Our editorial focus this month is on what might appear to be three divergent areas: construction, pressure sensitive adhesives (PSAs), and dispensing and curing. It’s interesting, however, that these topics impinge upon one another despite their seeming diversity.

According to a study by The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industrial market research firm, the sealant and caulk demand in the United States is forecast to increase 3.5 percent per year to 2.6 billion pounds in 2006, with market value expected to rise 5.8 percent per year to $6.2 billion over the same period. Value demand will benefit from a continued shift in product mix to higher performance sealants and caulks.

Two construction articles deal with high-performance window sealants that withstand extraordinary weather conditions. In one article, a sealant from National Starch and Chemical Co., Bridgewater, N.J., helps window manufacturers assemble windows that will resist hurricane winds. In the other article, silicone sealants and extruded silicone seals from Dow Corning Corp., Midland, Mich., are key weatherproofing components in an Atlanta high-rise condominium.

Speaking of construction applications and specifically windows, PSAs from MACtac, Stow, Ohio, also penetrate this market. Examples are MACmount for window-glazing applications and MACfilm for bonding the spacer in the assembly of an insulated-glass unit.

Representing PSAs in this issue is an article from KRATON Polymers, Houston. The article focuses on the potential of a hydrogenated styrene block copolymer for PSAs used in tapes and labels.

Last September, Christian A. Simcic, group vice president, Avery Dennison Roll Materials Worldwide, Concord, Ohio, gave an excellent keynote address at Labelexpo Americas 2002, entitled “Global Trends and Market Influences Affecting the Labeling Industry.” Simcic covered industry trends impacting the self-adhesive industry and, more importantly, how we can adapt and prosper in this challenging market environment. He pointed out that private-label brands are the fastest growing segment of the labeling industry, forcing premium brands to differentiate through convenience, like squeezability of the container and the label. Simcic believes that the technologies that will address these needs in the coming two to three years will be PSAs and shrink labeling, and that they will grow at the expense of glue-applied paper labels.

Simcic also says that the labeling industry has developed and employed technologies, such as automatic dispensing, that have enabled the industry to advance, making label products relevant to the packaged-goods environment.

The 2003 Dispensing and Curing Equipment Directory is a great tool for applicators and end users of PSAs and other finished adhesives. The information is organized alphabetically by supplier in an easy-to-read table. This second edition of the directory has been updated and expanded to include information from 117 equipment suppliers.

Two additional articles support the focus on dispensing. One describes how Honda Motor Co. installed a seam-sealing system to increase productivity and flexibility. The other describes a modular, robotic dispenser for small-scale work cells.