This month’s issue features an article on Making the Case for Solventless Adhesives. While these solventless adhesives sound like the way to go for converting applications - no solvent means no emissions, no ovens are required, much higher speeds can be achieved, and less energy is used - they might not be the end-all solution for all manufacturers. The authors cite ink smears and other unforeseen costs with the technology, such as the up-front cost of a solventless laminator and special meter/mix/dispense pump.
So are the benefits of solventless worth the trouble? As the industry shifts toward “green” and environmental friendliness, this technology might be a wise choice for many converters. However, considering the downward spiral our economy is taking, as well as rises in raw material and feedstock prices - not to mention that it simply costs more to operate a plant and conduct everyday business (have you purchased an airline ticket lately??) - these adhesives might be too much of an investment for smaller companies to justify. Does the ends, in this case, justify the means? Or are companies being forced to invest in this due to customer demand for “green” and to stay competitive?
Let’s get the discussion started with some comments below!