Bonding parts through adhesives is a practical assembly process, and the only joining option in some cases. The nature of the adhesive used is driven by characteristics such as the part substrate, the function of the adhesive (e.g. bonding, sealing), strength requirements, and environmental exposure.
To be successful with adhesive in assembly operations, requires the following minimum attributes to be addressed through the design of the assembly automation system:
- Surface treatment
- Part fixturing
- Adhesive application
Clean and debris free surfaces represent a baseline requirement for adhesive bonding applications. In some cases, however, special surface treatments such as corona are required to enhance the affinity of the bonding surfaces. ATS is experienced in delivering assembly systems that incorporate cleaning, buffing, and surface treatment to meet the bonding specifications.
Holding and maintaining part orientation as well as relative part positioning during both adhesive application and curing is crucial to a successful bond. ATS carefully designs part fixtures to take into account all aspects of the adhesive specification to deliver the desired bonding result.
Delivering the adhesive agent to the target surfaces in the right volume and position is another key ingredient of bonding success. In most cases, some form of automated motion profile is required to deliver the adhesive on circumferential surfaces, linear surfaces, or other pathways.
ATS has a vast knowledge base and experience with both adhesive dispensers (including drawing adhesives from bulk storage) and delivering the required dispensing motion, whether using robotics, servo motion, linear actuators, or other articulating automation devices.
All adhesives have some form of curing requirement. This can range from supplying straight curing time (and delivering this through part storage methodologies such as curing conveyor towers), or the use of curing catalysts such as the application of UV light. ATS pays careful attention to the curing specification of the adhesive and implements automation solutions that meet the various customer constraints (including floor space limitations).