Expanding opportunities for PSA tapes in the building & construction market from a North American perspective
2 presentations covering adhesive tapes in the building and construction markets of Europe and the U.S. topped Afera’s Working Programme at our recent Lisbon Conference. In one of these, Graeme Roan, PSTC marketing committee chairman and product manager for the global adhesives business at Synthomer plc., discussed how and why North American specifiers choose tapes for both residential and commercial/industry projects.
Research studies designed to grow the adhesive tape industry and members’ businesses
In November 2016, PSTC released an in-depth research report based on 991 interviews with engineers and architects that identified the underlying biases, behaviours and decision drivers influencing pressure sensitive adhesive (PSA) tape usage in a range of markets.
The results indicated that tapes are currently specified in about 27% of projects that require bonding solutions – lagging behind mechanical fasteners and liquid adhesives but outpacing radio-frequency welding and hook & loop usage. At the total market level, there is 19-29% potential conversion possible from competing bonding solutions.
Significantly, the report also indicated high growth potential for PSA tape use within the building & construction industry. This finding led to PSTC launching Phase II of their research study in 2017,
beginning with a survey focused on specific construction applications where PSA tape can be used, as well as those factors that may influence choosing tape for various bonding projects. Respondents included 371 participants in residential- and 392 participants in commercial/industrial construction.
“The primary objectives for Phase II of the research were to prioritise bonding needs in construction, to evaluate ‘proof points’ of PSA tape use within the B&C industry and to recognise the sustainability of PSA tape for different construction applications (roofing, flooring, electrical, plumbing, ductwork, panelling, etc.),” explained Mr. Roan, who has been an active member of the PSTC for 16 years and has more than 20 years of experience in the adhesive tapes and related businesses.
Key takeaways for tape manufacturers
- In both residential and commercial/industrial construction, PSA tapes are less frequently used in the most commonly encountered applications: joining/affixing and sealing.
- PSA tapes are underused versus competing solutions across most application categories, which include joining/affixing, mounting, protecting, sealing, energy absorption/damping/insulation and indentifying/labelling. Mechanical fasteners or liquid adhesives are the dominant choice every single time.
- What performance factors are the top selection factors for PSAs? Bonding strength, bond durability and the ability to withstand environmental stressors. Even though the right data is out there, specifiers are still concerned that tapes won’t hold up.
- Regulatory codes are extremely influential to specifiers (majorly affecting decisions of almost half of both groups of respondents). Building inspectors are on the front lines in educating specifiers, but building codes have been found to be localised and relatively difficult to change on a large scale.
- Types of specifiers in construction with higher levels of unmet needs: large companies and those who specify in plumbing. They are interested in tapes that work with newer/more advanced building materials and those that provide additional benefits when used in conjunction with another building solution. Specifiers with more than 20 years of experience are more entrenched in their solutions and have fewer unmet needs overall.
- Specifiers in both residential and commercial/industrial construction are interested in tandem usage: tapes that can be used with mechanical fasteners or liquid adhesives for extra support or cost savings, and tapes that can be used with mechanical fasteners for additional performance benefits.
- The major trends were recognised as the same for both residential and commercial/industrial B&C: energy efficiency, moisture and air management and environmentally sound practices.
- Information received from manufacturers is considered to the most impactful in garnering consideration of PSA tapes for new applications. Specifiers find scientific tests and endorsements to be the most compelling types of information, but it is rare that they actually receive these types of proof points.