By Ruchi Pandey (Senior Technical Manager), Industrial Adhesive and Tape Division, 3M India Ltd.

Introduction

There is a growing need for adapting to materials and manufacturing processes that minimizes the negative impact on the environment by conserving energy and natural resources, with increased safety of employees and the society are the need of today. The other trends are reduction of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like toluene and xylene as well as aldehyde example formaldehyde, emitted from the materials, vehicle cabin components, or adhesives used for bonding. In the transportation space, though regulations are different from an automotive car, bus to rail and they differ from country to country and in some case are nonexistent. There are a few automotive associations like the Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) or German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA278) have initiated a campaign to reduce VOCs to make the cabin environments more comfortable.

The paper highlights some of the initiatives from 3M to support automotive and commercial vehicles segment with greener bonding solutions driving a sustainable process with respect to manufacturing.

3M Low VOC Adhesive Tapes for Automotive Interiors

3M has been a technological leader in adhesive technology for more than 80 years. Adhesives are engineered to fit specific needs, covering diverse applications as aeroplanes, automobiles and mobile devices, and in environments from hospitals to offices to homes. The Acrylic PSA technology has been further engineered to develop solutions that have very low volatile organic compounds (VOC), and are designed to meet various industry specifications and drive passenger safety.

Volatile organic compounds like Toluene, Xylene, Formaldehyde are harmful to human health therefore many automotive manufacturers do not want to have any materials that emit these harmful organic compounds. Automotive industries follow regulations set by JAMA or VDA278 which defines the limits and restricts usage of such materials, In-fact VOCs are considered the main reason for unspecified sicknesses like sick house syndrome and chemical sensitivity.

Understanding the need of the industry and preparing for it with the solutions is one of the key elements to drive relevance in the market. 3M PSA solutions, which is a cured form of adhesive, do not have any adverse environmental impact. Adhesive tapes are manufactured using state of the art technology where no solvents are being used during the process. 3M has a broad portfolio of Low VOC and Low FOG products that meet either JAMA or VDA278 guidelines and meets most of the OEMs internal specifications too. Extensive studies have been done to establish the performance of these Low VOC and Low FOG tapes to various substrates used in automotive industries. 3M Low VOC and Low FOG tapes meet all the performance criteria specified by most of the OEM’s in the industry.

 

Sustainable Adhesive for Vinyl Floor Bonding in Bus/Rail and Other Commercial Vehicles

Most widely used technologies available today for vinyl floor sheets bonding in the transportation industry like Bus/Rail market is the solvent-based rubber contact adhesives which give quick grab and bonding at a very competitive cost. However, the solvent content, especially with toluene, makes this adhesive a bit more challenging as the industry is trending towards a clean sustainable manufacturing process and it has safety risk associated with this due to the probability of catching fire at the storage or while applying. Continuous exposure to solvents is another health hazard and reduces workplace safety.

3M Water-Based Adhesive Offers Both Strength and Speed

To meet the needs of customers who want the speed and strength of solvent-based adhesives without their unfavourable safety and environmental profile, 3M has developed a new water-based product called 3M™ Fast Tack Water Based Adhesive 1000NF.

“To create 3M Fast Tack Water Based Adhesive 1000NF, product developers and scientists went outside the box to design a new kind of sprayable adhesive. It isn’t just a reformulated product or line extension,” it is an entirely new development. “3M has never before offered a one-part water-based adhesive that has combined this level of performance with very fast tack times, and we feel it’s not only unique to us but unique to the market as well.”

It offers higher solids than the traditional material in the market, so the customer will get more. Potential for one surface application means higher throughput and productivity. Its unique formulation allows for use on a variety of various substrates.

Potential ‘game-changer’

Solvent-based adhesives are popular with industrial users because bonds can be made quickly and they have good adhesion performance. However, they also come with drawbacks including flammability and the potential for exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Many customers from industries like furniture manufacturing, woodworking, foam bonding, and speciality vehicle manufacturing would prefer water-based adhesives, but these products have often been perceived as offering inferior speed or inferior strength. 3M Fast Tack Water Based Adhesive 1000NF is specially designed to address these concerns by providing a unique combination of fast bonding, repositionability and high ultimate strength. These characteristics have never before been captured with just one product, which positions this product as a “game-changer” in the market.

Materials make the difference

The new adhesive’s high level of performance is due to its use of a proprietary 3M technology for creating pressure-sensitive adhesives (PSAs) Similar to PSA tape, 3M Fast Tack Water Based Adhesive 1000NF becomes tacky quickly for forming immediate bonds. It then leverages proprietary cross-linking technology, which builds even more strength with time.

Depending on the materials being joined, the adhesive can achieve handling strength almost instantly, yet remain repositionable while still wet. Furthermore, it is non-flammable, contains zero VOCs* and is GREENGUARD Children and Schools Certified (SM), adding additional benefits over traditional solvent-based options.“3M Fast Tack Water Based Adhesive 1000NF offers the best of both worlds,” “It’s fast, strong and repositionable, yet safer for users and the environment.”

These two differentiated solutions are expected to bring a revolutionary step-change in the transportation industry as the total process of adhesive application will be simplified, with the added benefits of health and safety during the application. This will help in promoting a greener environment with reduced carbon footprints in the transportation industry.

Sustainability has always been at the core of 3M, introducing such technologies reinforces the sustainability value commitment and also helps industries to achieve their own sustainability goals.

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