It’s another long day of opening emails and wincing at the sight of material quotes.
After taking a break to sip coffee, sigh, and bury your head in your hands, you may wonder why adhesive manufacturing costs as much as it currently does.
Naturally, many different factors contribute to the cost of individual materials. As a flexible material converter, Strouse has kept our eye on any climbing industry rates so we can give our clients the best deals.
Before you make material purchases, it’s crucial to understand where the costs are coming from and how you can get the best value for your orders. This article will inform you about the current state of adhesive manufacturing so you can make better purchasing decisions.
What is Adhesive Manufacturing?
Adhesive manufacturing transforms raw materials like rubber, plastic, chemicals, lumber, or other components into products for further processing or consumer use.
Adhesive manufacturers purchase natural or synthetic rubber, acrylic polymers, and other compounds from raw material suppliers to produce rolls of tape and liquid adhesive. They also often create liners and other adhesive tape backing materials.
What is an Example of Adhesive Manufacturing?
Companies begin by purchasing and processing raw materials to eliminate impurities and enhance certain desired traits.
Once they have processed the raw materials, manufacturers transform them into the final product. Depending on the desired result, an adhesive manufacturer’s final product might look like glue tubs, pressure-sensitive adhesive tape logs, or other material formats.
One example of adhesive manufacturing would be the complete process of making polyethylene tape.
Adhesive manufacturers buy and process petrochemicals to make synthetic rubber adhesives for their tapes. Then, they use additional raw materials to manufacture paper and film for adhesive backings and liners.
In the case of polyethylene tape, the manufacturer uses large-scale machines to apply the synthetic rubber adhesive onto a polyethylene backing material and process it into massive tape logs.
Adhesive manufacturers often sell tape logs directly to flexible material converters, who use them to build complex products for their own clients or transform them into smaller rolls that fit their desired dimensions. However, adhesive manufacturers also sell logs to companies that can process their parts and materials.
The Cost of Adhesive Manufacturing
Adhesive manufacturing pricing impacts your overall product cost, but it’s based on a combination of factors.
Generally, adhesive manufacturing costs depend on raw material pricing, machine run time, labor costs, new laws and regulations, and shifting market demand. Understanding current factors will help you map out pricing from raw materials to the finished product.
RAW MATERIAL PRICING
While raw material CAN grow on trees, this requires careful planning and processing before it’s in any workable condition.
Certain raw materials, like natural rubber, require time to cultivate. Rubber trees take 4 to 7 years to produce latex, meaning the planting surge in response to consumer needs still hasn’t entirely caught up to their increased demand.
Over the pandemic, there was a rapidly increasing demand for natural rubber and other raw materials, causing effects still present in the market today.
Adhesive manufacturers either source raw materials from a third party or own a production facility that collects them directly. However, natural and synthetic materials often undergo many processes before becoming usable products, requiring additional chemicals.
Adding chemicals to a raw material mix helps adhesive manufacturers achieve the consistency, durability, and endurance they seek. By adding components like carbon black to raw materials, adhesive manufacturers strengthen the material’s durability and can adjust the elasticity.
These chemicals are also subject to their own prices, so when the cost of adhesive manufacturing increases, it might be the cost of the additives being used to transform raw materials into finished products.
NEW LAWS AND REGULATIONS
As events occur worldwide, staying up-to-date on how material and manufacturing prices are affected is essential.
Many new or updated laws and regulations have affected adhesive manufacturing:1) Trade sanctions
In response to Russia waging war against Ukraine, many countries have placed restrictions and bans on certain imports and exports, such as crude oil and petroleum products. Places with these restrictions include countries in the E.U. and the United States of America.
Other sanctions have affected the cost of rare minerals and metals like nickel and copper, which are used to produce foil tapes and other components of the adhesive-making process.2) Increased rubber sourcing regulations
In the past few years, the European Parliament has worked towards tightening supply chain laws to ensure better sourcing practices and reduce harm to people and the environment.
The Supply Chain Sourcing and Obligations Act (SCA) has already had an economic impact on the rubber industry thus far. Yet, we know the requirements are expected to continue evolving throughout 2024.
With concrete new methods to trace rubber sales as a means to guarantee its ethical sourcing, many adhesive manufacturers might need to seek out partnerships with domestic companies.3) New consumer vehicle regulations
Along with increased regulations regarding the impact of combustion engines, today’s consumers are increasingly aware of environmentally friendly vehicle options.
One of the biggest, rapidly expanding changes to the current consumer market is an avid demand for electric vehicles, which has led to material experimentation using rarer minerals and other components that might aid in EV batteries' production, functionality, or safety.
As the market demand shifts, so does the demand for adhesive manufacturing with innovative raw materials. Yet, some of these materials are still challenging to source or are currently affected by the aforementioned trade sanctions or rubber regulations. They also may have their own negative environmental consequences.
Material innovation caused by an electrical vehicle demand is having ongoing effects on the cost of manufacturing automotive adhesive components that will likely continue to develop as the clock ticks down toward certain mandates for combustion engines.
What Else Should I Know About Purchasing Adhesives?
Purchasing from an adhesive manufacturer is often a strategic process. If you’re looking to buy adhesives and manufacture products, you’ll want to know how to do so in the most cost-effective way possible.
Before you buy any type of adhesive tape or flexible material, consider the end goal you have in mind and whether it makes sense to have the material before reaching out to a flexible material converter.
Your product’s measurements and intended application can affect the ideal method for cutting out a design. Additionally, the minimum order quantity (MOQ) of materials is a huge part of the cost of a die cut and any material purchase orders.
If you’re not manufacturing in-house, it’s worth discussing your material selection with a converter before you purchase material for the intended project.