FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to an apparatus for melting and dispensing
thermoplastic materials such as thermoplastic adhesives referred to as hot melt
adhesives. More specifically this invention relates to a one piece melter tank which
i s suspended from a chassis which also serves as the housing for the entire assembly
of the melting and dispensing apparatus.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
There are many known types of apparatus for converting thermoplastic
or so -called hot melt materials from a solid state to a molten liquid state. The
melted material was maintained in the molten state in the tank in sufficient volume
to supply one or more applicators or dispensers. A number of design improvements
were made over a period of time to provide greater efficiency of the melt tanks
and reduce problems of charring or oxidation of the molten material due to the material
being maintained in the molten state for a prolonged period of time.
A grid type hot melt applicator was designed to have the cap ability
of melting a very high throughput of thermoplastic material in a very short time
so that the molten material was not maintained in a moltenstate for prolonged periods
of time which could result in degradation of the material. A typical grid type ap
plicator is disclosed in U.S. Patent No. 3,964,645. Other examples are shown in
U.S. Patent Nos. 3,981,416, 4,474,311, 4,667,850, and 4,821,922. Continued efforts
to improve melter apparatus has resulted in the present invention.
OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION
A primary object of this invention is to provide a hot melt unit which
is simple to construct and assemble and which can be produced at reduced cost to
those devices of greater complexity.
Another object of this invention is to provide a low cost tank
cast ing which does not require to of tank flanges which are needed on many of the
Another object of the invention is to eliminate the need for providing
a supporting base beneath the melt tank and manifold.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
A still further object of this inve ntion is to provide a more
versatile pump/drive mounting surface.
An even further object of the invention is to provide a simplified
one piece melt tank and manifold cast as an integral unit.
These and other objects of the invention will become more fully apparent from the
description in the following specification and the attached drawings.
The combination of a melter tank for thermoplastic material and a
supporting chassis comprising: a tank having a bottom and a plurality of sid ewalls
extending upwardly therefrom, forming an open topped tank, the sidewalls of the
tank having upper edge portions extending around the top of the tank, heating means
associated with the bottom of the tank, a chassis having a top and at least two
sidew alls extending downwardly therefrom, a rigid top insulator panel to rest on
the upper edge portions of the tank sidewalls, means connecting the tank to the
top of the chassis with the rigid insulator panel clamped between the upper edge
portions of the sid ewalls and an underside of the top of the chassis to suspend
the tank from the chassis.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
- FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an entire assembly of a unit of melting apparatus
for melting and dispensing thermoplastic material;
- FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a melt tank of the invention with an integral
manifold section cast in one piece with the melt tank;
- FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the melt tank of FIG. 2;
- FIG. 4 is a side elevational view of the melt tank of FIG. 3;
- FIG. 5 is a bottom view of the tank of FIGS. 3 and 4, with a partial cross -
section of the manifold taken on line 5 -5 of FIG. 4;
- FIG. 6 is an end view of the melt tank looking at the left end of FIG. 4;
- FIG. 7 is a plan view of a subassembly of pipes forming a manifold duct system;
- FIG. 8 is a fragmentary cross -sectional view of a cast manifold duct system
with threaded steel nipple inserts;
- FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a chassis for supporting the melt tank of FIGS.
2 through 6 and showing the melt tank indicated by chain dotted lines mounted within
the chassis; and
- FIG. 10 is a cross sectional side view through the chassis and the melt tank
with the melt tank mounted in a suspended position within the chassis.
Referring now to the drawings and in particular to FIG. 1, a complete
assembly of a melter unit for melting and dispensing thermoplastic material is indicated
generally by the numeral 10. The unit 10 has a chassis 12 which also functions as
a housing for the melt tank which will be shown and described in later drawing figures.
A hinged lid 14 is mounted on top of the chassis/housing 12. A pump assembly 16driven
by an electric motor 18 is mounted on one end of the chassis 12. A pump cover 19
rests on the top of the chass is 12 and covers the pump 16 and motor 18.
On the opposite end of the chassis 12 is an electrical control
box 20 which will not be described in further detail since it is not part of the
A manifold access opening 22 is provided on one side of th e
chassis 12. Extending from the opening 22 are hose ports 24, a pressure control
26, a drain 28, and a filter unit 30.
Referring now to FIGS. 2 through 6 and in particular to FIG.
2, a melt tank 32 preferably of cast aluminum has an integral manifold port ion
34 cast on the bottom of the tank as best seen in FIG. 5. A manifold duct system
35 has a duct 36 which interconnects hose ports 24, the pressure control 26, the
drain 28 and the filter unit 30 which were previously shown in FIG. 1 as projecting
throug h an access opening 22 in the chassis 12.
