Established in 1998, Advanced Adhesives remains true to its founding principles by being completely focused on using its adhesives expertise to solve challenging joining applications
When was Advanced Adhesives established, by whom, and for what purpose?
Advanced Adhesives was set up by Managing Director Graham Crozier in 1998. He had enjoyed a career in the RAF as an aircraft engineer and wanted to remain in engineering when he completed his service. After several years working for large adhesive companies, he saw a gap in the market for an adhesives provider that was applications focused, launched his own company and has seen his business flourish ever since. We asked him for the full story.
What was the first product added to the Advanced Adhesives portfolio and what is the most recent?
One of the first products we sold was a conductive structural adhesive. The most recent addition to our now extensive product portfolio is a development of the outstandingly successful PP3000 – a polypropylene product. It was developed for successfully bonding what is becoming the fastest growing substrate in the modern manufacturing environment. However, it should be noted that our engineering expertise spans not just polypropylene but UV, epoxy and cyanoacrylates. The company can also manufacture a special formulation if necessary.
The adhesives market seems well served: how did Advanced Adhesives manage to gain a foothold in the first place, and to become what it is today?
Complete customer focus is what differentiates us. We do not see ourselves as sellers of adhesives, we provide engineering solutions. It’s just that these solutions revolve around joining things together better. The company has built its business by solving one problem at a time, and found that having worked with an OEM once they tend to invite us back every time a joining challenge or need becomes apparent. We hold exactly the same ‘engineer to engineer’ viewpoint today that we did when we started, and have never lost the enjoyment or the satisfaction gained from a job well done in partnership with our customers. Over the years, we have bonded everything from a rubber duck to a luxury car dashboard, and most things in between. We have solved so many design and production challenges.
Does Advanced Adhesives provide any testing or validation facilities to confirm bond suitability, strength or durability?
The Advanced Adhesives Applications Centre has a whole host of leading edge test equipment, including two climatic chambers, a tensometer, and shear testing equipment. The company can make tests on a number of adhesives using the customers’ own materials and shares all findings with them. As a result, we can then help customers with their selection process.
What do you say to an engineer who asks why they should deal with you rather than a multinational?
Advanced Adhesives is a team of applications specialists with engineering backgrounds. We listen carefully when customers describe their needs and aspirations and then suggest, test and supply a wide range of bonding solutions. We can also assist customers with production techniques, and supply dosing machines and robots to maximise assembly efficiencies too.
Do you see the use of adhesives as an either/or specifying opportunity?
We are always confident that the bonding solutions we propose will work on their own, and can back this up if necessary with tests from the Applications Centre. If a customer is unsure, we can make reference to many hundreds of previous examples. In a more general sense, we refer to the automotive industry, where steel and welding has been replaced in many instances by composite materials and our adhesives. Ultimately, the decision to bond rather than mechanically fix is the customer’s – and that is always respected.
How do you convince design engineers that bonding might be better than mechanical fastening?
As outlined above, the ultimate decision on how to bond two components is always the customer’s. What we do is to highlight the increased strength and durability of an adhesive bond on a project when compared to a mechanical fastening, and the savings in labour involved. More often than not, the move from traditional materials to polymers drives the need for change in any case, as issues of weight, strength and end of life become increasingly important.
So what is the outlook for Advanced Adhesives?
During what was a tough trading year in 2020, Advanced Adhesives made significant investments in its Applications Centre and in other production equipment too. During 2020 we conducted more applications tests than ever before, as companies used available time and resource to focus on Research and Development (as well as production improvements) whilst production was reduced. The upturn is now very much with us, and as a direct result of the work we have been doing over the last 14 months, we have had a flying start to 2021 and will continue with that growth curve.
Product development is fundamental to our future, with variations on existing products and new products coming on stream remaining a key to our continued success. Our relationship with customers is vital – we thank them for pushing us hard. It keeps us at the forefront of the adhesives industry.
The end of 2020 saw the completion of the biggest investments in laboratory and research equipment in the 20 year history of Advanced Adhesives. This year has made us focus on the things we are good at – as ever – but to deliver them in a different way. The focus of the business has always been on understanding the exact requirements of a customer, and delivering a robust and cost effective solution. What’s changed is how we do that together with the improved technology behind us to demonstrate and prove the validity of our solutions.