Adhesives Replacing Mechanical Fasteners

September 1, 2004
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Adhesive fasteners are quickly replacing traditional methods for joining parts, from screws to nuts to other mechanical fasteners. This articl highlights a few of the specialty adhesives available today.



Adhesive fasteners are quickly replacing traditional methods for joining parts, such as screws, nuts, bolts, rivets, welds and other mechanical fasteners. Key benefits of adhesive fasteners include reduced material, labor and processing costs; reduced assembly labor time; ease of use; and easier disassembly of parts, if necessary.

Bonding metal parts with adhesives allows assemblers to bond dissimilar materials, such as thermoplastics or composites. In addition, it can fill the need for customers' demands for strong-yet-flexible bonds, such as bonding flexible plastic to a thin metal.

According to a recent study by the market research firm The Freedonia Group Inc., gains in the manufacturing and assembly market will be promoted by a rebound in the general economy, arising from a sluggish 2002 base. The fact that specialty adhesives can augment or eliminate mechanical fastener requirements in structural applications will promote growth in various manufacturing and assembly markets, such as electronic components, motor vehicles, and aerospace equipment.

With these and other sales opportunities becoming more prevalent, adhesive and sealant manufacturers are actively launching a host of new products, including the following.



BONDMASTER has introduced a line of structural bonding adhesives designed to replace rivets, screws and welding; improve aesthetic appearance of finished products; and reduce assembly costs. This line of adhesives includes one- and two-part epoxies, structural acrylics, and methyl methacrylates. These adhesives range in viscosities, shear strengths, set times and operating temperatures, making them ideal for virtually any metal bonding application. They are available in a variety of sizes and can be dispensed with standard or custom equipment. Parts, such as aluminum, steel, stainless steel, brass and copper, can be bonded with these adhesives, as well as combinations of metals and other substrates, including glass and plastics. Bondmaster, a division of National Starch and Chemical Co., is headquartered in Bridgewater, NJ. For more information, contact Bondmaster at 10 Finderne Ave., Bridgewater, NJ 08807; phone (800) 797-4992; fax (908) 575-7203; or visit http://www.bondmaster.com .

BOSTIK FINDLEY INC. recently launched Bostik® Liquid Rivet 1152 FS adhesive/sealant. The material is a high-solids, moisture-curing formulation with very high green strength and initial tack, providing excellent high strength elastic bonding performance. It can eliminate the need for most, if not all, mechanical fasteners when applied to proper engineering guidelines, as well as improve vibration attenuation and sound dampening. Liquid Rivet is recommended for overhead/vertical bonding and panel holding, or to reduce the clamping time typically required of a traditional adhesive/sealant. It can be used for fabricating and assembling transportation and transit vehicles, as well as for the construction of truck trailers and containers, recreational vehicles and light-rail cars, and for van conversion. For more information, contact Bostik Findley Inc., 211 Boston St., Middleton, MA 01949-2128; phone (888) 603-8558 in the United States and (800) 461-0418 in Canada; or visit http://www.bostikfindley-us.com .

Metal Welder II two-part, 10:1 methacrylate adhesive from DEVCON bonds metal to other metals or to dissimilar substrates. Mixed and dispensed from manual or pneumatic dispensers with static mixing nozzles, it attains functional cure in 2-4 hours at room temperature. Load-bearing bonds withstand service temperatures from -40-250°F and resist glycols, motor oil, mineral spirits, and gasoline. Thixotropic gel with viscosity of 90,000 cps cures to a tensile shear strength of 2,520 psi. For more information, contact David Bongiorni, Market Development manager, Devcon, 30 Endicott Street, Danvers, MA 01923; phone: (800) 933-8266, (978) 777-1100; fax: (978) 774-0516; or visit http://www.devcon.com .

BETAMATE structural adhesive can be applied manually or robotically with industry-standard equipment. Shown is a hem flange application.
Crash-resistant BETAMATE* structural adhesives from DOW AUTOMOTIVE are used to replace welds and mechanical fasteners, or combine with welds to join similar and dissimilar substrates. One- and two-part BETAMATE urethane and epoxy adhesive systems meet OEM requirements for crash resistance and NVH performance. New crash-resistant adhesive formulas also expand to eliminate sealer and are ideal for aluminum and steel applications. The adhesives are applied manually or robotically as a continuous bond line for body-in-white (BIW) applications. For more information, contact Greg Korchnak, product marketing manager, Structural Adhesives, Dow Automotive; phone (248) 391-6300; fax (248) 391-6417; e-mail dowautomotive@dow.com ; or visit http://www.dowautomotive.com .

*Trademark of The Dow Chemical Co.

HERNON Fusionbond engineered structural adhesive:
  • Bonds plastics, metals, composites, wood and dissimilar substrates
  • Environment Friendly - 100% solids, low VOC
  • Rapid Cure - Room temperature cure, no heat or UV
  • Dispense using handheld dispensers or meter-mix equipment
  • No surface preparation such as sanding or grinding
  • Unequaled resistance to chemicals, fuels and impact
FusionbondTM is a two-component, methacrylates adhesive formulated to bond diverse substrates such as ABS, nylon, PVC, gel coats, PBT blends, steel, and more. Offering temperature resistance from -100-300°F, it is available in an easy to dispense dual 50-ml package complete with a static mixer to take the guesswork out of mixing the adhesive. The adhesive offers chemical resistance to materials such as kerosene, hydrocarbon oil, mineral spirits and ethylene glycol. For more information, contact the sales department at sales@hernonmfg.com or call (800) 527-0004.

