To ensure robust product performance and meet aesthetic demands, selecting the right method of bonding substrates is essential. But what benefits can adhesive tapes offer to designers?
Mechanical fastenings have been used for many years, suiting a great many applications, but like with most things there are both benefits and disadvantages to this type of fixing. For a start, the application process can be time and labour-intensive, sometimes with the need for holes to be drilled which may cause leaks or weaken the substrate. They are also often visible, which may mar the final appearance of the product, and do not offer anything in regard to sealing, leaving the substrate open to the elements if used outdoors or in aggressive environments.
Finally, the use of mechanical fixings creates points of stress around each fixing – the stress is not evenly spread across the surface, meaning that the failure of a single mechanical fixing can potentially be very dangerous.
There are, however, alternative solutions available for applications where speed is of the essence, appearance cannot be compromised, or the influence of the elements is greater than usual.
Tape adhesives in particular are seeing increased usage through their inherent performance advantages over mechanical or fusion fastening. These offer aesthetic advantages, with cleaner lines and no protruding nails, rivets or weld marks, while their flexibility and durability frequently ensures consistent performance.
These are also quick and easy to apply as they offer simultaneous bond and seal, aid the uniform distribution of stress throughout the cladded surface, and do not require the drilling of holes, leaving the substrate intact.
Modern high-strength products draw on extensive research and development over many years to offer outstanding bonding alongside unrivalled durability and versatility.
Not only do today’s adhesive tapes offer excellent resistance against the elements, but they bond to a variety of materials – including metals, sealed wood, glass, plastics, composites, paints and powder coatings. They are also conformable to allow a perfect bond line between two surfaces with no air bubbles, preventing the ingress of dirt and moisture.
Furthermore, the surface preparation and product application process could hardly be simpler. Usually, the tape is manually applied to the clean, dry substrate and pressure placed on the area with a hand roller. The liner is then removed and the second substrate added.
Further pressure is then applied to the bond areas, with 50% bond strength achievable within 10 minutes, and full strength in 72 hours. Compared to other solutions, these are also less affected by the elements and other external factors. Given the speed of application, costs are further minimised in this area too.
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