The duct system 35 can either be machined into the manifold portion
34, or made with cast in place cored ducts and porting, or the duct system can be
preformed as a subassembly of steel pipe or other driven by an e lectric motor 18
is mounted on one end suitable metal in a configuration similar to that shown in
FIG. 7 and the subassembly can then be positioned in a mold (not shown) in which
the melt tank is formed and the duct system can be cast in place within the m anifold
portion 34 at the same time the entire melt tank is cast.
If the duct system 35 uses standard cored porting in which the duct
and ports are cast in place around, for example, a sand core, then internally threaded
steel insert nipples 24a, 26a 28a and 30a as shown in FIG. 8 are needed to provide
stronger threaded openings than would be provided by the cast material of the tank
The preferred method of forming the manifold duct system 35 is
to preform a subassembly of steel pipes as shown in FIG. 7 wherein a duct 36 connects
ports 24, 26, 28 and 30 all of which are brazed or welded together to form the subassembly
35. All the ports are internally threaded in the same manner as the steel nipple
inserts 24a, 26a, 28a, and 30a shown in FIG. 8.
Using a preformed subassembly of steel pipes provides a duct
system which is better able to contain the high pressure of melted liquid being
pumped through the duct system and such steel pipe duct system compensates for any
porosity in the tank material in manifold portion 34.
Regardless of which method is used for forming the duct system
35, it is important to have internally threaded steel nipples in the outlet ports
to provide a positive seal with any components which may screwed into the port without
t he need for any O-ring seals.
Referring again to FIG. 2, the tank 32 which is of substantially
rectangular shape has end walls 38 and 40 and sidewalls 42 and 44. A bottom 46 is
inclined diagonally across the tank 44 at an angle with respect to a horizontal
plane to permit drainage of molten material in the tank from the highest comer of
the bottom to the lowest comer of the bottom which is indicated in FIG. 3 by a triangular
low area 48 which also contains a circular pump recess 50. The recess 50 function
s as a sump or collection recess from which a pump withdraws molten material as
will be explained later in further detail.
As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, a series of fins or ribs 52 extend
vertically upward from the bottom 46 and are inclined at angles to dire ct the flow
of molten material toward the low area 48 and the pump recess 50. As shown in FIG.
3, a sinusoidal pattern of electrical resistance heating wires 54 are embedded inside
the tank bottom 46. These wires are connected electrically in a know manner (not
shown) to an electrical power source in the control box 20. During the melting operation
the wires 54 heat the tank bottom 46 and the heat passes through the fins 52 to
provide heat transfer to the material in the tank. A cast in place mounting tab
5 6 each having a slot 58 is positioned on each comer of the tank 32.
The chassis 12 is shown in detail in FIG. 9 as a substantially rectangular
box shaped member having sidewalls 60 and 62 formed integrally with a top 64 from
heavy gauge sheet metal. A sep arate end wall 66 is attached to one end of the chassis
and the opposite end is closed by the control box 20 shown in FIG. 1.
The top 64 has an access opening 68 which provides communication
with the melt tank 32 and which is covered by the lid 14 shown in FIG. 1. A pump
access hole 70 is also provided in the top 64 of the chassis 12 to receive the pump
assembly 16 and to permit it to extend downwardly into the tank 32 as shown in FIG.
A fixed nut 72 is attached to the chassis top 64 near each comer
th ereof in a position to be in alignment with one of the four mounting tabs 56
on the tank 32. Each tab 56 receives a bolt 74 extending through one of the slots
58 and screwing into one of the nuts 72. A plurality of "Belleville washers" 76
are positioned on each bolt 74 between the bolt head and the bottom of the respective
mounting tab 56 when the bolt 74 is threaded into one of the nuts 72 and is tightened
against the tab 56. The washers 76 compensate for expansion and contraction of the
bolts 74 due to ch anges in temperature of the bolts.
As best seen in FIG. 10, the melt tank 32 when mounted in a suspended
position from the chassis top 64 clamps a rigid insulation panel 78 between the
top edge 33 of the tank 32 and the chassis top 64. The sidewalls 60 and 62 and ends
of the chassis can be lined with flexible insulation panels 80.
The chassis 12 has a removable bottom 82 and four resilient foot
pads 84 located at each corner to serve as vibration dampers. The pump assembly
16 is mounted in the opening 70 by means of a drive mount 86 attached to the chassis
top 64. The pump 16 extends downwardly to near the bottom of the pump recess 50.
