The environmental performance of products and processes in all industrial sectors has increasingly become a critical issue, with sustainability directly influencing the design and selection of equipment. Many processes in manufacturing can be addressed to improve sustainability while simultaneously maintaining or reducing operating costs. Reducing environmental impacts by decreasing the volume of industrial waste is one way to support a sustainable manufacturing process. Implementing waste-reduction practices and technologies should be embraced as a priority at the component, process, and system levels.
One of the latest developments to impact sustainability—and specifically waste reduction for fluid dispensing—is the release of side-by-side collapsible, film-based fluid packaging and dispensing cartridges. These cartridges can be used for materials such as two-component (2K) foams, coatings, potting compounds, and other adhesives and sealants used for assembly processes in industrial, automotive, marine, and construction applications.
New film-based fluid dispensing cartridges with side-by-side film packages* can be inserted directly into specialized 2K dispensing guns with built-in retainers or adapted to any standard 2K dispensing gun by inserting the cartridge into reusable retainers with integrated plungers. When a standard dispense gun is activated, plungers in each of the two chambers inside the reusable retainer push the film packages forward, forcing the adhesive or sealant from each package into a static mixer to dispense the mixed fluid for application. The system delivers the same ratio control and the same quality mix performance as standard, high-precision 2K systems. The system is compatible with a range of dispense guns and static mixers.
When conventional, rigid side-by-side 2K cartridges are empty, the entire cartridge—both chambers and plungers—becomes waste and must be disposed of. With this system, when the film packages are empty, they compress into a lid that must be disposed of as waste. Consequently, the net volume of waste from these cartridges occupies much less space than conventional 2K cartridges. The same space occupied by a single conventional two-component dispensing cartridge will hold seven compressed lids. As such, the cartridges produce more than 85% less waste per volume for the same amount of fluid dispensed compared to conventional 2K cartridges. This also leads to a significantly reduced carbon footprint while supporting corporate sustainability and lowering waste disposal costs.
Fluid dispensers today can apply virtually any manufacturing fluid—from thin solvents to thick silicones and brazing pastes—with precision. Using digital timers and precision air regulators to determine the amount of material applied and maintain shot-by-shot repeatability, these systems can deliver exceptional throughput and process control, providing consistent deposits from the beginning to the end of the fluid reservoir.
These improvements directly support sustainability. The amount of waste generated decreases significantly when a more-controlled dispensing method is used. For example, when dispensing components such as syringe barrels and pistons are designed to work together to dispense precise, repeatable amounts, virtually no fluid is left in the barrel, thus reducing the overall consumption of fluid. Switching from a rudimentary manual dispensing process, such as a latest-generation air-powered dispenser, can cut the amount of fluid used typically from 50-70% due to the improved accuracy of the deposit.
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