Adhesive Applications (Adhesive Apps) is a privately owned, leading manufacturer of pressure sensitive adhesive tapes. With an extensive line of tape products and engineered solutions, Adhesive Apps is a trusted supplier for pressure sensitive adhesive (PSA) bonding, laminating, gasketing, splicing and sealing applications.

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Established in 1970, Adhesive Apps has always been a product and market innovator. The 100,000 ft2 (9,300 m2) U.S. manufacturing plant has multiple state-of-the-art coating lines capable of coating film, foam, foil, paper, cloth, woven and non-woven substrates as well as toll coating customer supplied materials.

Offering a wide range of high-performance foam bonding and laminating tapes and adhesives, and now coupled with internal foam manufacturing capability, Adhesive Apps is a vertically integrated supplier for single-sided, double-sided, and transfer film and foam tapes as well as custom coatings and configurations. Application tested, pre-qualified silicone, acrylic and rubber (solvent and hot melt) tape products are highly engineered and application driven, delivering precision solutions to customers, each and every time. Adhesive Apps products are used in diverse and demanding applications and industries including: aerospace, automotive, medical, building and construction, electronics, appliances, graphics, high temperature masking, marine, NVH (noise, vibration and harshness), powder coating, and other applications.

Figure 1: Success triangle. Source: Adhesive AppsFigure 1: Success triangle. Source: Adhesive Apps

Dedicated research and development (R&D) technical staff create and confirm products are developed to meet demanding requirements. Agile and response driven manufacturing processes ensure that products are delivered on-time, every time. Alignment with customers and relationship development, and an unwavering focus on quality is their recipe for success.

Versatile coating capabilities

Adhesive Apps currently has two coating lines with a third on its way. Although few of the products are “long runners,” output from the coaters is continuous due to a combination of adaptable equipment, efficient process development and production line balancing.

Figure 2: Reverse roll coater. Source: Adhesive AppsFigure 2: Reverse roll coater. Source: Adhesive AppsCoater #1

A reverse roll coater with a 63 inch maximum coating width —the primary role of this coating line is manufacturing polyethylene foam tapes. These tapes include both double-coated and single-coated configurations. The foam tape range is a strength area for Adhesive Apps, and product offerings include a broad range of foam colors and thicknesses with different combinations of acrylic adhesives, rubber adhesives and release liner types.

Although the equipment was initially designed to produce foam tapes, process improvements and equipment upgrades have resulted in a nimble and versatile manufacturing line, capable of quick changeovers to produce other single-sided and double-sided tapes, as well as unsupported transfer films.

Many of our foam tape products are used in window glazing, vibration damping, noise reduction, HVAC, sealing, consumer products/appliances, and general industrial applications, as well as for medical and skin contact applications.

Coater #2

This 63 inch wide reverse roll coating line designed to coat silicone adhesives was initially developed for coating by free radical (peroxide-catalyzed) cure and is also capable of coating by addition (platinum-catalyzed) cure. Consistent with Coater #1’s versatility, this coater is designed to support multiple functions and techniques, particularly with the capability for wet-end corona treatment and priming prior to adhesive coating, as well as a drying oven capable of the high temperatures required for peroxide cure.

In addition to silicone tapes, Coater #2 is also capable of coating acrylic and rubber adhesive chemistries, in single-sided, double-sided and unsupported transfer tape configurations. The equipment is especially well suited to the manufacturing of self-wound tapes, as the same station used to apply primers can also be used to apply a release coating (silicone and non-silicone) to the tape backings.

Silicone adhesives are used for bonding silicone-based materials and extreme heat (up to 500° F, for instance S1001 and SP590) or chemical exposure applications. Product configurations and applications include:Figure 3: These products are used to bond silicone materials to other silicone materials. Source: Adhesive AppsFigure 3: These products are used to bond silicone materials to other silicone materials. Source: Adhesive Apps

  • Single-sided tapes — are carrier supported self-wound silicone tapes, often used for splicing other silicone-based materials or applications where heat is a concern. These products are also used in high heat masking and surface protection applications.
  • Double-sided tapes — are carrier supported products, either silicone on both sides or silicone one side and acrylic on the other. These products are used to bond silicone materials to other silicone materials (silicone/silicone tape products) or bond silicone materials to other non-compatible materials (silicone/acrylic tape products).
  • Transfer films — are unsupported silicone transfer tapes often used to provide an adhesive backing to silicone foams. Since they don’t have any carrier film, these are the most conformable type of tape, and allow for flex and stretch around contoured surfaces.

Coater #3 (commissioning in Q2 2023)

Coater #3 is 100% solids, heated slot die hot melt coating line designed to coat hot melt (solventless) acrylic and rubber adhesives.