High-strength, durable bonds on ferrous and galvanized metals, aluminum, copper, and zinc are readily formed using HUNTSMAN ADVANCED MATERIALS' Araldite® epoxy and methacrylate adhesives. Available with a range of viscosities, work lives and cure times, the adhesives feature high lap shear and peel strengths, high-temperature performance capabilities, and good chemical resistance. The methacrylate adhesives are particularly well suited for the rapid, reliable bonding of metals, including those with oily and/or contaminated surfaces. For more information, contact Huntsman Advanced Materials Americas Inc., 5121 San Fernando Road West, Los Angeles, CA 90039; phone (818) 247-6210; fax (818) 247-6616; e-mail adhesives_group@huntsman.com ; or visit http://www.araldite.com .

LORD Engineered Adhesives provide exceptional performance and durable bonds to a variety of metal-assembly applications. Lord adhesives offer high-strength bonds to aluminum, steel and other metals; enable crossbonding of dissimilar metals to plastics; enable adhesion to painted and powder-coating metals; replace or reduce welding, bolting, riveting and separate sealing steps; and also reduce noise and vibration. For more information, contact Jason Sanders at (919) 468-5981 ext. 6345; e-mail Jason.Sanders@lord.com ; or visit http://www.lord.com .

MACTAC's GS Series is durable enough to replace the use of most mechanical fasteners while providing sealing and sound dampening properties. Available in a standard thickness of 5-50 mils, GS Series has aggressive tack with gap-filling and moisture barrier properties. Its consistency is ideal for use with substrates such as metal, wood, polyethylene, glass and rigid composites. The material has been used successfully in the transportation industry, where liquid adhesives or rivets commonly slow RV and trailer manufacturing; the number of rivets needed add to assembly time, and the use of liquid adhesives requires parts to be assembled horizontally before being raised to a vertical position. The GS Series provides a time-saving alternative to both. With rivets, GS Series reduces the necessary quantity, providing a smooth exterior surface for easy graphic application. As for liquid adhesives, GS Series allows enough immediate adhesion to assemble vertically without slowing product line speed. For more information, phone (800) 328-2619 or e-mail MACtactechnical@MACtac.com .

A new, thicker gauge polyurethane foam bonding tape has been developed by SAINT-GOBAIN PERFORMANCE PLASTICS. The new product provides added energy dissipating qualities for use in demanding applications. Part of the trusted V2800 series, this new closed-cell urethane foam is 0.090" thick and has the company's aggressive acrylic adhesive on both sides. This new thickness is being offered in response to industry demands for a bonding tape for large-gap joining that will provide added stress-absorbing properties. Normount bonding tapes are used in a variety of industrial and automotive applications in place of mechanical fasteners. For more information, e-mail brian.s.luke@saint-gobain.com or phone (518) 686-6195.

SCAPA NORTH AMERICA has introduced Scapa AS1160TP-PE, a clear solid acrylic tape that provides excellent adhesion and long-term holding power on a range of substrates. The product is formulated for general-purpose bonding, mounting, sealing and product assembly. It delivers excellent aging and weathering properties with its resistance to solvents and moisture. The product also provides high adhesion to many substrates and offers excellent long-term holding power. For more information, contact Scapa Applications Support at (800) 653-5316 or visit http://www.scapana.com .

UNISEAL 2628, a two-component, low-temperature induction heat responsive structural adhesive, was developed for hemming oily aluminum and/or steel panels in deck-lids, doors, and hood assemblies. The OEM engineering performance requires the closure panels to be locked up immediately after heat induction. One-component adhesives generally soften during the bake, which results in closure panel movement. 2628 develops sufficient strength prior to the oven bake, enabling the closure panel to maintain dimensional stability. A unique feature of this product is that it contains a "taggant," which helps the user achieve a consistent mix ratio during manufacturing. For more information, phone (812) 425-1361.

BTI Update

By Lawrence D. Sloan, Senior Director, Membership & Strategic Initiatives, The Adhesive and Sealant Council, Inc., Bethesda, MD

Over the past 18 months, the BTI coalition has developed an impressive body of market research into identifying and selecting key targeted markets for future growth. Last year, ChemQuest conducted focus groups across multiple industries to obtain current perceptions about adhesives voiced by end-users, designers and engineers. Based on ChemQuest's market research, the coalition selected 19 key markets in construction, automotive and general industrial assembly considered to be the most economically attractive for adhesive penetration. ChemQuest is currently developing "value-chain analyses" to quantify the costs of using mechanical and other types of incumbent fasteners in various applications. From these analyses, cost models are being developed (a beta test version is slated for completion this summer) so that coalition members can help potential customers quantify the costs of switching from their incumbent fastener to an adhesive. Other efforts developed to assist designers include work on an adhesives CAD/CAM element.

And now, under the Adhesive Fastening Institute (AFI) name, the BTI coalition is developing articles documenting industry success stories, with the intent to communicate reliability and durability of adhesives subjected to rigorous duty. These articles will appear in various trade publications representing the BTI target markets.

Plans are now under way to make AFI the one place for end-users to turn to for information. ASC is pleased to take a leadership role in our industry's efforts to further educate the marketplace, and help provide the design tools end-users need to make properly informed decisions when selecting adhesives or sealants for their next bonding application.

With the first phase of work set to close at the end of this year, the BTI Coalition is now making plans for its areas of focus for 2005 and beyond. We will continue to update the media as a project plan is developed.

For more information about the BTI program, contact Lawrence D. Sloan, The Adhesive and Sealant Council, Inc., 7979 Old Georgetown Road, Suite 500, Bethesda, MD 20814; phone (301) 986-9700 ext. 111; fax (301) 986-9795; e-mail larry.sloan@ascouncil.org ; or visit http://www.ascouncil.org .

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