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Hot Melt Adhesives the Key to Agile Digital Manufacturing

Posted on 9/15/2020 9:16:01 AM By ASC
  

Since the digital world entered the manufacturing one with a bang, bringing with it 3D printing and robotics, there’s been no slowing down. The focus is on flexibility, efficiency, and, above all, the speed of production, which has led to big changes in the materials, processes and adhesives used in production, as well as the way they are applied.

So far, hot melt adhesives, there for work from the time when the initial fused deposition modeling 3D printers clocked in for the first time, haven’t slowed down either. They now allow for production speeds of over 1,200 products per minute in certain assemblies, and are fitting in well in the robotics sector, where non-contact jetting of small dots of adhesives increases accuracy and boosts cycle speed (reaching up to 1,600 times a second) by simplifying the demands on the robot’s software program.

Among the areas in which hot melt is already taking the lead are the production of bezel-less devices, and contributing the necessary high quality bonding and sealing to the assembly of the more than 7,000 cells required by just one electric car, to ensure they withstand the number of recharges expected during the car’s lifespan.

As with most types of adhesives, a lot of changes have been made and new directions taken in the development of hot melts aimed at specialized solutions to specific manufacturing demands. This has led to the development of foamed and reactive hot melt adhesives to increase their performance still further. The foamed ones provide a soft and compliant material for excellent sealing and bonding of permanent assemblies, or for use as gaskets in products which are often opened and closed. Reactive ones, on the other hand, develop high levels of strength, heat resistance, and flexibility, by continuing to increase these qualities after the initial bond is formed, in reaction to the moisture in the air.