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By JBC Technologies on  6/7/2022

Precision Die-Cutting Material Spotlight: 3M Dual Lock Reclosable Fasteners

Die Cut Dual Lock for Automotive Applications

From transportation to appliances, reclosable fasteners are a critical design component for a wide variety of industries and applications. Unfortunately, your typical hook and loop fasteners may not provide enough closure strength for certain industrial applications and traditional mechanical fasteners can slow installation and removal as well as damage surfaces during attachment.

Dual Lock™ from 3M™ is an innovative alternative to both traditional hook and loop reclosables as well as mechanical fasteners,  and it provides a strong, reliable attachment for industrial applications that require repeated opens and closes. We recently spoke with 3M™ Senior Applications Engineer, Pam Vannelli, and Converter Markets Specialist, Scott Piper, to discover what sets Dual Lock™ apart from other reclosable fasteners on the market.

3M™ Dual Lock™: A Strong, Reliable, Reclosable Attachment

Dual Lock™ features unique mushroom shaped (stem with a little cap) heads that slide past each other locking into place with a snap. This forms a very strong attachment that can easily be pulled apart and reclosed up to a thousand times before losing 50% of the original tensile strength. This unique design provides up to five times the tensile strength of typical hook-and-loop products. “Dual Lock™ provides the security of knowing it is fully engaged since you can feel and hear it snap into place,” said Vannelli.

Dual Lock™ vs Traditional Hook and Loop Reclosable Fasteners

There are two major differences between Dual Lock™ and Hook and Loop fasteners—engagement and strength. Hook and loop fasteners create immediate engagement. While that may seem like a good quality, in many industrial applications perfect alignment is paramount. The quick engagement of hook and loop can result in misalignment. Dual Lock™ allows the user to ensure alignment is correct before the product is engaged by sliding it around and then pressing it into place.

In addition, hook and loop can sag when weight is applied. It can shift up to about an eighth of an inch. There are a lot of applications where this may not matter; however, many industrial applications depend on a secure attachment that stays perfectly aligned.

Choosing the Right 3M™ Dual Lock Reclosable Fastener

Stem densities can be mixed and matched to achieve the ideal closure strength. According to 3M™, the best way to begin product selection is to start with 250:250. Evaluate the strength and how difficult it is to engage the product. If it is not strong enough, consider 250:400. If it is too strong, try 170:250.

3M™ advises against using 170:170 because the attachment will be very weak. 400:400 is also not recommended because it may be difficult to fully engage the two sides or disengage them without damage. “Stronger isn’t always better. You want to make sure the product is fully engaged and strong enough for the application, but you also want to be sure that you can easily disengage it when needed”, said Vannelli.

Once you have the right stem density combination, selecting the right product requires looking at the application and the environment in which Dual Lock™ will be used. As with all adhesive products, a series of questions must be answered to arrive at the best choice for each application.

3M Dual Lock Product Selection - As the Right Questions

  • What is the application?

  • What substrate will it be attached to?

  • Will it be exposed to heat, cold, or extreme temperature changes?

  • Will it be encounter chemicals or moisture?

  • How much weight does it need to hold?

  • What tensile, shear and cleavage stresses will it face?

“Once I have the answer to these questions, I can help customers narrow down their selection to find the best one. For example, a rubber-based adhesive is great because it sticks to a variety of surfaces. However, it won’t be as durable if it will have a lot of long term outdoor exposure or any long term chemical exposure, etc. In that case, you would want to go with an acrylic adhesive. Or, if a customer needs high heat resistance and high chemical resistance, but they're trying to bond to a low surface energy material we can discuss using surface adhesion promoters to increase the bond. Simply put, there is no one-size fits all answer, said Vannelli.”

Dual Lock - choose the right product Dual lock stem density combinations

The 3M™ Dual Lock™ Reclosable Fastener Product Family

Dual Lock™ offers different adhesive and color options to meet specific application needs, match design parameters, and withstand temperature and environmental exposure. Here is the complete Dual Lock™ product family from 3M™.

Product Family Adhesive Type Substrates Indoor/Outdoor Use Color (Stems, Adhesives) 170-type 250-type 400-type
SJ3540 Rubber Based HSE, MSE, LSE Indoor Black/Black SJ3542 SJ3540 SJ3541
SJ3550CF Conformable Acrylic HSE, MSE Indoor/Outdoor Black/Clear SJ3552CF SJ3550CF* SJ3551CF
SJ3560 Firm Acrylic HSE, MSE Indoor/Outdoor Clear/ Clear SJ3562 SJ3560* SJ3561
SJ3870 Conformable Modified Acrylic HSE, MSE, Powder Coated Paints Indoor/Outdoor Black/ Black SJ3872 SJ3870 SJ3871

*tested against the DIN EN 45545-2 and R1 requirements for hazard level HL3 the relevant FST Norm for the Rail Market in Europe

Substrate Compatibility and Common Applications 

Dual Lock™ bonds with a wide variety of substrates including metals, glass, plastics, and powder coated paints. It will adhere to low, medium and high surface energy materials.  The wide range of adhesive options also makes Dual Lock™ a great option for joining dissimilar materials.

Dual Lock™ is used across a variety of industries including transportation, appliances, construction, sign and display and general industrial.

Common applications for die-cut 3M™ Dual Lock™ include:

  • Interior Panel Attachments (Passenger rail cars, buses, ambulances, marine vessels and elevators)
  • Removable Access Panels (Water and natural gas valves, electrical junctions, elevator control boxes, and recessed lighting)
  • Mobile Mounting (Windshields, vehicle dashboards, electronics, sensors or trackers, and motorcycle or RV accessories)
  • Signage and Display (Free-standing signage, kiosk assembly, point-of-sale system attachment, placards or retail price tags)

No Tools Required

Dual Lock™ installation is as easy as applying a piece of tape, requires no tools, and eliminates surface damage caused by mechanical fasteners. The pressure sensitive adhesive requires a clean dry surface and firm pressure to engage the product. 3M™ suggests starting with four square inches per pound of dead load.

Converting 3M™ Dual Lock Saves Time and Money

Dual Lock™ is converter friendly and can be die-cut into complex shapes with tight tolerances required for industrial applications. “It is particularly helpful to work with a converter on high volume runs to save time and money. An experienced converter like JBC Technologies can also slit the product to custom widths, add tabs for easy liner removal, die-cut custom shapes, and assemble multiple layers,” said Piper.

Additional 3M™ Dual Lock™ Resources

Convert Your Design Concepts Into Reality With Die-Cut Parts from JBC

For over thirty years JBC Technologies has utilized our engineering expertise and breadth of vertically integrated converting capabilities to turn rolls of flexible materials into custom die-cut parts. As a 3M Preferred Converter, JBC Technologies partners with many industry-leading material manufacturers to provide our customers with the highest quality die-cut products.

Contact us today to learn more about reclosable fasteners like 3M's Dual Lock and about how our custom solutions can help you convert your design concepts into reality.

Recloseable Fasteners 3M Tapes & Adhesives

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