The many hidden benefits when investing in adhesives

Why ROI is much more than simply how fast you get your money back

One of the major considerations when specifying an adhesive is how quickly it will deliver return on investment (ROI), a metric that is affected by a variety of tangible and intangible factors. Here, Matthew Baseley, technical sales executive at adhesives specialist Intertronics, explains the factors that determine return on investment (ROI) in an adhesives process.

If you’ve ever tried to source an adhesive for your application, you probably realised quickly that there is no universally perfect adhesive. Everything from the substrates you’re bonding, operating temperature and humidity, to the exposure of the assembly to solvents, weather and mechanical stress, will influence your choice of adhesive.

It is worth understanding that the adhesive choice will only be one component of the full bonding process — which includes surface preparation, adhesive mixing, application and dispensing, curing and QA — and that it is in this entire process that you are investing. It is important to take a holistic view; for example, application and curing equipment costs, and efficiency of method, are factors that will affect an ROI calculation and so allow comparison to other options.

We think of ROI as a measure of how fast we get our money back after making an investment. For a bonding process, an investment in equipment can be justified by improvements in the method or savings in resources such as labour, energy or space. However, there are many hidden intangible benefits that come with suitable investment — ones that go beyond the headline ROI figure.

Determining ROI

There is always a compromise to be made in adhesive specification, and that is often between ultimate adhesive functionality and optimal bonding process. The best bond strength may come from an adhesive with a complicated preparation requirement and an extensive cure time; but that may not be suitable for the proposed production volumes or speed of manufacture. Sometimes this dilemma stems from over-specifying the adhesive requirements, which limits material choice and so can add cost. Factoring in adhesive ‘process-ability’ can ultimately deliver a faster ROI, without compromising on quality.

For example, while the upfront cost of UV light-curing equipment may be higher than a process using an adhesive that cures at room temperature over time, the increased throughput achieved with on-demand curing — seconds, rather than minutes or hours — may well offer a much shorter payback period.

In fact, when a UV light cure system’s technology is looked at as an integral part of a full production process — across inventory, dispensing, curing and quality assurance — it can lead to an average of 30% savings in overall process costs.

Precision offers payback

It has been said that the UK is up to 20% less productive than its major competitor countries, because it is not investing in automation. In general, UK manufacturing doesn’t invest in capital automation equipment, as it is perceived as expensive and risky. But while the upfront cost of automation may not seem necessary for small batch adhesive assembly operations — where manual mixing and application are deemed sufficient — for even moderate volume applications the investment can result in better yield and better quality.

The accuracy and repeatability achieved using robotic dispensing or automated adhesive mixing lowers process variability. By reducing human error and increasing precision, you can lower scrappage rates and material waste. The labour cost element is often reduced, as operators are reallocated to more productive work (possibly with upskilling). Adhesive dispensing robots are available for surprisingly modest costs and factoring all the advantages of automation usually results in a quick ROI.

It’s important to note that the collective improvement in all these areas; from throughput and standardisation to quality and yield, has an impact on the business that goes well beyond the tangible measurables. It is ultimately the imperceptible improvement in your brand and reputation that leaves a lasting impact in the mind of your customer.

Warren Buffet famously quipped: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently.” While Buffet was advising people to act with integrity, it’s similarly true that bad experiences, whether it’s bond failure in the field, inconsistent lead times as a result of process inefficiency or poor-quality finishing, will have a lasting impact on your customers.

Investment in non-tangible processes, such as quality assurance, worker training and customer service, all have a role in preventing problems before they occur and, if things still go wrong, they allow businesses to be better positioned to recover.

Thinking about the return on investment for a new bonding application or improvement of an existing one involves a comprehensive consideration of the entire process. A higher initial investment can lead to a faster ROI. In addition, investing in a robust, reliable and repeatable process can have a lasting, intangible impact on your brand.

To find out more, click here or call +44 (0) 1865 842842.

Adhesive dispensing robots usually have a quick return on investment.
Adhesive dispensing robots usually have a quick return on investment.

Intertronics

Station Field Industrial Estate
Banbury Road
Kidlington
OX5 1JD
UNITED KINGDOM

+44 (0)1865 842842

info@intertronics.co.uk

www.intertronics.co.uk

More news
7 hours ago
Getting current on electrically conductive adhesives
Electrically conductive adhesives are now commonplace and have contributed immensely to the micro design of everyday consumer electronic devices. iPads, mobile phones, medical devices, flexible PCB’s, wearable conductive clothing, RFID tagging and RFI shielding are just some common applications with which we are all familiar. In this article, Simon Dearing, Managing Director of Eurobond Adhesives, reveals more about the technology and how to use and maximise it
13 hours ago
Tapes manufacturer bonds with neighbour
Milton Keynes based bonding experts Lohmann Technologies has responded to an unusual request from the business next door
1 day ago
A view on liquid vs compression gaskets
We all know that for a gasket to do its job effectively, it is essential that the seal it creates remains intact over a long period of time. The gasket must also be resistant to fluids and/or gases and be able to withstand the operating temperatures and pressures to which it is subjected. For many applications, these qualities are best achieved with adhesive gasketing products in preference to pre-cut, compression gaskets  says Henkel Loctite.
5 days ago
Inspiring materials are hot topic for new podcast
Creation of innovative materials and their applications sit at heart of podcast discussions
6 days ago
A point well made on syringe needle bonding
Medical syringe needles are produced in massive quantities, and to ensure an efficient production process, rapid and reliable needle bonding is essential. Eurobond Adhesives says it has just the product to inject some practicality and performance into the process
1 week ago
EMKA cabinet info updated
The EMKA blog has been updated with the latest on cabinet assembly
1 week ago
Modular aluminium plinth elevates professional photography to new level
An Aldershot-based professional photographer and visual engineer is using an industrial robot fitted with a camera to produce perfect studio pictures. The equipment is mounted onto a bespoke mobile pedestal made with standard aluminium sections and features modular components supplied by FATH
1 week ago
New dosing and mixing system for liquid silicone rubber
Just introduced by Eurobond Adhesives is the all-new LSR eTwin Connect, a new generation dosing and mixing system for liquid silicone rubber. It is manufactured in Germany by Wagner Reinhardt-Technik, for whom Eurobond is UK Distributor
1 week ago
Video shows hand held clinching advantages
This video from BTM Automation Products shows one of its hand-held clinching tools in action. BTM says that its Tog-L-Loc® and other related clinching tools join sheet metal quickly, quietly and cleanly without the expense of welding or the use of additional fasteners: the process simply clinches the parent material
1 week ago
Typhoon brings bolt tightening wind of change
Boltight's Typhoon range of bolt tensioners from Nord-Lock are said to offer a high-load, low profile solution for space-restricted applications demanding high and accurate preloads, such as wind turbines