Cary, North Carolina -- Lord Corp. - which sees itself as a pioneer in speciality structural adhesives, polyurethane coatings and electronic, vibration and noise control solutions - is offering unique cost-modelling software for assessing potential process cost reductions through using structural adhesives.
Lord developed the software to help customers evaluate new adhesive applications, according to Carlos Cruz, Lord product assembly adhesives and coatings marketing manager.
"When compared to mechanical fasteners and welding, structural adhesives widely distribute stresses, act as a sealant, reduce noise and vibration, offer excellent durability, help prevent corrosion and maintain the original mill finish quality of the exterior surface of thin panels," said Cruz. Adhesives are also a lower-cost option to traditional joining methods, and "decrease the margin of error and improve manufacturing processes and final products," Cruz said.
But Lord recognises that switching from traditional technology is a major shift for OEMs and manufacturers and the return on investment must be determined before making such a change.
Lord's new software can help customers "quantify the true cost advantages of using structural adhesives," said a 17 March statement from Cary, North Carolina-based Lord.
Parameters used in the model are based on time studies and accepted industry norms. However, almost all the parameters are adjustable. For example, the model will estimate the time to perform certain welding and fastening tasks, but the user can override these estimates if more relevant data is available.
The result is a document that summarises the analysis, primarily indicating if a switch to adhesives would shorten cycle times or cut cost.
As a case study, Lord recently analysed the viability of using adhesives for two different door assemblies with a manufacturer of medium-duty truck.
Both applications required several feet of welds and about 60 fasteners. To replace then with engineered adhesives needed about 300 inches of bondline in total. The software estimated that more than $25 per door could be saved, not including savings for a 30-minute cut in cycle time.
Some of the total estimated savings, of many thousand dollars a year, comes from cutting the labour cost per door by a factor of six. The truck manufacturer also saw benefits in replacing welding -- requiring highly skilled workers -- with general assembly workers.