The leaves are starting to turn, the kids are back in school … it must be time for theASI50, our annual listing of the top 50 adhesives and sealants manufacturers in North America. Despite the never-ending talk we hear from the media about our economy slowing down, we have a pretty healthy industry. Of course, how each company defines their success is as individual as the companies themselves; some might have not met certain earnings standards that they set for themselves and found this past year to be less than successful, despite the fact that their sales figures might have been higher than the past year’s.

We listed the top 50 companies in alphabetical order, and included either their 2002 adhesives and sealants sales (when available) or the company’s total 2002 corporate sales. We made every effort to include all qualifying companies — if your company should be included in next year’s listing, please e-mail me at

This issue also includes two articles on medical adhesives (“PSAs: Good Medicine for the Medical Industry,” and “Space Ace”). According to a recent study by the Freedonia Group, demand for medical adhesives and sealants in the United States is forecast to rise 7.5% per year to $1.3 bil. in 2007. This growth is due to the aging U.S. population, who in the future will likely require more surgical and medical procedures than the rest of the population. Dental adhesives will remain the largest application for medical adhesives, although this segment will see the slowest growth through 2007. However, good opportunities exist for newer dental applications; for example, pit and fissure sealants will register strong gains due to their use in the prevention of cavities. For more details on the study, see “Market Trends.”

Mixing and dispensing equipment are essential to the formulation and proper application of an adhesive or sealant. This month’s issue features an article on automated flow-in-place gasketing. This process refers to the use of automation and articulated arm robots to apply a variety of flowable materials to act as gaskets on various substrates. The article “Automated Flow-in-Place Gasketing” discusses the proper material for a given application and how the material is best applied.

“Mixing it Up” provides insight on serial mixing as it applies to the manufacture of hot-melt adhesives. A variety of mixers and blades are on the market to mix medium- and high-viscosity products. Manufacturers should consider their application when deciding which mixer is right for them.