High-tech adhesives tapes and sealants show their worth

Man spraying water based adhesives.Traditional fixing methods such as rivets, screws or spot welding have been used for many years but have now fallen out of favour with many sign makers.

Part of the reason for this is that they add to production and/or installation time, and so therefore increase costs. In addition, drill holes, welding or fasteners can detract from the aesthetic appeal of a sign. By comparison, the latest fixing and bonding options provide strong and reliable cost-efficient assembly and fixing solutions. They eliminate finishing costs such as weld grinding, require little or no investment in machinery, and can produce signs that are of better quality, stronger, have cleaner lines and offer higher resistance to corrosion.

The correct solution is dependent on several factors, including what materials are being used, the sign type and weight, what substrate the sign is to be fixed to; and whether it’s to be a permanent or temporary fixing.

Keeps things clear with new two-part adhesive

3M, the diversified technology company, has launched a new advanced two-part adhesive which offers all the established 3M benefits of strength and ease of use alongside astounding clarity.

3M Scotch-Weld EPX Acrylic Adhesive DP804 offers superior adhesion to plastic and glass surfaces, making it ideal for commercial signage and point-of-sale manufacturers. However, it will also bond most metals and is suitable for any application where a coloured adhesive may detract from overall product appearance.

Offering superb, long-lasting clarity and strength, DP804 is fast-acting with bonded surfaces typically able to cope with manual handling in as little as four minutes. It has been formulated to a viscosity which allows for simple, hassle-free workability. It offers excellent UV resistance with very good ageing properties in warm and humid environments.

The product works without damaging the surface of plastic, meaning screen printing is not affected, while any excess can be removed without leaving permanent blemishes, creating a superclear finish every time.

For further information on 3M’s range of tapes and adhesives, visit www.3m.co.uk/adhesives.

Adhesive tapes

3M’s VHB Acrylic Foam TapeAdhesive tapes are one solution being chosen for an increasing number of different applications.

They provide immediate handling strength and bond quickly, which means fast and easy assembly. Indeed, many people find assembling large signs easier when using tape than a rivet gun. And because adhesive tapes produce a flexible bond, the join is subject to less stress from wind movement, for example, than a rigid fixing such as welding would be.

Adhesive tapes work well for joining different materials, successfully bonding most painted and powder coated surfaces including hard-to-bond plastics. They also stop water getting in to the fixing area, such as occurs with mechanical fastenings and their elasticity reduces vibration and noise.

Possible applications for adhesive tapes appear endless and includes mounting letters, post and panel signs, light boxes, box signs, totems, and fixing fascias, to name but a few.

Several suppliers offer various adhesive tapes; one range that’s widely used by sign makers in this country is 3M’s VHB Acrylic Foam Tapes. A major advantage of VHB tape is that it’s viscoelastic, i.e. it stretches as it absorbs the force applied to the bond and then returns to its original shape.

3M’s range of VHB Acrylic Foam Tapes includes tapes specifically designed to bond at temperatures as low as 0 degrees C, others for fixing to specific surfaces, and a clear tape. Die cut VHB Acrylic Foam Tapes are also available.

Structural and hot melt adhesives

Adhesives generally provide structural strength. Two part component structural adhesives provide quick, economic, clean, precise processing and quick set up times for a low investment cost.

Often, the bond strength is as strong as, or stronger than the materials joined. Two part adhesives are widely used for permanent high strength bonds with materials such as metals, glass, ceramics, wood, technical plastics, and rubbers. Epoxy, polyurethane, and acrylic formulations take different times to cure and have different properties for a variety of applications.

Hot melt adhesives tend to provide fast initial set and handling strength, which helps eliminate or minimise fixturing while enabling speedy assembling.

Temporary fixings

For temporary fixings that can be easily fixed and then removed or updated, one method is reclosable fasteners.

Reclosable fasteners have many of the same benefits of adhesive tapes compared to mechanical fasteners, i.e. clean lines and smooth surfaces, no need for drilling, fast and easy assembly, but in addition, they eliminate alignment issues common with drilling and riveting, and allow rework if mistakes are made.

3M’s Dual Lock Reclosable Fasteners employ hundreds of mushroom shaped stems which interlock when the two parts are pressed together for an extremely strong yet reclosable assembly. 3M says standard Dual Lock is 12 times stronger than traditional hook and loop systems.

Discover 3M’s adhesives, sealants, and more at the website www.3m.com/uk/tag.

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