Adhesives Technology Review
In some cases, conversions from solvent-based adhesives to an alternative solvent-free technology can be a complicated and intricate process. Two reports, the National Risk Management Research Laboratory’s "Solvent-Based to Waterbased Adhesive-Coated Substrate Retrofit" and Sheldahl, Inc.’s "Methylene Chloride Replacement with Environmentally Safer Solvents in Thermoset Adhesive Systems Using Hot Coating Technique" have documented a number of important factors that have helped companies convert successfully to solvent-free adhesive technologies in their processes. (Refs. 4, 23)
Eight general factors were identified in the literature:
1. UPPER MANAGEMENT SUPPORT. Upper management plays a vital role during conversion from one adhesive material to another. If upper management understands the production efficiencies, reduced waste, and/or positive net environmental benefits of conversion, midlevel managers tend to embrace change and work at achieving the expected results. One significant way that upper management can advertise support for pollution prevention (P2) technologies is to include production efficiency, waste reduction, and P2 as primary goals in corporate mission statements and employee performance evaluations.
2. PRODUCT DESIGN. The alternative adhesive selection process should begin with the adhesion engineer at the product development stage setting durability and process requirements.
3. REPRESENTATIVE TEAM. An interdependent team of experts includes players such as the adhesion engineers, product development specialists, adhesive suppliers, application equipment manufacturers, state P2 technical assistance providers, and customers. Interdependence is important because each player has a unique perspective on the conversion’s effects on product, processes and equipment. Adhesive suppliers can assist the customer with finding the right product, using the specifications developed by the adhesion engineers and product development specialists. The application equipment manufacturers can assist in identifying compatibility issues when applying the selected adhesive with their particular equipment. State P2 technical assistance providers can provide regulatory and compliance perspectives. Finally, customers benefit with a better understanding of why the conversion was made and its effects on the product they buy.
4. PERFORMANCE CRITERIA. If several adhesives are being targeted for replacement, it is best to begin by focusing replacement efforts on adhesives that are easier to replace: those with lower durability or manufacturing performance criteria. After gaining experience working in concert with the interdependent team of experts, adhesive replacement efforts can then focus on the more demanding higher performance adhesives.
5. THOROUGH RESEARCH. Generally, it is best to research more than one alternative adhesive. For example, if a problem occurs at the implementation stage with applying a chosen adhesive with certain equipment, it may be possible to switch to a substitute. Thorough research on alternatives can ensure the alternative selected works.
6. ADEQUATE TESTING. The conversion project should experiment with potential substitutions on site and in production lines in order to simulate real time manufacturing processes.
7. ADEQUATE TIME. Enough time should be allowed for the transition to avoid disrupting operations and client relationships.
8. FINANCIAL SUPPORT. The conversion project should have sufficient financial resources (including necessary staff) to see the process through to completion.
Continue on to the Appendix B page of the Adhesives Technology Reviews.
Return to the introduction of the Waterbased Adhesives Technology Review.
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