Manufacturing in any capacity requires that all moving parts work together in tandem.
This becomes even truer when you're seeking to manufacture items on a massive scale, such as widgets. You need a solution that will ensure all your individual components adhere securely to one another to create a finished product.
While there are many different ways you could join surfaces together, adhesive bonding is one of the most common and sought-after methods.
Today, we're exploring how this process works and why it's a reliable industry mainstay.
Ready to learn more? Let's get started!
What is Adhesive Bonding?
First, let's discuss how adhesive bonding works.
Adhesive bonding combines two or more surfaces with a viscous substance.
In short, this is any process that joins two surfaces together permanently through the creation of a smooth bond. There are a few different materials that manufacturers can use, including:
- Adhesive film
- Adhesive tape
Strouse utilizes roll based adhesives to bond similar substrates and bond dissimilar substrates.
Today, most industries rely on adhesive films or adhesive tapes to create the strong joints they require. This makes it possible to combine even the toughest materials together. If you've ever wondered how to bond metal to metal without welding, this approach offers one solution.
In years past, traditional films tended to be weaker than other binding materials. However, thanks to innovation in the bonding sector, they're now some of the most durable materials on the market. In fact, most modern films now use self-curing adhesives to create bonds that are nearly as strong as the components themselves.
Adhesive bonding solutions enable organizations to streamline the assembly of custom products.
There are two main types of assembly adhesives, permanent bonding, and temporary bonding adhesive.
The Powerful Benefits of Adhesive Bonding
Why should you utilize adhesive bonding over another form of component connection, such as a riveted joint or a spot weld? If you've been used to such traditional tools, you might be hesitant to embrace this technique.
To help explain its benefits, let's take a look at the powerful reasons why adhesive bonding is preferable in many applications.
1. Better Stress Distribution
Consider this scenario: You have two substrates, connected by a single fastener, such as a riveted joint. The bond starts out solid, but soon the two substrates experience a shear force, where the materials are pulled in opposing directions. Suddenly, all of the force is centralized around the fastener.
In most cases, this could cause the bond to break or weaken considerably, leading to product failure. Consider the implications if this happens in a medical needle, vehicle frame or any other piece of mission-critical equipment.
Yet, if there's a single strip of adhesive film that connects the two substrates along the entire bond line, the force becomes more evenly distributed and shear strength improves. This is because the overall stress load is better distributed, eliminating the risk of the entire impact being focused on one area.
Bonding tape, including 3M VHB and acrylic foam tape, allows manufacturers to eliminate the use of rivets, fasteners, and even welding. Creating a more powerful and permanent bond, these adhesive hold up better against shear stress than other techniques.
When deciding which type of adhesive bonding material to use for your project, the type of stress that the components will experience is a major consideration. In addition to shear stress described above, other types of stress include:
- Tensile stress
- Cleavage stress
- Peel stress
2. Stronger Protective Seal
While their primary purpose is to bond, many adhesives also add another benefit: They seal!
Why is this so important?
Manufacturers know the importance of keeping external elements away from their assemblies. Not only can these can compromise the quality and safety of the materials, but they can also impact their functionality. When elemental protection is required, it's common to use a mechanical fastener to create a physical seal between components.
Common types include O-rings or gaskets, which are especially common in outdoor assembly environments, such as electrical transformers.
With adhesive bonding, this hardware normally isn't necessary.
Not only will these adhesives hold the entire assembly together as a nut and bolt would, but they also provide secure coverage that works like a seal. This cuts down on inventory requirements and time-consuming adjustments while also creating a more lightweight product.
3. Expanded Surface Area
When we speak of shear strength, that applies mostly to substrates that are located in close proximity to one another. What about applications that require bonding between components that are farther away?
Closing such a gap requires a process called filling or potting.
When manufacturers use adhesive bonding to fill or pot a space, they create a more secure and structurally sound connection. This is also an ideal way to encapsulate and protect sensitive components. In addition, the adhesive helps to reduce vibration or movement, which is helpful in many digital applications including:
- Circuit boards
- Cable connections
- Wire harnesses
- Battery cells
- LED chips
Other benefits derived from using adhesive bonding in these scenarios include:
- Improved viscosity
- Improved thermal and electrical conductivity
- Improved chemical resistance
- Harder bonds
Note that most adhesive brands will provide a line potting and filling products that range in the above features. For instance, some might provide a harder bond than others, while others will differ in viscosity, chemical resistance and more. This way, you can select the exact kind that you need for your specific application.
