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Adhesive Solutions in Vehicle Assembly

When you think of assembling an automobile or aircraft, you may think of metal fabrication, welding and electrical or mechanical components. Yet, adhesives and sealants play a vital part in virtually every aspect of vehicle assembly.

Consider the fact that adhesives and sealants have revolutionized the way transportation vehicles are being designed and built. Thanks to those innovations, vehicles are safer, stronger and more fuel efficient than their predecessors.

Today, for example, an automobile can contain up to 40 pounds of adhesives for both structural and decorative assembly. Structural adhesives not only have decreased the need for traditional welding by nearly 50%, they are also used in combination with bolting and riveting to seal and prevent loosening. In addition, adhesives are required for many nonstructural applications—from the interior trim seating, flooring and molds to exterior trim such as side molding, ornamentations, lights and mirrors. In fact, about 9% of the total annual adhesive production worldwide, is adhesives used in vehicle construction.

Manufacturers have saved time and money from switching to laborious and expensive welding and riveting. Adhesives and sealants are lighter yet more structurally sound than the classic joining methods, which also makes them more fuel efficient and safer. Thanks to the strength and durability of adhesives, the amount of fatigue and vibrations has substantially decreased and adhesives act as a kind of buffer to provide better protection for passengers. This is why adhesive bonded automobiles continue to perform better in crash tests.

For today’s vehicles, manufacturers use a range of materials in the assembly process including metals, glass, rubber and plastics. Having to adhere to higher safety and environmental standards more than ever before, different sealant and adhesive manufacturers are meeting new demands in the industry by continually developing innovative adhesive technologies. For example, 3M’s ScotchWeld products provide high bond strength to a variety of substrates. These glue products are used for battery construction, fuel tanks, bumper assemblies and other previously difficult-to-bond adhesive applications. In addition, reactive hot melt adhesives are rapidly becoming the adhesive of choice for sidewall construction due to the quality, speed and long-term dependability.

In a world where maximizing safety and design versatility and minimizing production costs are key, sealants and adhesive products truly are the ideal solution for bonding and protecting the diverse combination of materials required in vehicle construction.

Michael Casper, Technical Sales Manager 440-463-4581


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