ASI asked Monica Hammer, marketing director, North America, for Avery Dennison Performance Tapes, to discuss the drivers of innovation at the company. Hammer outlined the value PSA tapes can provide the ever-growing EV market, the key value of sustainability within Avery Dennison, and how the company is developing technologies to help clients reach their sustainability goals.
ASI: Are there any drivers of innovation that have become more important in the last few years?
Monica Hammer: As EV batteries continue to evolve so are the pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) tapes engineered for this critical application. Tape manufacturers are working closely with OEMs, tier suppliers, and converters to ensure that they continue to meet the needs of the industry as new designs and innovations are developed.
Pressure-sensitive materials are suited for providing solutions for some of the most vexing challenges that have faced battery pack manufacturers as they have raced to improve their technology.
Safety, for example, is the number-one priority of battery manufacturers and their customers. Flammability issues with lithium-ion batteries can endanger drivers, lead to expensive recalls, and erode consumer confidence in electric vehicles. PSA tape solutions designed specifically for EV batteries, such as Avery Dennison’s Flame Tough™ acrylic, rubber and silicone-based solutions, provide protection against thermal runaway, allowing composites and materials to meet UL® 94 V-0 and other flame requirements. These solutions offer the flexibility to work with all cell types and a range of materials.
There is one more application for PSA tapes that deserves mention. Although the tapes aren't being applied within the battery, internal combustion engines have masked vehicle noises that are now becoming an annoyance for electrical vehicle owners. PSA tapes are already used throughout the vehicle in buzz, squeak and rattle (BSR) applications and now the sources of noise are no longer masked by the engine, new areas requiring mitigation have emerged.
ASI: How has increased demand from consumers for more sustainable products influenced your product development goals?
Hammer: Sustainability is at the forefront of everything we do at Avery Dennison and is one of our key company values. As a leader in the industry with a presence in many global supply chains, we are uniquely positioned to not only support our operations but also our customers and suppliers. We continue to make progress against our 2025 sustainability goals to have 70% of our products conforming to or enabling end products to conform to our Sustainable Advantage principles. We have also set new 2030 goals that focus on delivering innovations that advance our circular economy, reducing our environmental impact in operations and supply chain, and making a positive social impact by enhancing the livelihood of our people and communities. Our 2022 report on progress towards these goals can be found here.
We also foster a culture of innovation, bringing together cross-functional teams to provide the best possible solutions for our customers — and sustainability is at the core of these solutions. One example of an innovative solution is the emulsion acrylic tape used in a variety of applications. These adhesives offer good overall performance with the added benefit of a solvent-free coating process that results in lower levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and odors in the final product. We continue to evaluate the use of alternative materials and technologies to minimize harmful emissions to the environment. With an increasing focus on the environment and emissions, each new PSA tape solution strives to meet higher sustainability standards than the last.
ASI: How have digital technologies changed the way you do business and respond to customer needs?
Hammer: In an effort to simplify and make the adhesive selection process easier for users, in 2022, Avery Dennison launched its digital Core Series™ Portfolio Tape Selection app that was designed to make it easy for brands and converters to identify a variety of adhesive technologies best suited for their applications. The portfolio features a full breadth of adhesive technologies in a variety of tape constructions to enable simplified product selection and rapid quoting.
The portfolio was first launched as a printed hard copy and then developed into a digital platform to meet ever-evolving client needs.
ASI: Looking to the future, what do you see as some possible new trends that will facilitate or motivate innovation?
Hammer: As the marketplace focuses on renewable and alternative energy resources, solutions will be required for the many design and functional challenges engineers will encounter along the way. Engineers in segments such as EV batteries (for all forms of transportation), autonomous vehicles, solar energy, and wind energy, will have the ability to lean on the bonding power and functional characteristics of PSA tapes to aid the rapid development of their products. As a leader in the PSA tapes category, we are already working with many organizations involved in the energy sector.
For more information about Avery Dennison, visit www.averydennison.com.