Bigger, faster, stronger. That’s the motto of the Olympics and athletes around the world. But when it comes to product design and manufacturing, the philosophy is often: lighter is better.
The strategy of lightweighting has been embraced by the automotive and transportation industries for many years now. But many other industries can benefit from this approach, including medical devices, medical equipment, industrial products, aerospace, and more.
What is lightweighting?
As the name implies, lightweighting is an effort to reduce component weight, which results in a smaller size or lower overall weight of a product – without hurting function or performance. Reducing the weight of a product can have many benefits, including lower energy expenditure, higher efficiency, enhanced comfort, improved safety, reduced shipping costs, higher profitability, and more.
So the next question is, how is lightweighting accomplished? There are two main methods: either reducing the number of components in a product or substituting lighter materials. In most cases, the latter is more feasible thanks to innovative materials such as thermoplastic composites, fiber-reinforced plastics, syntactic foams, and next-generation adhesives and tapes.
How Adhesives and Tapes can Help with Lightweighting Efforts
Advancements in adhesive technology open the door for lightweighting a wide range of assemblies, including electronics, membranes switches, device components, and more. By choosing the adhesive or tape best suited for your product’s design, function, and environmental conditions, you can replace mechanical fasteners (which add weight and assembly processes) and utilize other innovative, lightweight materials.
Here are more advantages that adhesives and tapes can offer:
- Adhesives and tapes provide uniform stress distribution that can improve a product’s design and performance
- By eliminating mechanical fasteners and holes, you can reduce the risks of irregularities, distortion, or corrosion
- Adhesive products are designed to provide strong, durable bonding for specific substrates and stress characteristics
- Adhesives can provide excellent fatigue resistance, even in harsh environments
- Fastening with adhesive or tape creates a clean, smooth finish that improves product appearance and reduces the need for surface refinishing
- Adhesives and tapes are easy to use, require minimal operator training, and can lower manufacturing costs by eliminating process steps
Creating the Right Bonding Solution
As with any design or engineering choice, you have to consider the full picture when looking at lightweighting strategies. Switching to an adhesive or tape can offer many advantages, but it can also have a domino effect on the manufacturing process – from materials selection to testing to assembly.
At Tapecon, we have the materials expertise to help you determine the optimal adhesive or tape to achieve your goals, while keeping manufacturability and costs in mind. Once the materials are selected, we also offer a wide range of converting capabilities to manufacturer your bonding solution, either for prototyping or full-scale production.
Get Started with Converted Adhesives and Tapes
At Tapecon, we have over 100 years of experience helping customers solve their complex product challenges. Learn more about our custom materials converting services.