Adhesives and automation: New solutions for the futureDavid Wilkerson | January 15, 2022
The link between adhesives and automation is getting stronger every day as new products are being created to combat challenges requiring innovative bonding solutions.
Adhesive bonding technology reigns superior over traditional mechanical fastening for countless reasons, One being the ability to join materials and also seal the joint at the same time, thus reducing the construction time significantly. This also reduces the chances of leak paths forming and reduces the weight with the ability to use thinner gauge materials in construction. By replacing welding, adhesives can also reduce the requirement of abrading or refinishing activities, thereby eliminating galvanic corrosion by having electrical and thermal brakes when dissimilar metals are used in the bonding process.
When the right type of adhesives are coupled with automation, it dramatically reduces the challenges and speed of the overall manufacturing process. As manufacturers are challenged with a growing demand for producing more complicated products, they are always looking at improving consistency, precision and quality in their processes. Combining automation with adhesives manufacturing also reduces the levels of waste and scrap, speeds up inventory management, and reduces manual operations altogether.
However, each manufacturing operation is different, so the level of automation really depends on the level of function required to increase efficiency in production. The biggest decision for manufacturers is to decide whether or not the automation should be integrated into the assembly process, and at what level of automation is needed, and how that will affect the scale of adhesives needed to be used with it.
Thankfully, adhesives can be easily scaled to meet all four levels of automation. These start with simple manual tools such as adhesive tapes and adhesive dispensers, which deliver the correct ratios and followed by process assistance with semi-automated tools to improve the productivity of operators using hand-held tools.
At higher levels, they deal with more developed forms of automation, such as a fixed automation handle, which improves speed, consistency and accuracy on the assembly line, and provide very specific actions for operations. Examples of these levels are continuous laminators, conveyor belts for adhesive tapes, roll coaters for dispensing an equal amount of liquid adhesives, and even using robotic platforms for larger operations.
Achieving the right solution involves having solid relationships between providers, distributors, and end users. Having these relationships will result in better effectiveness of automation needs along with the right choice of adhesive for your particular application.