4. Improved Appearance
Manufacturers don't only want their products to work well. They want them to look great, too!
This is where adhesive bonding or adhesive joining really shines. Certain materials, such as bonding tape, create a tight connection without adding unsightly bulk to the components. This means you don't have to contend with weld burn or fasteners that protrude outside of the connection itself.
Though such bonds might be functional, they can easily distract from the form and function of the equipment, especially if they aren't applied correctly. With adhesive bonding, you're left with a smooth and seamless bond that does its job quietly, beautifully, and effectively.
Where might this matter? Any design environment where graphics and exteriors take center stage, such as the automobile industry!
5. The Power to Join Different Materials
We've already covered that adhesive bonding is a perfect solution for combining like materials.
However, what happens when manufacturers want to bond metal to plastic, or any other dissimilar materials?
While most assembly methods are designed to facilitate metal-to-metal or plastic-to-plastic attachments, it can be more difficult to create a secure bond between surfaces that aren't the exact same. This is an important concern in the automobile industry, where internal and external components can differ greatly in terms of texture and composition.
Because of its versatility, adhesive bonding works well in these environments.
For instance, vehicle manufacturers can use it internally to combine disparate motor components, such as ferrite magnets and metal cans. They can also use it externally to enhance a specialty vehicle with aluminum or composite features.
One type of adhesive that's designed to bond to a variety of both plastic and metal substrates is panel bonding adhesive, such as 3M Panel Bonding Adhesive. Other industries can also leverage these products and processes to expand their applications and incorporate different materials into their designs.
Other materials that an adhesive bond can join together include:
Now, creativity can reign without sacrificing material strength or durability. Common material pairs include plastic-to-metal, glass-to-plastic, and rubber-to-metal.
6. A Bright, Innovative Future
While the benefits of adhesive bonding are apparent, one concern might be the speed at which the adhesive itself can be applied. Is it always possible to affix the film in time to maintain throughput levels without dropping in productivity?
With outdated adhesives, the answer might have been different. However, the recent innovation in this field has produced adhesive solutions that are quicker and stronger than ever before. How? One word: automation.
Now, there are automated, robotic systems that can apply adhesives using the following techniques:
- Automatic adhesive dispensing
- Automatic adhesive curing
The result? Adhesives are not only distributed and implemented more quickly, but the entire assembly line is made more efficient, accurate, and consistent. This allows manufacturers to streamline the assembly of custom products in a way that wasn't previously available.
Permanent Adhesive Bonding Solutions
Bonding tape like 3M VHB and acrylic foam tapes are used to replace rivets, welding, and fasteners. These adhesives typically form a stronger permanent bond.
When two substrates pull apart, fasteners and rivets put a great deal of stress on small areas, giving way to potential product failure. Permanent bonding solutions, such as 3M VHB, allows the pressure to be evenly distributed throughout the area of the tape as opposed to small points along the substrate.
Temporary Adhesive Bonding Solutions
Temporary bonding tape is also known as removable or repositionable tape. The adhesive can place on a substrate with strong adhesion and holding properties, but it can also easily be removed or repositioned for some time. Temporary bonding tape is ideal for applications like reclosable packaging, removable or changeable gaskets, and other products where temporary holding is required.
You can find assembly adhesives with unique characteristics such as bonding tape that can withstand weathering or extreme temperatures. Each application is unique.
Explore our Adhesive Bonding Solutions Today
Are you looking for an adhesive bonding solution to assist your manufacturing efforts?
If so, you've come to the right place.
We offer a variety of materials, from adhesive film to fastener tape, designed to suit a range of applications across myriad industries. We'll help you select the right ones for your project, then use our industry-leading capabilities to deliver the finished products you need. From rotary die-cutting to spooling, automated assembly, and more, we do it all.
Contact us to learn more today!