Adhesive and Sealant Selection Guide for OEM Paint, Trim and Final Assembly Shops - Developing a Useful Guide for the Industry

Posted on 10/25/2018 11:13:41 AM By Dan Daley

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The challenge in developing a useful guide involves balancing comprehensive coverage of in-scope topics without inevitably getting lost in the proverbial weeds.

Buyers and end users of adhesives and sealants – who are new to adhesives technology – understandably want to learn all they can about chemistries, resin types, application methods, performance properties, dissimilar substrates, engineering practices and formulated products on the market. Having spent over thirty years as the Senior Materials Engineering Manager for a major OEM truck manufacturer, I enthusiastically accepted the leadership role in ASC’s Growth Task Force, which involved taking the lead to develop ASC’s recently released resource for adhesives’ end users, Adhesive and Sealant Selection Guide for OEM Paint, Trim and Final Assembly Shops.

My newfound role in this project was reminiscent of an earlier time in my career as a new and inexperienced user of adhesives and sealants. I can still vividly recall having to painstakingly work through each adhesive and sealant application without the benefit of my current knowledge. My challenge was to make sense of a patchwork of internal documentation – material specifications and application instructions – which I worked through with our line support engineers. The goal was to ensure we were complying with engineering intent while refining our applications and documentation for continuous improvement. The application instructions went from older, hand-drawn drafting artwork quality to “new” CAD 2D line drawings, which were virtually useless and impossible to decipher. We went through various iterations of technology and new engineers trying to decipher the last set of instructions that looked good at the time. I recall continually being disappointed that, at the end of each project, our internal documentation wasn’t nearly as comprehensive as it could be.

Consequently, as I moved up in the ranks, training and developing new engineers and chemists, I made a point of assigning my team the task of thoroughly learning every aspect of our internal process, including materials, testing protocols, and specifications, as well as becoming well acquainted with all external resources such as supplier sales reps and technical support. While we continually strived to improve our internal documentation, it tended to remain inadequate (i.e., it didn’t measure up to my standards) because our business priorities led us elsewhere.


In today’s complex (and lean) manufacturing environment, material engineers are similarly juggling too many responsibilities with even fewer resources. Given that experienced engineers and chemists are retiring or taking other opportunities at significantly higher rates these days, knowledge transfer seems more elusive now than when I was coming up through the ranks. In essence, I am paying forward to the next generation of end users what I didn’t have access to over three decades ago.

That said, the scope of the ASC’s guide was more than a little daunting to me. Our challenge in developing the guide was balancing comprehensive coverage of in-scope topics without inevitably getting lost in the proverbial weeds. Each slice of this guide has much more technology behind it than is presented. Please dig deeper with the help of your suppliers. 

I sincerely hope we struck the balance for which we strived, and that the guide will amply serve materials engineers and OEM shop personnel for the next decade. Equally important, I hope the guide will spawn and renew interest in materials engineering among readers and inspire continued study among shops dedicated to painting, trim, and assembly of the highly technical aspects of adhesive bonding and sealing.

To obtain your free download, click here:  Adhesive and Sealant Selection Guide for OEM Paint, Trim and Final Assembly Shops

Let me introduce ASC’s Guide below.  I welcome your feedback on ASC’s Guide’s content and scope.  Please leave your comments and suggested areas of improvement in the comment section of this blog post.  Thank you for your interest, and I look forward to hearing from you. 



The ASC OEM Paint Shop, Trim, and Final Assembly Adhesive & Sealant Selection Guide is an extension of the ASC OEM Body Shop Adhesive and Sealant Selection Guide picking up the process as the body-in-white (BIW) is processed through prime and enters the main paint shop processes. While significant body structures are bonded and sealed in the body shop, important structural, sealing and performance systems and enhancements continue downstream in other shops. In many cases the adhesive and sealant applications may be performed in the OEM assembly process or in a sub tier supplied to the assembly plant finished ready for paint or finished to color. 

This guide discusses the type and function of adhesives, sealants and related materials in the manufacture of vehicles in the transportation market. The guide further discusses typical test and development considerations for significant application in these areas. All applications cannot be covered comprehensively within the scope of this document and should be further  addressed with the assistance of your materials suppliers. 

Transportation – specifically ground transportation (not marine or aerospace) – defines the segment. Typical markets with common methods and materials include but are not limited to automotive and commercial vehicle (CV) usually defined as truck, bus, construction, agricultural equipment, trailers, and body builders. While industry commonly distinguishes between “Automotive OEM” and “Others” – the true distinction is “Volume” and “Capital.” By volume, we are simply distinguishing between high and low volume processes. Volume and vehicle application equally drive the selection of materials, tooling, and process. Whereas automotive OEM should be interpreted as a high-volume, highly capitalized process, non-automotive or commercial vehicle OEM applications are viewed as low volume, low capital processes.

Download the entire guide HERE


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