Industrial Manufacturing and Engineering Blog

This blog includes insights from LOCTITE experts on a wide range of technologies that can improve industrial manufacturing, such as: instant bonding, structural bonding, machinery adhesives, and functional coatings/surface treatments, as well as equipment solutions. We will also cover more specific topics including: electric motors, speakers, cables and components, low pressure molding, specialty vehicles, fluid power equipment, liquid optically clear adhesives (LOCA), and more!

6 Benefits of Adhesive Bonding for Any Industry

    March 29, 2016

“Bit by bit, putting it together
Piece by piece, only way to make a work of art
Every moment makes a contribution
Every little detail plays a part”

Stephen Sondheim – “Sunday in the Park with George”

What works to make great art also works in manufacturing and repair. But when it comes to putting parts together, piece by piece, attaching one component to another, which option is best?

Depending on the application, adhesive bonding could be the best solution. Let’s explore why.

1. Improved Stress Distribution

One of the main benefits of choosing bonding over an alternate option like a riveted joint or spot weld is improved stress distribution.

If you connect two substrates with one fastener and they’re put into a scenario where they’re pulled in shear, all of the force will be concentrated around the fastener. But, if you bond the same substrates with an adhesive along the whole bond line, the force is distributed evenly across the length of that bond line, resulting in a stronger assembly.

Here’s a quick visual to show what I’m talking about:

What you see above is a demonstration of shear strength. It’s an important measurement of strength in many assemblies, and it’s something we test in many of our adhesives. We do this to be sure we’re meeting the requirements of all applications that our adhesives will face. Here’s how a test works:

We also compare the shear strength performance of our adhesives against other assembly methods like spot welding:

Shear strength is important in many applications, including medical needle bonding, vehicle frame bonding, white goods assembly, and more.

If you ever need to know the shear strength of a certain adhesive on a specific substrate, you can find it on the technical data sheet, or work with our lab to have the data generated.

2. Ability to Fill Large Gaps

While the shear strength example speaks to close-fitting substrates, you might have an application where you need to fill a large gap. This is called potting or filling, and using adhesives in this application can improve structural integrity, encapsulate sensitive components, and dampen vibration or movement.

It provides protection in applications like circuit board housing, wire harnesses and cable connections, LED chip encapsulation, battery cells, and more.

potting with adhesives

Henkel’s line of potting products ranges in viscosity, thermal conductivity, electrical conductivity, hardness, chemical resistance, and more to account for any application requirements you may have.

3. Providing a Protective Seal

In addition to bonding, most adhesives also provide the benefit of a seal. This almost goes without saying, but can sometimes be an overlooked benefit.

If you’re a manufacturer that uses mechanical fasteners, you often need to use an O-ring or gasket to keep outside elements away from your assembly. Using an adhesive eliminates this need. Think about outdoor electrical transformers, for example. Adhesives offer a two-for-one solution; they hold the assembly together like a nut and bolt, and their complete coverage also acts as a seal, like a gasket.

thread sealing

Another common scenario is crimp sealing for oil and gas filters. An anaerobic adhesive would be great for this application because it’s an inert material that will resist any oil that would potentially leak. As a bonus, it also makes the crimp stronger by unitizing the assembly.

4. Joining Dissimilar Substrates

With assembly methods like welding, you’re limited to metal-to-metal or specific plastic-to-plastic attachment. But by using adhesives, you have the ability to bond a much wider range of substrates – plastic-to-metal, glass-to-plastic, rubber-to-metal, etc.

We see this a lot on the auto assembly line in both internal and external applications. Internally, adhesives are used for things like bonding ferrite magnets to metal cans in motors, and externally we’re seeing adhesives used for introducing new, lightweight materials like aluminum and composites to a car’s body.

Using adhesives opens up a lot of new possibilities in your designs across a wide range of applications. You’re no longer limited in the materials you can choose, and you don’t have to sacrifice strength, either. It can be a win-win scenario.

5. Improving Aesthetics

Sometimes products have to look good as well as work properly. Adhesives can help improve the aesthetic of a product. You don’t have to deal with weld burns or protruding fasteners – just smooth, clean lines.

We actually built a trailer substituting fastening and welding where possible in order to make it stronger, lighter, and of course – more aesthetically pleasing.

If you’re building a specialty vehicle where graphics and aesthetics are important, this could be a great option. That said, if you do decide to go this route, it’s important to note that you should not have extra squeeze out in your application. It’s messy and actually doesn’t increase strength, just cost.

6. Easy Automation

Although there may be many benefits in terms of performance in your application, sometimes speed can be a concern. Can you get the adhesive applied quickly enough to maintain current throughput levels?

Luckily, adhesive application can be automated using robots and automatic dispensing and curing equipment. This not only increases efficiency, but also consistency and accuracy.

This kind of automation is happening on production lines for anything from automobiles to refrigerators.

Benefits Across Industries

I think the most exciting part of all of this is that benefits aren’t limited to just a few industries. We’ve been able to help companies across many industries succeed by improving processes, increasing reliability, and reducing costs. Adhesives are improving everything from the massive machines that drill subway tunnels to the strollers and seats we trust to safely transport our children.

If you want to learn more about how adhesives could benefit your industry, be sure to sign up for an upcoming webinar. Our engineers will be on-hand to provide information and answer your questions.

If you’re interested in having your application tested, let us know. We’d be happy to peform the test for you, or give advice for performing the test on your own.

Over to You

Do you have any questions related to a specific application? Contact us, or let us know in the comments!

About the Author, Michael Pomykala

Mike is an Application Engineer for Henkel North America, based in Rocky Hill, CT. He is responsible for specialized technical support of the Electrical and Optical market and Defense market for North America. Mike also provides general technical support for the North Central region of the United States. Mike has been with Henkel for two years. He spent his first year in the Prism Program – a rotational program that provides training in various business roles throughout the General Industry segment at Henkel. Mike also holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Connecticut.

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