The Hybrids

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Hybrids_design

Apart from the fact that they can pull trains, carry trucks and tractors, perhaps it’s time I said a few more words about what hybrid adhesives really are and what makes them special.

Like many other human inventions, hybrid adhesives came to be as a reaction to the need or, if you will, a problem that needed to be solved. Generally, in the world of bonding there are two main sides of what adhesives can do. On one side there are instant adhesives, based on cyanoacrylate technology, which are easy to use, bond really fast and are therefore known also in consumer, household use and by do it yourself-ers as the so called super-glue. They have their rightful place also in engineering, due to their safe and simple use, quick curing and high performance on plastics which are nowadays one of the most common materials in industrial use. However, they lack in flexibility and gap filling properties.

On the other end of the scale, are so called structural bonders. In terms of chemistry, they can be epoxy, acrylic, polyurethane, silicone or SMP (silane modified polymer) based. Their strongest traits are, apart from excellent structural performance that gives the range the name, high gap filling properties, excellent performance on metals and environmental durability.

From everything said, it’s fairly obvious that the two ranges of adhesives will be used in practically opposite situations. But naturally, the engineering reality doesn’t always fall into one of these two extremes. There are certainly cases when you might need to fill a small gap, while you still need the adhesive to cure fairly quickly. Plastic does not always get bonded to other plastics, sometimes you need to bond it to a metal or a composite material, and you’ll need your part to be durable and resistant to environmental influences.

This reality is what the chemists in Loctite research & development had in mind when they created the first hybrid adhesive. Not only did they succeed in creating an adhesive that has structural and environmental durability, universal adhesion to multitude of substrates and cures fast through high gap, but they also managed in making it one of the safest adhesives to handle in terms of minimised health hazards.

You can choose from several Loctite grades, depending on whether you’re designing something new or repairing existing parts.

Hybrids_repair

 

LED in function of curing adhesives

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LED upgrades blog

When it comes to equipment involved into application of adhesives, we divide it into two main groups:

Curing equipment works on different principles, depending on the type of adhesive you’re looking to cure. One of the most common cases are light curing adhesives which cure under the impact of either UV or visible light. Clearly, one could just leave the parts to the sun to take care of it, but that would take much longer than acceptable in any production process.

The most innovative of curing systems are LED based and satisfy both needs in one. They provide a specific spectral wavelength of i.e. 365, 375 or 405 nm. They consume a very low amount of electric energy. Well established light bulb systems, on the other hand, provide a broader emission spectrum i.e. 220-550 nm. This can be helpful if you need to cure a thick layer of adhesive where longer wavelength (VIS) need to go deeper into the layer. Radiation with a shorter wavelength (UV) will be absorbed at the top layer. Due to this principle you do not get a sun-burn behind a closed window. UV radiation is absorbed and you just feel warm because of the longer infrared wavelength.

The systems vary in terms of area coverage from hand held, spot, line array, to flood systems covering large areas where less precision and more coverage is needed. Nowadays, they come with improved power levels, portability, service life and are optimised for curing an extensive line of adhesives in continuous use (see more in the two example product description sheets.

PDS_CL34_LED_Flood_365_405_en_2017-10

PDS_CL30_LED_Flood_365_380_405_en_2017-10

There are various options of setting up the curing equipment and related accessories to best fit specific needs of a given application, so it’s best to always consult an expert before making any decisions.

Increase durability and efficiency of your waste water utilities

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Bonding in engineering

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Waste water processing plants are something that no city, or large industrial facility like power station, pulp and paper factory or steel plant, can go without. If one went out of function, it would catch everyone’s attention very quickly and most likely lead to significant losses in downtime, penalties or health and safety issues.

One of the main materials that make parts of a waste water utility plant is concrete. Concrete is seen by most people as a very durable material, and that’s fundamentally true, but it’s far from being absolutely resistant to damages. Most usual kinds of damages that can occur on concrete are mechanical and chemical.

Waste water facilities are made of concrete and metal almost in their entirety. Both materials are prone to wear, while metal is additionally threatened by corrosion. The wear damage is caused by abrasive particles flowing through the plant or chemicals used in…

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Savings through proactive maintenance proven in steel industry

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Bao steel infographic

Pumps and related equipment are something I’ve talked about in detail quite a bit. I’m returning to the topic because there is a fantastic story coming from the steel industry in Shanghai where we have actually managed to translate the benefits of using Loctite products in repairs and maintenance, into figures.

Equipment in steel industry is subjected to extremely harsh conditions, and with pumps being one of the most expensive elements in the overall equipment, local erosion presents a really serious problem. Life span of the pumps is reduced drastically and pump parts being scrapped early causes considerable expenses.

