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Clark Mehan
By Clark Mehan | Sep 6, 2017
Die-cut adhesives

Mechanical fasteners and liquid adhesives have been used to fasten and hold two materials together for centuries. However, this does not mean that they are the best or most cost-effective option out there. These traditional practices are quickly being replaced by a superior alternative: die-cut adhesives. In this blog, we will help you understand how strong double-sided tapes and VHB (very high bond tapes) can be, and how they can save your manufacturing process time and money.

Two of the most common examples of die-cut adhesives are double-coated tapes and VHB. Both are products offered by companies such as 3M and can be die-cut and converted by GM Nameplate (GMN).

Problems with mechanical fasteners

Mechanical fasteners such as screws, nuts, bolts, and rivets, are often visible and distracting on a device and prevent it from having a smooth, sleek appearance.

Mechanical fasteners require holes to be drilled in your product. The holes made for these fasteners can accelerate corrosion, and therefore decrease the life of the product. When fasteners are under stress or vibration, they can loosen or slide, which exposes unattractive unpainted areas and speeds up the corrosion process even further.

In addition, if the product is used outdoors and subject to rain or other forms of moisture, the fastening holes can also cause leaking. Leaking can allow moisture and other unwanted materials to enter into your product and cause damage.

Problems with liquid adhesives

During the application process, liquid adhesives can be irritating to the eyes and skin, and produce nauseous fumes. In environments like this, respirators and gloves are often needed during the manufacturing process which can be cumbersome.  

When applying two substrates together with a liquid adhesive, such as metals, the bond line thickness can be inconsistent; this can weaken the strength of the bond, as well as alter the true dimension of the part. Push out or “squeeze out” of adhesive can occur, which creates a mess and adds extra time for unnecessary clean up. Liquid adhesives also need time to dry, which holds up the manufacturing process and causes bottlenecks. Lastly, equipment for dispensing liquid adhesives is very expensive and adds extra manufacturing costs.

Solution: Die-cut adhesives

GMN and 3M provide die-cut solutions that can replace mechanical fasteners and liquid adhesives in many scenarios. VHB and double-coated tapes are generally water-resistant and can provide solutions for gap-filling, bonding irregular surfaces, cushioning and dampening vibration, sealing, attaching and hanging lightweight objects, and providing long-term durable bonds. The viscoelastic properties of the adhesives can help to reduce stress, squeaks, rattles, and noise vibrations as well. These adhesives are a great fit for small electronic devices, metal skins, bonding decorative metals, and assembly of devices such as computers, tablets and cell phones.

Assembly is made quick and easy by just peeling off a few release liners, and attaching the two substrates together. These tapes are highly effective in hot, cold, and even humid conditions. Being U.V. resistant, die-cut adhesives can maintain strength and withstand all outdoor conditions for up to 35 years.

Tapes can also be easily placed in areas where it’s difficult to utilize mechanical fasteners. An example of this is in the placement of a small cooling fan in an electrical device. It is easier and more efficient to use small die-cut pieces of tape such as VHB to fasten the cooling fan in place. This can also help dampen the noise from the fan. 

GMN is a preferred converter for 3M products. Contact GMN to discuss how die-cuts can replace your mechanical fasteners, thus reducing your manufacturing costs, bonding issues, and improving the appearance of your product. 

Anna Minzel, GMN
By Anna Minzel | Sep 15, 2016
Custom label with adhesive

When Hy Security, a security gate and accessory company, needed a label for their products, they turned to GM Nameplate. The label was a screen printed part with embossed aluminum. Since the label would be featured on various painted surfaces and textures, an aggressive 3M adhesive was applied.

Adhesives come with varying stickiness or adhesion capabilities. For each product needing adhesion, care should to be taken to determine the best adhesive for the job. Some plastics such as polypropylene have low surface energy. With low surface energy (LSE) materials, a standard adhesive does not “wet out” or flow as well as with the high energy surfaces. Because low surface energy substrates have sticking difficulties, a special LSE acrylic adhesive is used to create a high bond. High surface energy substrates can use standard adhesives to provide a high bond.  

When choosing the right adhesive, it is important to assess the characteristics of the surface. Is the surface rough, coated or flexible? Next, consider where the label or part will be located. Does the part need to hold up under extreme weather conditions or potential tampering? With so many considerations, deciding the best adhesive for your product can be challenging. Use the help of a knowledgeable manufacturer to help with the adhesive selection.   

GMN is a preferred supplier of 3M adhesives and is a Rogers Corporation Preferred Convertor for PORON® and BISCO® materials used for seals and gaskets.