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Friday 7.23.21

Best of Both Worlds: In-Process Thermoforming with Adhesive Tape

Manufacturing small runs of custom parts at a high profit margin is the sweet spot for most contract manufacturers. Customization is a perfect combination of creativity and durability. The challenge up to this point was where the sacrifices needed to be made – time, setup, or quality.

As the saying goes: Good, Fast, Cheap – pick any two.

Alamotape® developed a cutting-edge, cost effective adhesive technology for thermoforming dissimilar substrates. Bonding multiple substrates during the thermoforming process has huge advantages over some of the common problems of other methods.

Common Problems:

  • While twin-sheet thermoforming can bond two similar substrates, you still must worry about hollow points and double-wall parts. The process only fuses the layers together at specified press points.
  • You can press individual pieces and bond them later, but then you might have gaps and failures because the pieces weren’t formed at the same time and may react differently to the cooling.
  • Maybe you’ll build a twin sheet press for dissimilar substrates at a significant investment, but do you have the business demand to justify the cost?
  • Plastic sheet extruders can produce the pieces with integrated tie-in layers, but they always want Minimum Order Quantities (MOQ). Does your contract provide enough volume to satisfy the MOQ of your supplier without sacrificing your own profit margin?
  • Pressure sensitive adhesive tapes are easy to use and cost effective, but typically have serious issues at temperature extremes and are not recommended for industrial applications.
  • Liquid adhesives may look attractive, but the chemistry can be tricky to deal with due to evaporation and time-curing concerns around which substrates you are working with and their own chemical composition.

The Cure to the Common Problem:

Thermoset adhesive tapes satisfy all the above requirements without any of the negative attributes. They are cost-effective, consistent, scalable, and versatile. They are designed for industrial applications where temperature, performance, durability, and longevity are non-negotiable. Simple, flexible handling and quick adhesion accelerate the process and optimize the final product. They provide the versatility to fuse multiple dissimilar substrates such as:

  • Metal and Plastic
  • Kydex and ABS
  • Kydex and HIPS
  • HIPS and ABS
  • TPO and ABS
  • Kydex and Naugahyde (Synthetic Leather)
  • Acrylic and ABS

The Process:

Using thermoset adhesive tapes eliminates time and cost from your workflow. Simply apply the tape at room temperature to the first substrate and remove the release liner. Apply the second substrate and proceed with the thermoforming process.

Key Benefits:

  • Excellent bond strength
  • Resistant to moisture and chemicals
  • Cleaner and simpler to use than liquid
  • No high cost of twin sheet machine
  • Two-color option; custom color layering
  • Increased structural stability when cured
  • Low MOQ reduces development costs
  • Time saving to adhere during process

The only decision left to make is whether you need tacky or tack-free tape. There is simply no comparison of the performance and value of Alamotape® Thermoset Adhesive Tapes.

Pricing starts at $4USD per sq/meter. For more information, click here.

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