Pressure Sensitive Adhesives vs. Mechanical Fasteners for Product Assembly

When a manufacturer sets out to produce something, it’s usually safe to say they want it to look good, weigh as little as possible and be produced with real efficiency. Throughout history, mechanical fixings have been the standard go-to when producing products of all shapes and sizes. From screws to nails to nuts to bolts and so on, they’ve certainly got the job done, but have proved to be less-than ideal.

Is there an alternative?

There is – as is being discovered and explored right now by thousands of businesses. According to the experts , interest in high quality pressure sensitive adhesive products has never been greater in the UK. Not only are they faster to apply, but they have the potential to deliver stronger bonds, improve health and safety, optimise production processes and cut costs all at the same time. It’s the kind of switch from which there’s no going back – something the manufacturing industry is slowly but surely finding out.

Pressure sensitive adhesives outperform manual fixings in a variety of ways, including the following:


1.      Efficiency

First of all, not only does the process of applying manual fixings take a great deal of time and effort, but it can also make quite the mess to clear up afterwards. The bonds may be strong, but the process itself isn’t what could be described as efficient. By contrast, PSAs require minimal labour and can be put to use in a matter of seconds. What’s more, they leave absolutely no mess behind whatsoever and are therefore exponentially more efficient than the alternative.

2.      Appearance

While there are certain instances where mechanical fasteners can be decorative, manufacturers would more often than not hide them if possible. The have the potential to look unsightly and to take away from the elegance and aesthetic of the finished product – all of which can detract from its perceived value. The alternative option is to use pressure sensitive adhesives, which eliminate the need for drilling holes or adding anything visible to the product whatsoever. The bond remains discreetly hidden away behind the scenes, therefore doesn’t affect the product’s aesthetic or perceived value.

3.      Weight

Eliminating mechanical fixings from the equation can have an immediate and significant impact on the product’s overall weight. Screws, nuts, bolts and so can be extremely heavy, making a bid and undesirable difference in instances where weight should ideally be kept to a minimum. More often than not, pressure sensitive adhesives are so lightweight that they really do not add any measurable weight to the finished product whatsoever. And the fact that fewer materials are needed to get the job done not only means cost savings, but also a more eco-friendly way of going about the assembly process.

4.      Shock Resistance

One of the biggest and most inevitable problems with mechanical fixings is the way in which they can come loose over time. From vibrations to impact to any kind of stress or movement, it doesn’t take a great deal for them to begin coming loose and compromising the bond. This is not the case when it comes to pressure sensitive adhesives, however. High-quality PSAs are incredibly resistant to vibrations and shocks, making them ideally suited to product and environment that may be exposed to such factors.

5.      Stress

When you think about it, the fact that mechanical fixings join materials together in such a small, confined area doesn’t in fact add up to the strongest, most efficient bond. Consider the size of a screw – this may be the only are of the materials that are actually bonded together, which inherently increases the likelihood that the bond will fail of stress is exerted on the fixing point. With pressure sensitive adhesives, the bond is distributed across a much wider surface area, which has a significant impact on the likelihood of the bond failing.

6.      Customisation

Last but not least, when it comes to mechanical fixings there really isn’t a great deal of scope in terms of customisation. Instead, it’s a case of choosing from what’s available and making the best of the set standards. The difference being that with PSAs, it’s perfectly possible to order custom-made products, designed specifically for any given purpose whatsoever. When an adhesive product is manufactured with a specific purpose in minds, it is inherently more likely to get the job done better than any generic off-the-shelf product. Which is why it’s always worth contacting the experts to discuss your needs – the right PSA really could transform the way you do business for the better.

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