Hot Melt Molding Over Epoxy in Manufacturing
Manufacturing companies in search of an adhesive that is a cost-effective alternative to epoxy should consider using a low pressure hot melt molding process. The advantages of low pressure hot melt molding over traditional epoxy include ease of application, the elimination of curing times and an environmentally friendly process. Hot melt molding is particularly useful within the automotive and medical device industries which require the preparation of connectors and switches that need to be sealed and protected from water and dust.
The Growing Popularity of Hot Melt Adhesives and Low Pressure Molding
The hot melt adhesive industry is expected to increase to nearly $10 billion USD by 2020. While there are applications in which epoxy or other adhesives may offer a better solution, the use of hot melt adhesives and hot melt molding has been steadily growing in popularity in the United States and across the globe. Below is a summary of the key advantages of hot melt adhesives and the low pressure molding process.
The Key Advantages of Hot Melt
While there are many factors contributing to the growing popularity of hot melt adhesives, one of the primary reasons behind its increased use is the gradual migration away from solvent-based adhesives. With their solvent-free composition, hot melt adhesives facilitate compliance with industry and environmental regulations. Additional advantages of hot melt molding are outlined below:
- Hot melt has a long shelf life compared to other adhesives
- Hot melt is affordable
- Hot melt can be purchased in bulk
- Hot melt molding remnants can be discarded without harming the environment
- Hot melt is easy to dispense
With these advantages, hot melt is an excellent adhesive choice for a wide variety of industries. It is also ideal for use in low pressure molding due to its low viscosity and rapid cycle time.
The Low Pressure Molding Process
Low pressure molding involves the use of hot melt adhesives to enclose and protect electronic components such as circuit boards and electronic components in automobiles. This adhesive process is also used to mold protective grommets. The low pressure molding process prevents water and dirt from interfering with the functioning of the protected components.
The Use of Low Pressure Molding in the Automotive Industry
Hot melt molding is a proven adhesive solution used in the production of automotive parts. Hot melt molding is effective in the assembly of interior components, including the following:
- Oxygen sensors
- Sealed pressure sensors
- Control boards
- Vehicle speed sensor
- Onboard vehicle computer
Additionally, hot melt adhesives are used in other capacities in automotive manufacturing:
- Door panel attachment bonding
- Windshield bonding
- Bonding of exterior trim
- Adhesion of weather strips and gaskets
- Bonding of trunk liners
Hot melt adhesives are ideal for use in the automotive industry due to hot melt’s ability to bond well with glass. Additionally, hot melt molding is an excellent choice to protect the electrical components in cars. Finally, hot melt is conducive to use in an assembly line environment.
Low Pressure Molding with Hot Melt in the Medical Equipment Industry
Medical devices increasingly contain components that require sealing and protection from environmental elements. Like automobiles, medical devices contain oxygen sensors, control boards and pressure transducers. These components must be shielded from fluids and debris or the functionality of the equipment could be impaired. Low pressure molding is an effective means of sealing components for the following types of medical devices:
- Patient vital signs monitors
- Anesthesia machines
- Electro-surgical units
And as in the case of automobiles, hot melt adhesives can be used to bond external components of medical devices. Examples include the application of plexiglass components and grommets to an incubator. Protective cases and screens can also be bonded using hot melt adhesives.
Additional Low Pressure Molding Applications
In addition to its growing popularity in the automotive and medical device arenas, low pressure molding with hot melt is on the rise in other industries as well. Examples of manufacturing companies that benefit from low pressure molding include the following:
- Manufacturers of USB thumb drives
- Identification tag manufacturers
- Electronics manufacturers
- Boat manufacturers
When Epoxy is the Better Solution
While hot melt offers a host of advantages to users, the adhesive properties of epoxy are impressive and should not be overlooked. The high stability of epoxy combined with its ability to resist harsh chemical and physical conditions makes epoxy a viable solution in many industrial settings, especially those that require adhesives for use with metal products. Epoxy is particularly well-known for its ability to withstand intense heat. Below are some examples of situations in which epoxy would be the logical choice over other hot melt and other types of adhesives:
- The development of aerospace products
- The fabrication of products that require resistance to chemicals
- The construction of products that require sustained heat resistance
- The manufacturing of sterilization equipment
- Situations in which an alternative to welding is sought
Clearly, the benefits of epoxy warrant its consideration in a variety of applications, especially those that demand exceptional resistance to harsh environments.
Enlisting the Expertise of an Industry Expert
With an ever-increasing array of proven adhesive solutions such as epoxy and low pressure molding with hot melt, it can be challenging to select the adhesive that best meets your company’s specific needs. Please contact us if you would like to learn more about the variety of adhesive options that we have to offer. We look forward to helping you choose the adhesives that will help your company optimize its performance and efficiency.