Reactions and trends of the market in the use of hot melt adhesives (Part II)
Faced with the international geopolitical situation, companies which use industrial adhesives are beginning to react, and new market trends are appearing. Meler reviews how its suppliers, partners and clients are experiencing this period of crisis.
Reactivity as a business strategy against the crisis
Europe has entered a period of violence and uncertainty in which all sectors have been affected. Many companies are being forced to close due to energy costs, and others are doomed to do so due to the inability to procure the raw materials essential for their activity.
But what is the situation experienced by our clients? How can the impact of this situation on their businesses be measured? The previous article of this blog highlighted the volatility of hot melt adhesives derived from petroleum, mainly EVA based hot melt adhesives, and how scarcity was affecting the procurement of different sectors. What strategies are hot melt adhesive users implementing? What trends are detected by the Meler commercial team?
Trends in industrial adhesive application
With the intent of avoiding the volatility of adhesives derived from petroleum, end users are launching new R&D projects to reassess the efficiency of their production processes.
“It must be taken into account that a complete industrial adhesive application system entails a high initial investment; however, in the long term, adhesive consumption makes a difference. There lies the importance of choosing the equipment of an installation correctly.”
(Focke Meler Product Manager specialised in the Product Assembly sector)
In many sectors, the following trends are observed:
- Considering other types of adhesives or introducing production changes:
Faced with the difficulties of procurement of EVA based hot melt adhesives, some manufacturers are looking to other chemical compositions which, despite having a higher price, are not subject to such high volatility.
Íñigo Erostarbe, Commercial Technician of Leuenberger Iberia, S.L(development and production of industrial adhesives) notes a greater concern with efficiency in the use and dosing of adhesive. “In the last 30 years, there has not been such an excessive increase in the price of components. At this time, clients are interested in everything that may entail savings, in bonded units and in costs associated with maintenance,” he explains.
Below, we list some of the production advantages of the different adhesives becoming a trend, compared with the copolymer of ethylene and vinyl acetate (EVA):
- Lower volume of application with great adhesive power
- Good adhesion performance at low temperatures
- More controlled viscosity (prevents threads)
- Excellent stability against extreme temperatures
- Does not generate carbon and guarantees better maintenance of machinery
POLYURETHANE REACTIVE ADHESIVES (PUR)
- Greater durability
- High mechanical and physical resistance thanks to the crosslinking of its structure and solidification of the bond
- Waterproof against moisture
- High thermal resistance
- Higher quality of the final product
FROM EVA TO PO
Dr Jorge López, purchasing manager at Euromel (Meler partner in Argentina), believes that the trend in the use of new hot melt adhesives will increase, as well as those considered hybrid adhesives, as “the choice of polyolefins or metallocenes eliminates the problem of carbon with very good results in terms of maintenance costs.”
“We have spent over 10 years resolutely promoting metallocene type polyolefins, and have detected that clients who for years have not been very receptive are changing their attitudes. Some have already made the change or are exploring doing so. Despite its excellent performance, the only disadvantage that polyolefins had until now was their higher price. Now, with the increase in the price per kilo of EVA, that disadvantage has disappeared.”
Michael Augustyniak, Sales Manager of Focke Meler Germany, goes further and states that “the performance of an installation that works with polyolefin is much greater because the system is kept cleaner”.Taking advantage of his experience, we ask him to explain what a change of adhesive at a facility that has already been configured would entail.
Michael, what steps would have to be taken for an installation to change from EVA to polyolefins?
In theory, a large investment does not have to be made to update the installation when starting to work with polyolefins. Firstly, it would have to be evaluated whether the viscosity of the adhesive and its application temperature are appropriate for the power of the pump that we have installed.
The second step would be the change of the hoses, as recommended by the majority of hot melt manufacturers, to avoid potential problems in production. The reason is due to the “self-cleaning” effect of the metallocenes: their gripping capacity pulls the carbon embedded on the walls of the hose (caused by the traditional EVA adhesive) and drags it to the nozzles, generating obstructions in the applicators.
Íñigo Erostarbe also offers an important final recommendation:
It is essential for the installation to have a good filtration system. If it does not, my advice would be to carry out an installation of mini filters in all hose/gun connections. This is the best guarantee for maintaining good cleaning of the system.
FROM EVA TO PUR
For years Meler has collaborated with clients who have carried out a production transition from EVA to PUR in sectors such as bookbinding, wood and the automotive sector. The main reason for making this change is to make a leap in quality, as the technical implications associated with the use of reactive adhesives are greater.
Additionally, the importance of training users who will handle these substances must be highlighted, due to their diisocyanate and polyol content. From the 24th of August 2023, all manufacturers that use polyurethane products must have a certification, as indicated on the website of the Spanish Association of Glue and Adhesive Manufacturers (ASEFCA).
MORE SUSTAINABLE ADHESIVES
The most optimistic outlook is oriented toward the sector of sustainable adhesives. The increase in environmental awareness, as well as regulatory requirements, pushes the industry toward compositions of biological origin which reduce the carbon footprint of industries. According to AIMPLAS, the increase in demand for this type of adhesive is two times greater than that of other traditional hot melt adhesives.
In addition to plant-based hot melt adhesives, Íñigo Erostarbe de Leuenberger Iberia, S.L. also highlights other families of adhesives in which interest is growing: adhesives with low application temperatures, applied at temperatures of around 120ºC-130ºC compared with the traditional 170ºC-180ºC. This leads to energy savings.
At Meler, we are committed to the safety of our clients, to optimising their production processes, and to defending an industrial sector that is confronting a crucial period. To do so, our team of specialists will always be available to offer their collaboration in case of any difficulty in the application of industrial adhesives.