The coater will include dual dispensing equipment to process either rubber or acrylic adhesives without risk of cross-contamination. Acrylic adhesives will be crosslinked through UV curing lamps, allowing for thicker coatings as well as the ability to coat temperature-sensitive substrates that wouldn’t be suited for thermal curing. Adhesive thickness will be controlled through a closed-loop system between an infrared gauge traversing cross-web and a set of pumps regulating flow to the slot die coating head. The slot die is also well suited to zone coat with dry lanes in the machine direction, using a custom-machined shim.

In addition to traditional film, tissue, and fabric substrates, the machine has been designed to handle PE foams as well, with the intention of complementing Coater #1’s foam tape product range. Coater #3 will be equipped with specialized corona treatment, a large diameter turret rewind, and an accumulation system to facilitate roll changes.

Of great importance in the selection process for this capital expenditure was the efficiency and environmental responsibility of hot melt coating, as it eliminates the use of organic solvent and associated costs due to freight and incineration. Adhesive Apps is extremely excited about this addition to the company’s capabilities and looks forward to its implementation in 2023.

Coating capabilities summary

In addition to current and future capabilities, Adhesive Apps integrates process monitoring and in-line quality mechanisms to ensure product consistency and performance. Table 1 summarizes the capabilities of Adhesive Apps’ coaters.

Table 1: Coating capabilities — Adhesive AppsTable 1: Coating capabilities — Adhesive Apps

Now, coating capabilities are a “given” for a successful PSA tape company. Consider manufacturing processes and capabilities are effectively half of the puzzle to sustain growth in a competitive industry. So, what’s the other half? And how do you sustain growth?

The other half is expertise, and extensive and multiple industry knowledge. Adhesive Apps’ professional staff have, on average, 20 years of industry experience. Coupled with technical expertise, these attributes allow Adhesive Apps to deliver more than a product, they allow Adhesive Apps to deliver a solution. Every solution is application driven, engineered precisely and answers the question, which is the essence of the job for any manufacturing professional.

How do we solve the problem?

A simple question with a complex answer.

Tape holds the world together… until it doesn’t. No one thinks about tape until it does not do its job. That’s one of the ironies of the tape industry.

There are tens of thousands of types of tape in the world. How do you decide which one is going to hold your product or application together? Fortunately, when customers or users confer with pressure sensitive tape experts, most of the time they do not have to answer that question. Adhesive Apps’ technical team has tested and recorded performance values for nearly all films, foams, fabrics, foils and other traditional and non-traditional substrate materials. Now combine that with hundreds of developed adhesive choices, and it becomes an exercise in combinations for a tape configuration. Sounds simple, right?

Not so fast! There are also other conditions to consider: application temperature range, humidity, forces, lifetime performance requirements, chemical exposure, and more. Without getting into the finer technical points about peel, tack, shear, cross-linking, surface energy, wetting-out and many other performance parameters, the approach here is, in fact, simple. Here’s the scenario:

A customer requests a meeting and provides a performance specification for a tape product. The first thought here is “this’ll be easy” but think about it a bit more and answer these questions:

  • How did the customer develop this specification? Probably from another competitive product
  • Is this customer a tape expert? No
  • Why is the customer asking you for a product if he/she already has one? Because it is not performing as expected
  • Does the customer know what he/she wants? No
  • Even though there is a specification? No
  • So, what do you do with it?

Here’s the difference:

  • Provide a product that is exactly what the specification defines and requires
  • In understanding that the customer is not a tape expert, he/she may not really know what the specification should be. Is it over-engineered? Under-engineered?
  • Provide a product which is higher performance, higher cost, or lower performance, lower cost
  • Deliver one or more potential solutions and let the application drive the product selection.

Whether you are looking for an existing product or potentially requesting a new design, several factors can come into play in the selection process. Adhesive Apps manufactures a wide variety of unique applications for many industries. While Table 2 isn’t comprehensive, it is a great starting point in trying to find an appropriate solution for a particular end use:

Table 2: Product development capabilities. Source: Adhesive AppsTable 2: Product development capabilities. Source: Adhesive Apps

Simple human nature, but often overlooked. Let the customer make the decision, even though you are the expert. Why? Because we all like to feel good about the decision, rather than being told what to do. And now you have an ally and a partner, who trusts you.

Delivering solutions, solving problems, providing expertise and forging partnerships are all core values of Adhesive Apps.

Adhesive Apps — Meeting the challenge every day

Driven by customer applications, with a sharp focus on responsiveness, relationships and a “can-do” approach are the hallmarks of Adhesive Apps. Every customer and every application is unique. Adhesive Apps treats every application as an opportunity to grow and expand a partnership. Solutions for every application — a strong commitment from a growing and progressive organization. Visit their website for more information.