Manufacturing has, and continues to, develop - resulting in the formation of new materials with diverse applications. Such changes have posed many challenges. One in particular is finding a method in which joining different materials is possible, without them losing their individual beneficial properties. Subsequently, professionals have raised the question; which joining technique ensures that the materials properties are retained? Traditional joining techniques are unfavourable due to its many well-known disadvantages. Thermal techniques such as welding pose the problem that the materials will alter within the heat-affected area. Mechanical techniques tend to weaken the materials through drilling holes in the work pieces. With many techniques providing obstacles in the development of joining, it is time to look at another form of bonding which is slowly taking prominence in the workplace.
With the emergence of the chemical industry and synthetic compounds, a new range of adhesives have been made available. These adhesives are specially designed with unique properties in mind; some are instant adhesives, some are water-resistant and some can be removed easily without creating damage.The use of adhesives in production, unlike other techniques, allows the material's properties to be retained. For example, it allows the use of high performance plastics to obtain high strength - therefore it is used to bond aerospace and aircraft wings. Where heat induced techniques provide weakness, adhesives do not have this problem and are often used instead - they are often used in vehicle assembly to apply flanges to doors, boots and bonnets. Another advantage is that no damage occurs, unlike when screws are used. This is applied in car manufacturing, where adhesives are used for key corner bonding in windows.
As mentioned above, adhesives are commonly used in aircraft manufacturing. The need for weight saving was initially the driving force behind the increase in the use of adhesives. And the result? In a modern Airbus aircraft, roughly 30% of all components are joined using adhesive technology. It is not only aircraft manufacturers that are embracing modern bonding technology; in the car manufacturing industry, classic joining techniques are being used in combination with alternative adhesive bonding. In some instances, adhesives have completely replaced previously used techniques. Adhesives are increasingly being used as structural materials. The cars of today can contain up to forty feet, or one hundred and fifty meters, of bonded joints in the body construction. What makes adhesives so desirable? It produces optimized designs with improved driving performance;it helps save weight and lowers the cars susceptibility to corrosion.
It is easy to see why adhesive suppliers are constantly in demand. A new form of bonding which aims to maintain a material's characteristics creates a strong bond without added weight and is in many cases water-tight. It almost sounds too good to be true! It is therefore assumed, and rightly so, that adhesive technology will continue to take on an ever important role within the industry in the near future.