avr cover story 02/2019

Laminating requires experience

Many different adhesives are used today for permanently bonding a variety of non-woven fabrics and technical textiles.

Laminating technology
Source: AB-Tec
There are three factors that have to be considered in the lamination process: temperature, time, and pressure. But an additional factor is also crucially important when dealing with demanding materials: experience.

Always in dialog with the customer

Peel strength
Source: AB-Tec

“Our customers know the materials to be bonded,” says Maria Aleixo, Sales Manager at AB-Tec in Iserlohn. “We accompany the customer through his decision-making process and see it as our task to recommend not only the right adhesive, but also the optimal laminating process.“

The possibilities for creating laminates today are as varied as the individual components that need to be bonded. Nonwoven fabrics and spacer fabrics are bonded with woven fabrics, foams are covered with artificial leather materials, and stabilising materials are laminated with leather. Such laminates are then used in automotive manufacturing, in industrial applications, or medical technology. The thing all these different applications have in common is the selection of the right adhesive which will ensure a secure and especially permanent bonding of the material. Some customers use adhesives which are sprayed over a large area. Others use adhesives that are applied as a dot coating across the material to be bonded. And still others, AB-Tec customers in particular, rely on web adhesives, which are thin, web-like structures made from adhesive.

Expertise from the US

TecWeb structure
Source: AB-Tec

Increasing demands and requirements in various sectors have led over the past few years to particular growth in the market for web adhesives. But the necessary techniques and application processes are still relatively young. Spunfab, a company from Ohio which has an excellent reputation in high-tech industries, is a pioneer in this sector. Spunfab is also well known in the automotive industry for intelligent solutions for lamination involving non-woven fabrics, foams, and fabrics with decor materials.

In 2001, Spunfab embarked on a European path with the establishment of AB-Tec. This expansion enabled short communication and decision-making paths with European companies. After all, direct communication is a must for the consultation-intensive adhesive business. AB-Tec and Spunfab work together successfully. AB-Tec can produce and market its own product portfolio in Europe and also offer Spunfab products which are well established in the US.

Adhesive experts at work

Maria Aleixo
Maria Aleixo, AB-Tec Sales Manager
Source: AB-Tec
“We see ourselves as a contact partner for buyers, developers, and product designers,” says Aleixo, describing her work. “For years we have been witnessing a rapid increase in new materials and customer demands. And we’re meeting this with experience.” For example, sensitive surface structures are a challenge AB-Tec has to consider. Such structures cannot be compressed excessively during the lamination process or they will be destroyed. But at the same time, the laminate has to hold for a long period as a finished product. “We look at the starting point with our customer, examine the pattern in front of us, and carry out lamination tests. Thanks to our experience with many other projects, we can recommend the right adhesive and support the three key factors in the lamination process, ‘temperature’, ‘time’, and ‘pressure’, through our approach.”

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