Adhesive and laminate manufacturing processes infographic

Our Adhesive and Laminate Manufacturing Processes

If you look around, glue is essential to everyday life. It is used to build furniture, books, plumbing, vehicles, and countless other objects. Early humans began using natural glue 200,000 years ago—birch bark tar to hold stone flakes together. Today, natural glues are still used, due to their cheaper manufacturing and environmental sustainability. However, vegetable or animal-based glues are less resistant to moisture, heat, and chemicals. The term adhesive defines chemical, man-made glue that has specific properties, while glue refers to natural adhesives. Because adhesives contain additives designed for a given application, they have superior durability in those applications.

What is Adhesive Tape?

Adhesive tapes are a combination of an adhesive film, which is the sticky substance, and a backing, or “carrier,” material. They are useful in a wide range of industries to bond materials together without using bolts or welding. In other words, adhesive tapes allow the adhesive substance to perform its function. Many adhesive tapes, Lamart’s included, can be applied at room temperature with merely the pressure of a hand or finger. These are called pressure-sensitive adhesives – and do not need water, heat, or a solvent to bond to a variety of substrates. Lamart manufactures pressure-sensitive adhesives for foam, film, and transfer tapes.

How Do You Manufacture Adhesives?

In order to bond the adhesive to the tape carrier, first the adhesive itself must be created. These methods vary based on the type of adhesive. In general, raw materials are polymerized and specific compounds or resins are added to bring about the desired adhesive properties.

Acrylic Adhesive

Acrylic adhesives are used in automotive applications, popular for their impressive resistance to heat, chemicals, and weather. Synthesizing acrylic adhesive begins with acrylic monomers, the base of many plastics. These monomers are polymerized with a catalyst, allowing them to be combined with functions. There are a few different polymerization methods: solution, emulsion, and UV. Due to environmental concerns, emulsion and UV polymerization are increasingly popular because they do not use organic solvents.

Rubber Adhesive

Natural rubber has a small amount of adhesion, but when it is combined with resins its properties change. Altered rubber showcases improved stickiness, increased strength, and increased temperature resistance. To modify rubber, it is dissolved with solvents, combined with resins and compounds, and then treated with heat or chemical catalysts. The result is a specific polymer, the base of different rubber adhesives. Some examples include polychloroprene, styrene, polysulfide, polyamide, and silicone. These modified rubber adhesives allow for strong bonds with a variety of materials and work well as general-purpose adhesives. However, their attachment can weaken with chemical exposure.

Silicone Adhesive

Silicone adhesives can withstand a wide temperature range, chemicals, and weather. Production of the rubber-based adhesive begins with pure silicon, ground into a fine powder.  This powder undergoes a few cycles of heat reactions, eventually polymerizing. Lamart manufactures silicone adhesives and uses them to create pressure-sensitive adhesives.

Coating Manufacturing Process

The next step is applying the adhesive substance to the backing, also known as coating. Depending on the adhesives and backing involved, substrate development may be necessary—so the adhesive sticks to the material better. This prepping could be physical, chemical, or both. Once the substrate is ready for the adhesive, a few methods of coating are possible: water-based coating, solvent coating, and hot-melt coating.

Water-Based Coating

In this method, a solution of water and the adhesive is created. This solution, consisting of “globs” of one liquid in the other, is then coated onto the backing surface.

Solvent Coating

This technique uses a solvent to dissolve the adhesive solution, thinning it, so it can be coated on the carrier. The solvent is then removed by passing the tape through an oven.

Hot-Melt Coating

To soften the adhesive, it is heated until it melts, and then coated onto the backing. Thereafter, it only must be cooled.

At Lamart, we offer custom adhesive coating for solvent-based adhesives, water-based adhesives, and others. Some of our clients supply their own raw materials, as in a more traditional toll coating relationship, while others choose from our wide variety of products.

Adhesive tape coating infographic

Adhesive Tape Slitting Machine

Lamart has a variety of high-performing equipment to score cut, die cut, and slit your laminate or adhesive product to your preferences. Because once the adhesive tape is complete, it is not ready to be sent to the customer yet; first, it must be cut to the requested size and specifications. Slitting, in general, refers to cutting the wide, factory-made roll of tape down into smaller rolls. A slitting machine accomplishes this, operating extremely sharp circular blades under compressive force to cut the larger roll of material into specified subsections. This is also called score cutting.

Die Cutting

The die-cutting process operates much like a cookie cutter. The needed shape of the adhesive product is drawn, and then this is transferred to a 3D stencil called a die. The die is attached to a press, which stamps the desired shape into the adhesive sheet, like a cookie cutter on dough. This saves production time, increasing convenience and accuracy. For example, the automotive industry uses die-cut adhesives for paint masking. Those adhesives can fit the masked aspects of the car perfectly, increasing convenience and saving time during the painting process.

Kitting and Assembly

Kitting and assembly services add convenience to your projects by delivering products in bulk. Lamart’s kitting and assembly offers reduced production costs, specialized cost-effective kits, and customer support.

Custom Adhesive Production

Overall, producing adhesives is a complex, multi-step process with many variables. At Lamart, we meet every production stage with expertise. Work with the experts at Lamart to produce tapes, laminates, or coatings customized for your project; contact us today!

Craig Hirsh

chirsh@lamartcorp.com
Craig is a third-generation owner of Lamart Corporation with over ten years of experience developing custom-designed products to meet customer specifications and expectations.