Manufacturers are always looking for ways to keep ahead of the competition. And with advancements in bonding technologies, they’ve been able to explore new ways in doing just that. Industrial-grade, double-sided acrylic foam tapes such as 3M™ VHB™ Tapes are increasingly being used in place of more traditional mechanical fasteners such as screws, rivets, bolts, and welds—in order to permanently bond components together.
While dynamic loading can cause screws and rivets to loosen or fail over time, 3M VHB Tapes are a proven, high-strength alternative to these mechanical fasteners. Additionally, these tapes provide outstanding durability and performance to withstand water, dirt, dust, chemicals, and other environmental factors. In fact, they do this so well that an airplane manufacturer supplanted the use of rivets to affix the stainless scuff strip onto its wings using 3M VHB Tape instead.
Based on 35+ years of experience in the development, advancement, and use of 3M VHB Tapes, here are the five main reasons manufacturing companies are choosing to “stick” with tape.
Immediate Handling Strength: 3M VHB Tapes are fully-cured pressure sensitive adhesive tapes. In most applications, immediate handling strength is obtained after application of pressure (>15 PSI) allowing the bonded part to be further processed, handled or packaged. At room temperature, approximately 50% of ultimate bond strength is achieved after 20 minutes and 90% after 24 hours. This flow is faster at higher temperatures and slower at lower temperatures.
Reliability: The use of durable acrylic foam, which is viscoelastic in nature, provides energy absorbing and stress relaxing properties which provides these tapes with their unique characteristics. The foam core absorbs and dissipates energy and disperses stress, making it ideal for many demanding applications – including window, door, and sign assembly; electronics; construction; transportation and countless other uses.
Improved Appearance: Unburdened from the prominence of exposed mechanical fasteners, product designers can leverage the flexibility of tape to expand the range of material options available for more aesthetically-pleasing concepts. In addition, this allows for lightweighting opportunities and reduction in material thickness (and related cost) that is not possible with mechanical fasteners or welds.
Stress Distribution: Given its high-performance and functionality, 3M VHB Tape can be used for attaching a wide variety of bonding applications. In many situations, they can replace rivets, spot welds, liquid adhesives and other permanent fasteners. Because stress loads are spread across the entire tape area, rather than at one specific point like with traditional mechanical fasteners, tape is decidedly more versatile. Among the many viable bonding substrate options are a variety of metals, plastics, glass, composites and much more.
Increased Productivity: Time is money, in any business. But especially on the production floor. What company doesn’t want to bring their products to the market faster and more efficiently? Easy-to-use, peel-and-stick tapes can help assemblers work faster and increase throughput, thus decreasing labor hours and lowering manufacturing costs. In fact, it enables one architectural panel manufacturer to fabricate architectural panels five times faster than its competitors.