The Gartech Glue System Automatic Wash Cycle

Today we’re covering a simple yet vital function of the Gartech Glue System: the automatic wash cycle (or wash-up). This cold water feature lets the system draw from a fresh supply of glue while keeping build-up out of the hoses and components. It also reduces general maintenance and prolongs the life and performance of parts.

Under this function, the glue flow is shut-off and water enters the Glue Manifold to perform one wash cycle, lasting approximately 2-minutes. The cycle duration can be adjusted. Usable glue is diverted back into the Glue Reservoir while waste water is sent through the plant’s drain via the Glue Pump.

On systems designed and manufactured after 200#, a glue purge and automatic wash cycle begins at start-up and another prior to shutting down the system. This is the result of past experience, where neglect of a wash cycle has damaged motors, broken output shafts, snapped timing belts, sheared keys, rendered ball valves inoperable, and resulted in maintenance downtime once the glue sets. This feature is built-in to every upgrade.


Automatic Wash Cycle

Note: This application is intended for cold water only. Hot water can alter the shape of machined parts, causing them to fail. We’ve also seen hot water harden the glue and double the amount of build-up, requiring entire lines to be replaced.

NOTE: Do not operate wash-up system with water supply turned off.

1)  To run an automatic wash cycle, press the Upper Wash or Lower Wash button on the Control Panel interface. We’ve shown the touchscreen interface above. If a Wash Cycle isn’t performed after 4-hours, an alert will sound through the control panel.

2)  One wash cycle will begin. You’ll want to wash the Glue Shoe and Glue Wheel already in active Glue Mode.

NOTE: If performing wash-up on upper glue wheel, the lower wheel should also be wiped clean upon completing the cycle to remove and wash water drippings. A wash-up cycle requires approximately 2 minutes.

3)  After the wash cycle is complete, turn off the drive motor by turning the Machine Safeguard key switch counter-clockwise into the SAFE position. This will set the glue system into zero energy mode and dump all air. Lock-out power on the flexo folder gluer before entering the machine.

4)  With a clean, damp cloth, remove any glue build-up from glue wheel, glue shoes and glue unit housing. Glue wheels can be rotated by hand only after electrical power supply has been safely turned off and locked out. Always abide by your plant’s safety guidelines.

5)  When one wash cycle is completed and cleaning is finished, turn the electrical power back on. The Gartech Glue System is now ready to resume gluing operation following steps outlined in Gartech Glue System Start-Up.

NOTE: Other than start-up and shut-down cycles, recommended wash cycle frequencies include changing from one wheel to the other, prior to lunch breaks, during long production runs of 4-hours or more, and during any period of time when the machine will not run for at least thirty minutes.


Failure to perform the recommended wash cycles can affect glue viscosity, can lead to premature gelling of glue, and result in poor application at the glue shoe and glue wheel.


NOTE:  It is also recommended that wash-up be made in the event that the glue wheel is inadvertently stopped for more than one minute, as the glue will set up and dry on the glue wheel. Operator should check frequently for dust build-up on glue shoe and clean as needed.

Areas around the Gartech Glue Shoe and its mounting plate should be sprayed and coated with a production-safe, non-stick solution such as Pam, Miracle Spray or WD-40 to prevent glue build-up and allow for easier cleaning. Keep sprays out of the fluted surface of the Glue Wheel.

6)  To remove the glue shoe for manual cleaning:

  • Loosen the glue shoe mounting bolt.
  • Remove the glue shoe mounting bolt and washer, carefully handling the glue shoe to prevent damage to the mounting surface and metering plate.
  • Complete the cleaning of the glue shoe with clean, cold water, soft plastic brush or cloth. Apply non-stick solution as recommended above and covered in this blog entry.
  • If the shoe surface and metering plate look worn, please talk to a supervisor about sending the shoe in to Gartech for a redress.
  • Replace the glue shoe following steps as outlined in this blog entry and in the layout below.