Repairing the pumps (and other) parts with Loctite products prolonged their service lives multiple times and saved tens of thousands of euros in energy consumption for Baoshan Iron and Steel Co.. The efficiency of the vacuum pumps was doubled and there were no new repairs needed on them within the next 2-4 years. Feel free to browse through further details.

 

2 component adhesives – secret is in the mixing

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Epoxy mixing article blog

The most typical examples of 2-component adhesives are epoxies (and as of recently, hybrid adhesives) which combine properties of epoxies and cyanoacrylates). Epoxies come in a really wide variety of pack sizes and shapes: from little dual syringes with only millilitres of adhesive in them, all the way to buckets and pails that can contain up to dozens of kilograms of each component.

Much like with cooking, it takes a bit of patience to work the magic and get your two components to merge thoroughly in a chemical reaction that will result in a reliable and durable adhesive. Let’s take the simplest example where mixing ratio is 1:1. It means that each molecule in component A needs one molecule in component B to pair with. Think of it like a dating party to which you invite the same number of men and women and then some of the women don’t turn up. The men that end up without partners may become rather frustrated and will be likely to cause some trouble.

In the same way, if the mixing isn’t thorough enough the adhesive will not cure properly, nor will it develop all the properties it should. It can remain gel-like and the final strength can be reduced leading to risk of failure of the bonded part.

To make sure this doesn’t happen, it’s best to follow a few basic rules:

  • Make sure to follow the prescribed mixing ratio religiously. This is easier when dispensing from a syringe with a static mixer because the dosing of components happens automatically as you press out the product.
  • When dispensing from a syringe with a static mixer, discard the first few centimetres of dispensed material to secure that the mixing starts properly before using the mixture.
  • When mixing components by hand, measure the amounts carefully and always mix a bit longer than advised on the packaging, just to be on the safe side.
  • Observe the colour of the mixture: it has to become uniform all through, with no lighter or darker areas.
  • Never scrape the product off the walls of the mixing container. It’s almost 100% certain that this part of the material hasn’t been thoroughly mixed.

In cases where precision is really of the essence in both mixing and dosing of the applied product, you can always resort to one of the automated solutions or simple equipment pieces that can be of great help.

Think beyond right now when choosing your instant adhesive

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Instant adhesive is something most adhesive manufacturers have in their portfolio, whether it’s just a product or two or, more likely, an entire range. They come in a considerable variety of sizes and formats, and are sometimes marketed more to private consumers while in other cases they are sold strictly to industrial customers.

At the first glance, comparing technical data of several different products, many can appear similar in characteristics, which makes it easy to make the mistake of choosing the cheapest out of the offering. However, it’s really important to keep in mind that:

  1. you don’t purchase the product the moment it leaves the production line, nor will you use it up entirely at the moment you purchase it
  2. the elements you bond together will be in service for a certain amount of time in certain conditions which can affect the properties of the used adhesive

The time an adhesive spends in its bottle between the moment of production and the moment of use can affect different properties. Curing speed is only one of them, but an important one because instant adhesives (it’s all in the name) are often chosen because of the speed at which they cure. Looking at the graphic data below, it’s quite obvious that the level of change in curing speed over time can be very different from product to product. It also shows the level of stability that a reliable brand like Loctite will secure.

graph_CA_curing speed vs age

This is usually the first indication of the product’s stability in its cured form, and of how much you can trust your bond line over time. So, be sure to look at the fine print on the technical data and ask your adhesive expert extra questions, just to be sure.

(Thanks to my colleague Robert Dunkel from Canada for bringing this topic forth!)

Staying in touch

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blog_display bonding

It’s hard to imagine life without smartphones any more. Even though a recent invention, people took to them like fish to water and I would bet anything that you hardly go anywhere without it in your pocket or handbag. Nowadays it’s also a challenge to find a person who doesn’t own a tablet of some sort as well.

Those of you that have been following this blog for sure know by now that there’s some adhesive in it somewhere, otherwise the topic would not come up.

Manufacturers of smartphones, tablets or of anything with a touch screen really, face certain challenges. They are assembling together parts which are really small, often fragile, subjected to heat, moisture or temperature cycling. All of the above already excludes many mechanical joining methods (imagine a phone that had been welded together!!) and poses a rather interesting challenge in front of the mighty adhesives, too.

However, working closely with an adhesive expert in your design phase and selecting products that do meet the requirements, you can ultimately end up with a better product than you expected.

Using the right adhesive in the right place can actually help:

  • Improve viewing experience on your device (by increasing contrast in the sunlight up to 400%)
  • Increase display ruggedness
  • Extend battery life (by reducing light loss due to reflection)
  • Extend display service life
  • Achieve thinner designs

Feel free to explore more, and never hesitate to contact an adhesive expert before making any decisions.