses packaging glue more efficiently and eliminates a stench.

  • Nicholas Long

  • This pelletized adhesive is used in a new hot-glue process being used at Summit Brewing to seal boxes.

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