In operation the pump 16 draws in molten material from the recess 50 and passes
it through a drop tube 88 into the manifold portion 34 where it passes through the
filter unit 30 and then to the duct 36 and to hose ports 24. The operation of the
pump 16 will not be described in further detail since the pump does not form part
of the invention. For purposes of illustration a "Ger otor" type pump is shown which
uses intermeshing gears to move the molten material from the recess 50 into the
manifold portion 34, however other types of pumps can also serve this function.
It should be understood that certain variations can be made in
th e structural details of the melt tank and the chassis and these as well as other
modifications can be made in the device shown herein without departing from the
scope of the invention as claimed.
Subsequently some preferred embodiments of the invention ar e summarized
According to a first embodiment there is provided a one piece cast
melter tank for thermoplastic material comprising: a tank bottom; a plurality of
integral sidewalls extending upwardly from the tank bottom and forming an open topped
chamber therewith; heating means formed integrally within the tank bottom; a manifold
section formed integral with the tank bottom and having a duct system adapted to
communicate with the chamber for distribution of material melted within the chamber;
and mounting means integral with the tank for attaching the tank to a supporting
Preferably, said melter tank has a plurality of heat transfer ribs
extending upwardly from the tank bottom.
It is further preferred that the manifold has an access port portion
facing outwardly on one side of the tank with a plurality of access ports which
communicate with the duct system of the manifold. Preferably, said access ports
are lined with internally threaded steel nipples.
According to a second embodiment a combinati on of a melter tank for
thermoplastic material and a supporting chassis is provided comprising: a tank having
a bottom and a plurality of sidewalls extending upwardly therefrom, forming an open
topped tank; the sidewalls of the tank having upper edge portions extending around
the top of the tank; heating means associated with the bottom of the tank; a chassis
having a top and at least two sidewalls extending downwardly therefrom; a rigid
top insulator panel to rest on the upper edge portions of the tank sid e walls;
means connecting the tank to the top of the chassis with the rigid insulator panel
clamped between the upper edge portions of the sidewalls and an underside of the
top of the chassis to suspend the tank from the chassis.
In the second embodiment the mounting means on the tank is a plurality
of outwardly extending mounting tabs having bolt receiving openings therethrough.
Preferably, the tank has a manifold portion located beneath the bottom of the tank
and it is further preferred that at least one of the sidewalls of the chassis has
an access opening which is in register with an access port portion of the manifold.
Advantageously, the manifold is integral with the tank and it is preferred
that the manifold portion contains a duct system formed as a subassembly of steel
pipes and cast in place within the manifold during casting of the tank.
In the combination according to the second embodiment the top of the
chassis and the insulator panel each have an access opening and a pump opening,
with the openings on each part being in register with similar openings on the other
part. According to a third embodiment there is provided a chassis for supporting
a melter tank for thermoplastic material comprising: a substantially rectangular
chassis body having a cross-section of an inverted U -shape; the body having a horizonal
top and at least two vertical sidewalls extending downwardly therefrom; the sidewalls
having bottom edge portions adapted to rest on a horizontal surface; and the top
of the chassis body be ing adapted to support a melter tank suspended therefrom
with a top of the tank adjacent to an underside of the of the top of the chassis
body and a bottom of the tank spaced above the surface upon which the chassis is
Preferably, the chassis is adapted to mount an insulation panel between
the top of the chassis body and the top of the melter tank to retain heat within
the melter tank when the tank is mounted within the chassis body and it further
preferred that at least one of the sidewalls has a n access opening therein for
access to manifold ports on a melter tank when such tank is mounted in the chassis.
According to a still further embodiment there is provided a combination of a melter
tank for thermoplastic material and a supporting chassis co mprising: a one piece
cast tank having a bottom and a plurality of sidewalls extending upwardly therefrom,
forming an open topped tank; the sidewalls of the tank having upper edge portions
extending around the top of the tank; heating means integral with t he bottom of
the tank; a manifold section formed integral with the tank bottom and having duct
passages adapted to communicate with the interior of the tank for distribution of
material melted within the tank; a chassis having a top and at least two sidewa
lls extending downwardly therefrom; a rigid top insulator panel adapted to rest
on the upper edge portions of the tank sidewalls; and means connecting the tank
to the top of the chassis to suspend the tank from the chassis with the rigid insulator
panel cl amped between the upper edge portions of the sidewalls and an underside
of the top of the chassis.
In this combination the means connecting the tank to the top of the
chassis preferably is a plurality of mounting tabs integral with the sidewalls of
the ta nk and a bolt extending upwardly from each of the mounting tabs of the tank
to a fixed nut on the top of the chassis positioned above a hole in the chassis
top which is in alignment with one of the bolts when placed in the mounting tabs
wherein a plurality of Belleville washers may be positioned on the bolts between
bolt heads and the mounting tabs to compensate for changes in length of the bolts
due to heat from the melter tank.