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SoapEquipment.com - Frequently Asked Questions

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FAQ - Lip Balm Pouring Trays

Lip Balm Pouring Tray (Back View)

Lip Balm Pouring Tray

Question:

How can I avoid sink holes in my lip balm tubes? What do I do if I have them and it is too late to pour more on top?

Answer:

Number one, slowly fill the holes, systematically running down the row, then to the next and so on. Pouring too fast will cause air pockets. The material is hot, hot balm is expanded so naturally it is going to shrink when it cools. Pouring slowly along the row allows a little cooling to take place.

 

When you get done with the last row go back again, row by row and overfill the tubes. Always overfill; remember you can just scrape off the excess and use it again.

 

If for some reason you have a hole or two that sink holes, take a hair blow drier or a heat gun and just wave over the hole until it melts and levels out. Just don't melt the plastic, keep the heat gun moving.

 

Question:

I am finding that more than a few lip balms out of each batch I pour don't wind down again once you have wound them up the first time. It seems quite random but say i do a batch of 50 lip balms, 10-15 won't wind back down and the others will. Sometimes it’s more than 50% of the batch.

 

I have been putting the trays in the fridge to cool down.

Answer:

We have never heard of putting trays in a fridge. We do have customers that have a large number of our trays, using a chiller line. This is basically a conveyor belt with a cold tunnel. However this only is maybe, 30 seconds. Enough to cool the perimeter of the tub and top.

As to temp or humidity, we have hundreds of customers all over the world and have not heard of anyone talking about this affecting pours. The range of formulae and products they put in the containers is astounding.

I suggest stopping the use of the cold time and see what happens.

It actually sounds to me that they are stripping out the plug. You see… all tubes have threads, or protrusions on the shaft that not only guide the elevator part of the tube up and down but also bind the plug by creating a nut/bolt like effect. This pulls the plug up or down as the elevator goes up or down. The plug can’t go down if the threads are stripped. Same as trying to tighten a stripped bolt. It just spins.

Something either in the formula is either binding too well to the tube or the cold doing something, but what that would be, I have no clue.
Call your container manufacturer. Their engineers may be able to help you. I would think there would be someone out there that has had the same issue.
End result… It was the cold time in the fridge.

 

Question:

Can you make smaller trays?

Answer:

Yes, but it would be a waste of material and time. We hope that you will grow....you hope that you will grow, so why waste your money and time on just getting by for now.

Look ahead to the future, count on it and you will find yourself there in, no time. We do provide for smaller pours with our tray divider, actually allowing for three different pours in one tray.

 

Question:

Why do you mill your trays instead of injection molding them?

Answer:

We have heard lots of complaints about injection molded trays. Matter-of-fact, we sell lots of trays to unhappy customers, because of this. Tubes falling out, dribbles down the side of the tubes and having to clean the tubes off after a pour.

There are a number of things that can go wrong with the injection process, the plastic formula maybe off, injection temperature can be wrong, the injection mold itself is old or maybe not made properly in the first place.

For something that needs to be "Precise, Every Time" milling is the only answer.

Yes, it may take more time and yes a little more material is cut out from the holes but in the long run it can save you money and hours of frustration. We also put a wide rim all the way around the tray, not only for pouring but to keep everything perfectly flat and accurate.

They will never wear out and will stay flat and accurate.

 

Question:

I am interested in your ounce Lip Balm Trays to pour Lotion Bars. Can you tell me how long it might take a typical person to load the tray with tubes? I'm assuming that filling the tubes with product would go very quickly once the tray was prepared. Also, would a reducer be needed to slow the flow from the valve? Thank you.

Answer:

Providing you have the tubes ready in a box and everything set up in easy reach; you should be able to place about, 25 to 35 tubes per minute. Larger tubes will be closer to the lower end.

A reducer valve will help as well as having a surface that you can easily slide the tray around as you are filling. A plastic, Formica or stainless steel surface is good.

 

Question:

We use a lot of color in the lip balms. How do we clean the trays?

Answer:

HDPE plastic will take any cleaner. Oxy Clean, 409, Citrus Cleaners, Simple Green, even Lacquer Thinner. Just don't use anything abrasive as it will mare the surface and making cleaning much more difficult later.

 

Question:

Hi, we have been trying out the smaller versions of your trays and we find the surface can look rather grainy due to the scraping of the excess lip balm from the top of the tray. Then, when you pull out the lip balm tube there is residue on the edges. When you wipe it off you have wipe marks on the top of the balm, versus the smooth surface with doing the single pour.

 

With more practice does this problem resolve itself? What advice can you give us before I jump in and buy the really large trays you sell?

Answer:

We don't make a smaller version lip balm tray. We make 225 and 450 tube trays. If you are talking about those hobbyist trays that are $14.95, that is someone else entirely.

 

The process of making our trays is totally different than the process of making those small trays. Please see our Q&A section on Lip Balms for an explanation.

 

Question:

How do you smooth the surface of the lip balm if this is desired?

Answer:

You can use a heat gun, hair dryer or, some of the our larger manufactures use heat lamps or heat tunnels with a conveyor.

Most people use a heat gun. It is fast and efficient. We also supply you with a stainless steel knife that leaves a pretty clean surface to begin with.

 

Question:

Do you have experience with the automated filling systems for lip balms, like your bottle fillers?

Answer:

Any bottle filler, single shot or hand held, multiple shot filler is slow compared to the trays. Until you get into a full-line conveyor/packaging/filler system, upwards of $100,000, you are better off with flood trays.

We have customers with more than 50 of our double trays. They must find this method pretty efficient.

 

Question:

I have several of the small lip balm filling trays (Plastic Tom) which only hold 50 tubes. I don't like having to trim the lip balm after removing the tubes from the trays. When the filled lip balm is removed from your trays, is the lip balm flush with the tube rim or does it need to be trimmed?

I noticed that a heat gun was used in your video to smooth the lip balm tube tops. When I've used a heat gun on my small filling trays, it's noticeably warped the plastic. Will a heat gun eventually warp your trays too, or is the plastic durable enough to withstand the heat?

Answer:

There is no trimming needed. Our Lip Balm Trays are machined to a lip tolerance of, 0.005” (0.012mm) and generally average, 0.005” to 0.015” (0.012-0.038mm) but due to the variance in the plastic and in temperature, during the time of machining. We require an allowance of 0.020” (0.03mm) which is the thickness of 5 pieces of copy paper from top of tray to the lip of the tube.

 

The little lip balm trays you have are injection molded. Tight tolerances cannot be held using this type of method. This is due to the fact that the plastic formula maybe off, the injection temperature can be wrong, the injection mold itself is old or maybe not made properly in the first place.

 

Our trays are milled from an extruded sheet of HDPE Plastic. All four sides are measured with calipers, before milling the holes, to help insure that our specified tolerances are met from one side of the tray to the other. This process allows each and every hole to be precise every time.

 

The HDPE Plastic that we use is very durable. Lip Balm Trays as well as most of our Soap Molds are made from this material. It withstands the repeated heat up and cool down of the soap making process as well as repeated use of a heat gun without warping, unlike injection molded trays.

 

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