The use of adhesives in automotive assemblies is on the rise as vehicle manufacturers continue to pursue ways to make automobiles more light-weight and fuel efficient. Automotive adhesives are delivering advantages in a variety of automotive assembly applications.
According to an Automotive Adhesives Market forecast, body in white application held the largest share of the automotive adhesives market globally, in terms of volume, in 2015. (“Body in white” or “BIW” refers to the stage in automotive design or automobile manufacturing in which a car body's sheet metal components have been welded together.) Improved durability, enhanced strength, and reduced weight are benefits of using automotive adhesives in BIW. The report says that the assembly application segment is estimated to grow at the highest CAGR (compound annual growth rate) between 2016 and 2021 in all applications considered.
Double-sided adhesive tapes represent a large portion of the demand because of their high shear strength, excellent surface adhesion, and temperature resistance. The biodegradable characteristics of these components are also attractive to automotive manufacturers with growing concerns regarding environment responsibility. Some finished vehicles contain as much as 40 pounds of adhesive materials, but their weight is negligible compared to the weight of metal rivets, screws, and welds, which are no longer required to effectively bond components.
Adhesive materials offer expanded capability beyond conventional welding. Automotive engineers are using adhesives to bond dissimilar materials, such as aluminum and carbon fiber or plastic, which would be impossible to accomplish with traditional welding. Even when welding is an option, it is a significant production expense. Welding stations require a lot more capital than adhesives, which can be applied either robotically or manually.
Heat-affected areas around spot welds can develop microcracking as a vehicle ages. This cracking can eventually lead to squeaks and rattles. Adhesives spread the stress of a bond across a wider area than a spot weld, so they don’t have this problem. They are also not nearly as expensive or heavy as traditional reinforcing components that would be added during production.