Innovation in acrylic foam tapes from new idea to mass production
Sometimes developing “a very cool but completely useless product” allows a company to distil from the market what it actually needs. In this case it was Dutch-based start-up Olympic Bonding Solutions, which in 2014 debuted with a sort of duct tape using natural fibres and a UV-cured adhesive. Ko Hermans, who shares a technical background in solar, flexible electronics—even in bulletproof materials—with Olympic cofounder Bart Kranz, explained at Afera’s Athens Conference how conventional industries are changing rapidly. With this comes a growing demand for specialty tapes, such as acrylic foam tapes and thermal conductive tapes and pads, that meet the new bonding requirements of end-user innovations.
When you need to fix or structurally bond components
Acrylic foam tape is a high-performance, double-sided pressure sensitive adhesive tape ranging in thickness between 0.25 mm to 3 mm that is used for a wide variety of structural bonding applications in the automotive, aerospace, building & construction, electronics and white goods industries, among others. As opposed to the usual customer reference points of rivets, welds, nuts and bolts and liquid adhesives, 100% acrylic foam tapes offer a strong permanent bond (60% immediate performance), easy, clean mounting, an extremely short tack time and great aesthetics.
Acrylic foam tapes also offer additional functionalities to bonding: thermal-conductive, vibration/sound dampening, transparent bonding and flame retardancy properties, to name a few.
A set of new challenges and opportunities for tape manufacturers
One particular example is the electrification of the automotive industry which is pushing for new structural bonding technologies for new car components and materials (i.e. battery packs and carbon-fibre-reinforced plastics). Many of these are not easily bonded using conventional solutions. Furthermore, conventional production of tape is based on large scale production which is difficult to innovate.
“Our mission is to upend the appeased acrylic foam tape market by introducing new, customised products using a new innovative production concept,” said Dr. Hermans. Since no standards have been set, each manufacturer and car model requires a customised bonding solution. In meeting this growing demand for customisation, Olympic has developed a modular, easy-to-operate, scalable production process of acrylic foam tapes. This innovative production process allows cost-effective production of acrylic foam tape and a high level of customisation.