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!

Why Using Structural Adhesives Could Be a Better Option Than Fasteners or Welds

    April 25, 2016

It’s one of the most basic necessities in manufacturing – attaching two parts or components together in a way that will be secure, reliable and, in some cases, add to the aesthetic appeal of the finished product.

Manufacturers generally decide between fastening or welding. They’re tried-and-true methods that likely don’t require any additional training or process changes.

There’s another way, though: structural adhesives

Structural adhesives provide tough, durable bonds to a wide variety of surfaces. They can improve assembly strength, design flexibility, corrosion protection, and can save you money.

Joker FX

We recently worked with a company called Joker FX to help solve a number of manufacturing problems. Switching from traditional methods to structural adhesives allowed Joker FX to eliminate product failure, vastly improve production time, and improve aesthetics.

Applications for structural adhesives are wide ranging, too. Read on for another example of how structural adhesives saved a leading manufacturer time and money, as well as examples of how adhesives can make a difference in your industry.

Door Bonding

agricultural equipment

A leading manufacturer of agriculture equipment was welding several six-to-seven-foot steel channels to a steel door in order to attach hinges and improve overall stiffeness. Welding was strong enough for the application, but was causing warpage of the door, and weld marks that required grinding and polishing before paint processing.

In addition, corrosion was a potential long term problem between the steel channel and door itself, as doors in service can spend years outside in the field facing the elements.

Structural bonding was introduced as an alternate method to address these issues. The result:

  • Door warpage was eliminated

  • The extra grinding and polishing steps were eliminated

  • The energy cost to operate the welding machine was eliminated

  • The long term rusting problem was eliminated

All of this was accomplished by using only 40 cubic centimeters of structural adhesive per door (approximately 20 linear feet of bond area).

Stainless Steel Sink Bonding

kitchen sink

Kitchen sink manufacturers often spot weld stainless steel mounting rails onto the underside of a stainless steel sink so it can be mounted to a countertop. This is a strong, reliable method, but spot welding creates marks that cause aesthetic issues.

To remove the marks, a manufacturer has to add grinding and polishing to its production process. No one wants to purchase a shiny sink with dark weld marks, after all. To address the extra grinding and polishing steps, the manufacturer could use structural adhesives in place of spot welding.

The result:

  • Fewer steps in the production process

  • A more aesthetically pleasing sink

  • A strong, long term bond 

Tread Plate Bonding

tread plate

Tread plates are common in almost any manufacturing facility. Manufacturers frequently use traditional nut and bolt fasteners to construct aluminum, steel, and galvanized steel tread plates for forklifts and other heavy equipment in a facility.

Although reliable, using fasteners presents some problems. Because tread plates are used in high traffic areas, it’s important to provide recesses or countersink locations so that the bolt heads and nuts don’t interfere with the forklift wheels or other types of traffic. This adds extra steps to the production process — steps that a manufacturer might like to eliminate.

This is when a structural adhesive can make a difference. A structural adhesive could be introduced, and a specific product qualified by testing overlap shear and high speed drop impact strengths of 2,000 psi and 20 joules respectively. 

The result:

  • Fewer steps in the production process

  • Added sealing capabilities to protect from corrosion

  • A cost savings over mechanical fasteners (only 2 cubic centimeters of adhesive would be required per linear foot of bond area)

How to Decide If You Should Switch

We always recommend considering things like materials, environment and performance requirements before making a switch to structural adhesives. You should perform tests in your application to ensure that your performance standards are met.

We can help review your processes and provide recommendations, as well as provide support in testing specific adhesives in your product or application.

Over to You

What questions do you have about structural adhesives? Ask us in the comments below, or on Twitter or Facebook!

About the Author, Darryl Small

Darryl Small is currently market application engineer at Henkel. In this role, he supports the agriculture/construction machinery market. Darryl joined Henkel Loctite in October 1990 as a regional application engineer, and has held several positions throughout the years including: laboratory manager, tech info service manager, electronics application engineer, and special equipment engineer. Darryl earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis in design from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1988.

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