Choosing the right adhesive may be a daunting task if you don’t know where to begin. Just exploring all the options might seem overwhelming and time consuming, but ECI has your back as we explain the most important factors to take into consideration when choosing the right adhesive. We will work with you and find out all the information about your unique project so that we can find the right adhesive for you, taking out all of the time consuming searching.
To begin, we must start with a look at what substrate your product is being attached to.
What material is the substrate that you are attaching the project to?
The most crucial piece of information to know when choosing an adhesive is the surface energy of the material you will be attaching the overlay (membrane switch, nameplate, or label, etc.) to. The higher the surface energy, the stronger the adhesive bond. High surface energy materials include metals such as copper, aluminum and tin while plastics may include nylon, acrylic, polyester and polycarbonate. Low surface energy materials include polyvinyl, polystyrene, and polyethylene. For high surface energy materials, ECI suggests 3M’s 467 and 468. These high performance adhesives adhere to most metal surfaces. These are industry standardized for graphic attachments such as graphic overlays and die cut parts. If applying to a low surface energy material, ECI suggests 300LSE which is capable of securing a bond between your project and the substrate you are attaching it to. Not only is it capable of adhering to low surface energy materials such as plastics, but it is also effective with powder coated paints, and lightly oiled metals. ECI also suggests that if you have a textured substrate that you are applying your project to, to choose a thicker adhesive because it will shape and form to the surface of the material. If applying your project to a smooth surface, you can get away with using a thinner adhesive. However, thicker doesn’t always mean better…
Is it horizontal or vertical?
If the product is going on a vertical plane, then the adhesive needs to be a bit stronger in order to hold the weight of the product whereas on a horizontal plane, weight is not an issue.
Environmental factors should also affect your choice of adhesive. The location and usage of the product in its environment is one of the most important factors to understand when deciding what adhesive to choose. Obviously, this includes indoor/outdoor use, but even more important is the use the your project will be involved with, such as medical devices, laboratory instruments, military, farm equipment and food service industry purposes. These are just a few examples of harsh and demanding environments in which the adhesive must perform properly. Understanding not only the industry, but the chemicals, temperature, UV and weather conditions that a product is subject to are a must when choosing the proper adhesive.
What kind of temperatures and elements will your project be exposed to?
ECI suggests 3M’s 467 and 468 adhesives as they can withstand extreme temperatures between -40°F to 400°F. These adhesives are some of the most commonly used in industrial products and they are also resistant to chemicals, ultra violet rays, plasticizers and humidity so no matter what kind of work your project will be undergoing, these adhesives will withstand most of what you throw their way.
No matter what kind of material you plan on adhering your project to and no matter what kind of environment you plan on using it in, ECI will be able to walk you through what adhesives to use. If you need help with the overwhelming options, please let us know and our experienced staff will help you choose the perfect adhesive that will best suit your project’s needs.