The automotive industry is constantly evolving and seeking new ways to ensure our vehicles are fit for purpose and keep us safe. Implementing powerful and efficient bonding methods is a highly important part of the vehicle production process.
Modern day automotive manufacturers are increasingly using adhesives as their bonding method of choice as they are versatile and offer a huge array of benefits over traditional fastening methods such as welts and rivets. Global car manufacturer BMW produced their streamlined i3 all-electric car using Dowsil (Dow Corning) adhesives in 2014 to overcome any out-dated production issues.
Structural adhesives, hot melt adhesives and adhesive tapes are all commonly used in the automotive manufacturing process and can be found everywhere from the upholstery to under the bonnet. Read on to find out 8 ways that automotive adhesives are revolutionising the automotive industry…
Increase in Eco-Conscience Consumers
There is an increasing demand for cars and vehicles to be produced using lightweight materials to keep the overall weight to a minimum. Traditionally, the exterior material such as steel or aluminium would be welded, and additional weighty mechanical fasteners would be used to join the components. Adhesives reduce interior and exterior weight of the vehicle when used as a bonding method and therefore will maximise fuel economy and lower emissions. This allows for more eco-friendly vehicles to be produced, including all electric cars.
Adhesives offer a stronger bond than welts and rivets as the bonding occurs over the surface area of the joint. As the adhesive distributes its force in a more efficient way, this reduces wear and tear through vibration, impact or contraction and expansion of the material. This is particularly powerful when bonding the exterior or frame work of a vehicle.
Optimal Joining of Diverse Material
Modern streamlined cars are composed of a composite mix of materials including glass, rubber, plastics and metal, and the ability to create strong bonds between these is crucial to the robustness of the vehicle. Automotive adhesives such as structural adhesives and hot melt adhesives can effectively bond a wide range of substrates making them a perfect fit.
Adhesives are highly versatile and can keep up with the latest trends without taking away from the vehicles visual appeal. They are practically seamless once applied and require no drilling or welding. They work particularly well in areas such as the interior fabric seat covers, visors and dashboard components where the bond may be visible to passengers.
Increased production and faster processing times are crucial within the manufacturing industry, meaning that traditional methods can simply take too long. Adhesives such as hot melts are a great alternative as they require very little open and setting time. As parts no longer need to be drilled or mechanically attached when using adhesives, the assembly process is simplified and can allow for a greater turnover.
Bond Hard to Reach Areas
Traditional welding tools cannot reach certain areas of the vehicle, therefore are limited to which elements they can bond. Structural and hot melt adhesives work particularly well to combat this as they can be used to cover a large surface area as well as obscure or tight areas with ease.
Effective in Demanding Applications
Hot melt adhesives are commonly used to bond the car interior such as carpets and upholstered seats which face daily rigorous wear and tear. They are also commonly used in areas such as side and door panelling which require a high level of durability. Similarly, structural adhesives can be used in highly heat-sensitive areas such as within electronic equipment.
Resilient to External Factors
Welts and rivets can often begin to rust when exposed to air or water, which takes away from the aesthetic as well as loosening the fastening. Adhesive tape has become a key component in the attachment of external finishers such as nameplates, wheel trims and spoilers as they have outstanding resilience to external conditions and provide a long-lasting bond. Adhesive tape can also be used in applications requiring low movement of parts or to control noise from vibration.
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