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By Kate Gluck on  8/14/2020

Pressure Sensitive Adhesives Q&A

Pressure Sensitive Adhesives

In our ongoing Q & A blog series, we feature insight from our strategic suppliers that offer performance materials used to solve critical challenges for noise, vibration and harshness, bonding, fastening, sealing, and gasketing.

Today's post features highlighting the benefits of pressure sensitive adhesives, features an interview with Avery Dennison Performance Tapes design and applications engineer, Michael Price.  

Q. In your recent article in Assembly Magazine you state that “Pressure-sensitive adhesives (PSAs) have become a game-changer for demanding assembly applications in a wide range of industrial applications.” Can you explain why that is?

A. The great thing about PSAs is that in addition to achieving a secure bond, they also can help with vibration dampening, protecting against damage in transit, reducing the carbon footprint of shipping, and a lot more.

PSAs present both a lighter weight and in some instances a higher strength solution than traditional mechanical fasteners. Those two characteristics allow manufacturers to use PSAs to securely bond two different parts together without adding weight. This is especially important for the automotive and aerospace industries, as well as home appliances. 

Q. That article was specifically pointed towards manufacturers of large domestic appliances. What are some examples of how die cut pressure sensitive adhesives enhance the aesthetics, performance, and reliability of today’s appliance products?

A.  PSAs help to enhance aesthetics by removing unsightly nuts, bolts and screws, facilitating a smooth appearance. For example, brand emblems on the front of home appliances are typically secured by an acrylic foam tape. Another example is the film sheet that protects your phone or appliance screen during transit, which is a temporary PSA.

While the main goal of PSA tapes is to bond substrates together, they are multi-functional, helping to reduce noise and vibration, hold parts in place, act as heat flow control, mitigate wear and tear due to shock, and more. This allows manufacturers to use fewer parts and improve performance. For example, as PSAs replace nuts, screws, and bolts, they eliminate the need for additional solutions to dissipate heat and/or shock. PSAs also help to create an airtight seal around systems, ensuring optimal long-term performance and reliability of products.

PSAs improve the reliability of parts and products, which can reduce the need for costly repairs, scrap, and  messy glues. 

Q. For those who don’t understand pressure sensitive adhesives, can you explain the different ways they are used? 

A. Today, PSAs are widely used across industries, from aerospace and automotive, to building and construction, to medical applications, home appliances, and more.

PSAs offer benefits beyond just bonding. For example, if a manufacturer needs to meet damping or shock absorption requirements, there is a tape for that. 

Other examples of common uses for pressure sensitive adhesives include:

  • A silicone acrylic tape PSA holds finger touching membranes to cooktop panels. The tape helps the buttons withstand repetitive touching and mitigate shock from going through the system and breaking or cracking other parts. 
  • PSAs hold cell phone screens to the phone, helping to mitigate the shock of a drop and ensuring nothing internal breaks as a result.
  • PSAs hold rear view mirrors to panels on the interior of cars
  • PSAs are used to hold fabrics together in a variety of applications

PSAs can go through many different types of lamination. How an end-use customer is going to apply the PSA, what substrates it will be bonded to, and what method the converter partner will use to laminate and die cut the PSA will dictate what adhesive and liner is appropriate.

Q. Can you give some specific examples/applications of which types of pressure sensitive adhesives are used for?

A. When selecting the right PSA for your application, there are four key questions you’ll want to answer first:  What type of material will you be laminating to?  What is the surface energy of the substrate your customer is adhering to? Are there any other end use application requirements? What tape construction is needed?

Answering these questions is key to selecting the right PSA and ensuring the success of your product. In general, though:

  • When attaching emblems and bonding two rigid substrates together, we might recommend such Avery Dennison foam tapes as AFB 6200 series or FM 2300.
  • When joining dissimilar materials, selecting the right PSA depends on many factors including the surface energy of the substrates you are joining, surface roughness, and more. Once we have this information, we might offer products that have two different adhesives (double coated, acrylic and silicone tapes) such as FT 9302 or FT 8392 rubber acrylic. 
  • For a temporary assembly aid, we might suggest permanent removable tape such as FT 8306. One side of this tape is permanent and the other side is removable. This allows you to easily remove the tape when needed.
  • When sealing, it depends on what type of sealant you’re using. If you need a tape that can withstand chemicals, pasta sauce, and more—you would consider an acrylic type tape such as an HPA, which can withstand a vast array of common chemicals, as well as oil and water.
  • As a lot of gaskets are bonded to a large piece of rubber, we might recommend an AFB tape for gasketing applications. AFB tapes can endure shock absorption over time (for example shutting a car door over and over), helping to dissipate shock through the system.
  • When seeking to achieve heat shielding, such as when parts are near an automobile motor, we might suggest FT 3043 tapes. For applications like HVAC products requiring heat flow control, we might suggest Fasson 0800 or FL 1000, 1007 or 1008 products. These are single coated foil products designed to help with heat dissipation.
  • UHA 0806 tapes help with noise control and damping in dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers. 
  • HPA 1902 and 1905, FM 2300, and FT 3043 tapes are suitable for mounting control panels, depending on what substrates you are bonding to.
  • FT 0400 is suitable for bonding wires in automotive applications.

 Q. Avery Dennison and other tape suppliers often promote the fact that Pressure Sensitive Adhesives and Acrylic Foam Tapes, specifically, are a strong alternative to mechanical fasteners.  Taking an unbiased approach, can you explain why this is the case? 

A. Mechanical fasteners (nuts and bolts) will crack when enough energy is transferred through a system. Foam tapes like AFB or other acrylic foam tapes can both bond two rigid substrates and dissipate energy through shock absorption and dissipation. 

Foam tapes are also so much lighter than mechanical fasteners (nuts and bolts). When you replace 50 or more mechanical fasteners in your application, you have a product that is a lot lighter without sacrificing performance criteria. 

Q. There is more than one kind of PSA. Are there any that work better than others in appliance applications?  What are they, and why?

A. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a universal adhesive. Knowing what your substrates are, as well as what you will be bonding to, laminating to, surface energy of the substrates, use requirements (for example, high heat or humidity, frozen cryogenic systems, etc.), and more will inform what PSA is best for any application. Our Core series product selection tool chart can help with selection.

Q. JBC has published a lot on how to choose the right PSA.  In your opinion, what is the single most important factor to consider when choosing which pressure sensitive adhesive to use in a design application?

A. It really depends on how you answer those four key questions we outlined at the start. It also comes down to what a design engineer is trying to accomplish. 

Q. Why is surface energy so important to understand when dealing with PSAs?

A. Surface energy determines whether a bond is secure, as will surface roughness or texture. One common example of the importance of knowing surface energy is when working with aluminum. Aluminum is high surface energy, so you might select an acrylic tape. However, once you paint aluminum it can become low surface energy, making acrylic tapes less effective. In these cases, you may have to consider rubber tapes.

Surface roughness or texture also affects the bond. For example, a rougher surface will require a thicker adhesive to achieve a secure bond, as it needs to get into crevices. These details can determine the success or failure of your product.

Q. How does an experienced materials converter/die cutter add value to today’s PSA products? 

A. Working with an experienced materials converter/die cutter is key to success. The right converter can make a tough lamination look easy. They can efficiently cut the PSA, reducing scrap and making the most of the material. 

About JBC

As a premier die cutter and flexible materials, JBC Technologies has extensive knowledge concerning the different types of PSAs, the most common reasons for adhesive failureadhesive performance properties, sourcing, laminating, and more. Contact us today  and we can help you determine the right adhesive solution, die cutting process, and automated assembly system for your part or application.

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