Reaching the Best Adhesion
Adhesives Research, Inc. is a product developer and manufacturer of world-class, pressure sensitive adhesives, tapes, coatings, specialty films and laminates. Business manager for its splicing division, Bonnie Richter, offers her 20 years of insight.
What are important points to ensure optimal adhesive usage for flexible packaging?
In the flexible packaging industry, splicing performance plays a vital role in maintaining efficient through-put for converting processes under varying speeds and process conditions.
While a number of adhesive choices are available for core starts and splicing applications, such as spiraled masking tapes or liquid glue, the use of pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) splicing tapes offer flexible packaging manufacturers and converters a number of benefits. PSAs deliver consistent, immediate bonds with minimal preparation, no adhesive dry times and eliminate liquid splash to finished product, all of which improve both down time and clean-up time. A PSA splicing tape used in place of a liquid adhesive allows for uniform thickness of the adhesive during application without the need for application equipment, specialized storage or the use of solvents.
There are a number of factors to consider for ensuring that the proper adhesive is selected for the application. For this reason, flexible packaging manufacturers and converters will benefit most by working directly with a qualified adhesive consultant who can thoroughly evaluate the manufacturing or converting process and the substrates to be spliced. Additionally, manufacturers and converters can eliminate the guesswork in selecting the right product(s) to trial, based on performance data and studies conducted in reputable research and development laboratories.
Three key conditions to consider when selecting the proper product for a particular processing line are heat, shear and adhesion/bond to the specific substrates to be spliced. Also, as manufacturers and converters are pressured to perform with higher through-put, line speed has become an important factor in selecting the right adhesive for optimal performance. A splicing tape expert can offer important insight on which adhesive formulations and coat-weights are best suited for particular substrate classes based on the line speed and process conditions.
Are there instances where poor adhesion can be altered and saved, or is it a ‘what's done is done' situation when adhesives do not work as designed?
As mentioned previously, working closely with an adhesive or splicing tape specialist who understands the process of a particular equipment line to specify the appropriate product for the application is the best way to identify problems and offer a solution so the right products are on-hand to ensure optimal process performance. In most situations, a splicing challenge can be addressed by our full line of splicing tape products. However, Adhesives Research does utilize extensive in-house R&D capabilities to modify existing adhesive technologies to address unique application requirements in the industry.
What kinds of trends are emerging in the adhesive sector?
This year marks Adhesives Research’s 50th anniversary of providing customized adhesive products. Over this time we have successfully addressed the evolving trends of the paper and packaging industry. We are consistently working with customers to ensure address their need for competitiveness in regards to reducing costs, faster through-put, enhanced quality, reduction of waste, less downtime and consistent splicing tape performance. From a global perspective, Adhesives Research works closely with our US-based customers who are expanding their business internationally to offer them the same support, service and quality products from our multiple global facilities.
As flexible packaging manufacturers and converters invest in new machinery or retrofit existing lines, a re-qualification of the core start and splicing tapes should occur to maximum performance. Often millions of dollars are spent on new machinery but it is assumed that the tapes used on the original machinery or in other areas of the plant will successfully perform on new upgraded equipment, which is often not the case when line speeds increase. To avoid lost profits from machine and manufacturing downtime, the best advice I can give is to make sure the appropriate splicing tape is tested for optimal process and equipment performance.
What additional technologies could be used for the best adhesion?
As the industry continues to push the boundaries of speed, technologies that deliver higher bond performance are becoming crucial in the effort to meet the ever-changing needs in flexible packaging. AR offers a complete product line of high-performance splicing tapes for the flexible packaging, converting and paper industry, so a product or adhesive technology is available for a wide range of splicing applications. Our double-faced splicing tapes range from 2 mils to 8 mils in caliper to address the industry’s varying splicing needs. The tape constructions include polyester or paper carriers, and transfer adhesives for ease of tearing versus cutting during splice set-up. While quick-stick PSA tapes are seen as a key product, new technologies such as heat-activated and UV-curable adhesive tapes are also proving to be a viable splicing alternative for specialty substrates.
What new and exciting news does Adhesives Research have to share with the flexible packaging industry?
Adhesives Research has an excellent relationship with our customers and the OEMs to understand the current and future trends in the industry so the company can continue to offer the right mix of high-performance splicing tapes to our clients for cost reductions, faster quality throughput and continuous running with successful flying/automatic splices or manual splices.
Some of the newly introduced products include:
- High coat-weight double-faced splicing products for splicer speeds in excess of 1500 fpm
- Hi tack/low tack double-faced core starting tapes
- Double-faced split tape
- Ultra-thin transfer adhesives
- Heat-activated single- and double-faced tapes
- Indirect food contact splicing tapes
- UV-curable adhesive technologies
Adhesives Research, Inc.