Hot Melt Adhesives
Gaps in Research
Research on hot melt adhesive alternatives to solvent-based adhesives is ongoing, and includes the most recent type of hot melt adhesive innovation, PURs. There are several opportunities for further study as part of this research:
CASE STUDIES. Documented examples of large, medium, and small manufacturers that obtained quantifiable benefits such as reduced operating costs, reduced hazard insurance premiums, reduced regulatory burdens (such as avoiding Title V air permits and hazardous waste disposal charges), avoided emissions control systems, and/or reduced OSHA requirements. This information would be critical for businesses to fully compare hot melt technology to conventional solvent-based systems. In addition, since there is a wide range of industries that use adhesives, a comprehensive evaluation of adhesive options for an industry-specific area would be useful. Also valuable would be a comparison and analysis of the various alternatives to solvent-based adhesives (e.g., waterbased, hot melt, radiant-cured), to one another as well as with solvent-based adhesives.
OPERATIONAL COSTS. Comparisons of energy consumption per unit of output for solvent-based systems and hot melt systems, including PURs, would be helpful for businesses to compare alternatives based on use and sector. Little information was available in the literature to support general statements about the energy consumption characteristics of alternative systems. Additionally, a statistical analysis of the reduced regulatory and insurance costs would provide a more sophisticated analysis for those companies interested in changing to a hot melt system.
An analysis of a full conversion from solvent-based adhesives to hot melt adhesives versus the cost of implementing hot melts incrementally would also provide valuable information to facilities interested in changing at least some of their systems.
Comprehensive analyses of waste reductions are also needed, as both a statistical analysis and a case study. The analyses should include an evaluation of the actual waste reduced, as well as an analysis of the time needed to manage the various waste streams, and any costs or benefits associated with a hot melt system. Also, further evaluation and redesign of adhesive application equipment to reduce the amount of waste adhesive material generated during the coating process would be useful regardless of the technology chosen. (Ref. 17)
TECHNICAL IMPROVEMENTS. Research on developing ways to make hot melts easier and safer to handle, prolong shelf life, and extend temperature resistivity ranges. Finally, as another alternative to solvent-based adhesives, the further study of the use of natural adhesives, for example starch or dextrin-based adhesives in paper board packaging, including cost and performance information, would be helpful. (Ref. 6)
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