Tips for Improving Your Adhesive Process
Our clients often reach out to us because they want a partner with proven expertise in adhesives. Understanding all the options and formulating the best adhesive for your project are critical for the success of your project. When talking about adhesives, you might say there is an infinite number of formulations and applications. You should consider adhesive classifications (e.g., epoxies, polyurethanes, polyimides), form options (e.g., paste, liquid, film, pellets, tape), and the many type choices (e.g., hot melt, reactive hot melt, thermosetting, pressure sensitive, contact, etc.). Add on top of that the load carrying capability options (e.g., structural, semi-structural, or non-structural) and you can begin to see why working with an adhesive coating specialist can be well worth your time. Working with experienced engineers and chemists helps you avoid falling into the trap of adhesive system stereotypes, not having the proper expertise and resources, and being able to deliver a quality product on time. The last thing you should do is put yourself at a competitive disadvantage by limiting your adhesive systems choices. In this blog, we’ll show you what to look for and how to decide on the best adhesive for your application.
Avoid Adhesive Stereotypes
Relying on adhesive stereotypes can create traps for companies when designing products. There are numerous reasons a company might fall into a stereotyping trap, including:
- Making important decisions without expertise and technical knowledge in adhesive coating.
- Generalizing from past experience that the adhesive or coating process, not the specific engineering choices, were responsible for failure or success.
- Relying too heavily on suppliers that focus more on what they have to sell and less on what is best for the product’s success.
Based on our experience, here are the most common adhesive stereotyping traps that we’ve seen among clients:
- Failing to consider additives when making a choice from one of the four basic resin categories.
Dependable engineering advice is crucial in order to make correct decisions about the best resin. This is because each category of resin includes a unique compound with the ability to offer a specific trait that the product needs. Furthermore, additional enhancements typically are possible through the use of additives. For example, in generalized terms acrylics tend to offer better clarity, UV resistance, and hardness. Rubbers tend to offer higher adhesion properties, anchorage to a wider range of surfaces and better softness/flow. However, through the use of additives, new properties can be created for specific situations.
- Considering only the two general processing methods instead of the myriad sub-processes.
Since there are so many choices within the subsets of the two general processing methods, it is vital to work with internal and external engineers to understand the technology not only affecting the adhesives outward properties (such as peel and shear), but also deeper properties that make each specific adhesives performance unique.
- Thinking about the problem in terms of equipment capability instead of desired characteristics.
Making binary choices such as acrylic vs. rubber or hot melt vs. solution not only limits the options but is also more likely to cause the decision to be based on capability instead of product excellence. The best way to choose the best adhesive system is to:
- Know your product and its use. One of the biggest mistakes companies make is not knowing their product requirements at every level. Surface types, exposure conditions, shelf life, substrate type, and similar factors are all critical considerations.
- Request performance properties not adhesive stereotypes. Starting with performance characteristics allows the product engineers more latitude to find or develop adhesives that are capable of meeting the product requirements. This will avoid the trap allowing the stereotype to control the product instead of the product requirements dictating the solution.
- Deal with companies that have strong product engineering groups. The production company does not have to be an expert on the available adhesive systems as long as they work with suppliers and consultants that can provide the engineering, expertise, and equipment to make quality recommendations.
- Test for quality assurance. Make sure that once the adhesive has been identified, the company providing it has the ability to control the properties that are needed to assure consistent, repeatable performance.
Ensuring Proper Resources Are in Place
By partnering with the proper resources, you will be able to maintain costs while getting the most beneficial solution. Often this means looking into a partnership with a coating manufacturer. For example, a partnership with a coating manufacturer will allow you to gain access to new opportunities quickly when entering an emerging market or new area of product development. At the same time, you will gain access to the required technology, processes, and experience to achieve the specific material and coating goals. Some of the benefits of partnering with a coating manufacturer include:
- Delivering either their raw material or semi-finished commodities to achieve a specific goal. Often in coating it is a customized covering or bulk material for application to a part or product at a predetermined cost.
- Coating manufacturers handle unique processes and have the equipment, expertise, and materials readily available for you. Instead of purchasing the equipment, training internal teams, and implementing the changes necessary to make your project a success, a partner coating manufacturer will gain an understanding of your individual requirements and then lay out the best course of action to accomplish your objectives. Trial batches are created for testing to ensure desired results to avoid delays or increased production costs.
- Coating manufacturers offer pre-defined safety regulations and processes and reliable laboratory testing and analysis. They have state of the art equipment.
- Most importantly, coating manufacturers can offer product development assistance and multiple customization options that can greatly improve your end result.
Being Able to Deliver Quality on Time
It’s a major undertaking to create a successful adhesive application, so you need to have the right team in place. With deep experience in adhesives and engineered solutions, Jessup Manufacturing helps you create new products with the six-step Solve + Make™ process. This process ensures the right choices for the adhesive system, but also the right quality and timing for production. The steps are:
Step 1: Discovery
- What is the application?
- What are the performance expectations?
- What are the installed environmental factors?
- What are the downstream assembly conditions?
- What aesthetics are required?
Step 2: Design
Develop your product— substrate, adhesive, liner, topcoat, and other constructed layers, as needed. The design phase includes specifications, product design, and laboratory samples.
Step 3: Testing & Certification
Perform product testing in the lab and in application environments. This can generally be done on prototype samples and production samples. Typical performance tests examine peel, shear, UV stability, temperature, moisture, and wear. Other performance tests may be necessary and will be identified in the design phase. Certification standards should be considered. Depending on your product you may consider: UL Listing, ETL Listing, U.S. military specification, NFSI, and others. In this step, you may also look into regulatory certifications such as Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH); Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS); and California Proposition 65. Another important piece of information to obtain is a Technical Data Sheet (TDS). This document will provide the technical data on your product and is an important step in the process leading to trade.
Step 4: Manufacturing
Now the real fun begins! Highly consider manufacturing or partnering with a manufacturer who works in an environmentally responsible way. For example, at Jessup, we work to capture virtually 100% of emissions by a Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer (RTO) during our manufacturing process for clients.
Step 5: Converting & Packaging
Once your materials are made, then you will want to potentially have them slit, sheet, laser cut, die cut, kiss cut, and/or back-slit. You might also opt for a custom packaging option such as the addition of labeling, bar-coding, custom inserts, or kitting.
Step 6: Storing & Shipping
Ensure you have warehousing and logistics set up for your finished goods.
Formulating adhesives and bringing them to market (and beyond), is a complex process. From understanding which application is best for your requirements, to having the right resources on your side and being able to deliver quality on time can be daunting. However, by partnering with experts in coating manufacturing, you will be better equipped to understand all your options and can formulate the best adhesive for your project, on time and on budget. In doing so, you will gain a competitive advantage.
Ensure success even further and engage Jessup Manufacturing as your partner in a Solve + Make™ project. Jessup will make sure that you have all possible adhesive options (no stereotyping), you will have the speed and capacity to bring your product to market (have the right resources), and you will use proven, ISO quality, repeatable process from discovery through design and shipping wherever your finished adhesive coated materials needs to go (Solve + Make™ from Jessup Manufacturing). All you have to do is enjoy your peace of mind!
Tweet us @JessupMFG your adhesive questions or email email@example.com to discuss your next project and learn how our customer Solve+Make solution works.