Bonding with 3M™ VHB LSE

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By Pam Hane | May 26, 2020
A roll of 3M VHB LSE

Bonding together two substrates is a crucial part of designing a new product. However, some difficulties can arise with traditional bonding methods. For years, mechanical fasteners, liquid adhesives, and ultrasonic welding methods were frequently used to adhere substrates together. While all of these approaches have their merits, each of them can pose significant drawbacks as well.

Mechanical fasteners can damage brittle parts, add time to production, and make the final assembly bulky. Liquid adhesives remove bulk but require long drying times and generate unsightly bond lines. Ultrasonic welding requires specifically compatible substrates and a significant amount of expertise to do correctly.

As an alternative, 3M VHB (very high bond) has worked well for decades in many industries that require a permanent and flexible seal that is easy to apply. Because of its closed-cell construction, it keeps out contaminants, moisture, and light. However, depending on the substrates, some bonding processes weren’t ideal for use with standard VHB. Many low surface energy substrates, such as plastics and composites, required the labor-intensive use of a primer to prepare the surfaces before applying the VHB tape. This added cost, time, and potential safety hazards to the production process.

The 3M LSE (low surface energy) series gives GMN’s experts another option for bonding together these traditionally difficult surfaces. While VHB has been solving bonding challenges since the 1980s, VHB LSE offers a slew of new benefits. Like its standard VHB predecessor, it retains the durability, mouldability, and effectively defends against contaminant and moisture ingress. However, this new variation has a modified acrylic construction that eliminates the need to use any primer before application.

Eliminating the need for a primer on these traditionally difficult-to-bond substrates removes a laborious step from the production process. This markedly improves productivity and produces a higher yield of usable parts. In addition, removing primers from the manufacturing process eliminates potentially hazardous fumes and chemicals, helping to keep everyone in the supply chain safe.

As a Preferred Converter for 3M, GMN’s experts have access to a multitude of different adhesives and die-cut materials. To find out which die-cut solution is perfect for your next product, reach out to our experts.