Automatic Glue Applicator Examples

Manufacturing Industrial Products with Automatic Glue Applicator Machines

Imagine for a moment that you’re an industrial manufacturer considering your options for joining components together.  Welding, bolting, riveting and friction fitting all come to mind, but none ideally suits the project you’re working on.  In particular, the solution you’re after needs to offer lower per-unit costs, moderate structural strength and minimal complexity or weight added to the assembly.  An automatic glue applicator machine could be just what you need. 

Could adhesives be the best option for your project? Let’s take a closer look.  

Adhesives fill a unique role in manufacturing, serving as bonding agents as well as films, coatings, void fillers, sealants and even electrically conductive circuit segments. Paired with highly reconfigurable application equipment, adhesives can unlock previously unavailable fabrication avenues. 

 Beyond the flexibility granted by working with a fluid fastener, there are even more possibilities found in all the different formulations available across epoxy, urethane, latex, polyamide, acetate, silicone, acrylic and more engineered synthetic materials. Overall, a simple way to understand where adhesives fit in amongst other joining methods is this: If the product doesn’t absolutely require the ultra-high capacity of structural fasteners or welds, the removability of screws or clips, or the bare-minimum cost of friction fits, then there is an adhesive solution that will fit the bill. 

Key Features in Automated Glue Joining 

Using features embodied in AMS’s own GC-401 Glue Dispensing and Curing machine as examples, let’s take a look at key benefits available to manufacturers that could adopt or further automate their own glue-bonding assembly processes:

Clean Room-Grade Fabrication

Glue bonding is especially beneficial in medical and clean room installations, featuring hygienic materials, fully cleanable surfaces, tool-less setup and harborage-free designs.  On top of this, machines designed for true hygienic operation are engineered to avoid and contain adhesive over-application, as well as other sources of cross-contamination.    

Wide Material Compatibility 

Adhesives are primarily applied to plastic materials, but can serve metallic, fibrous, fabric, wood, composite and advanced synthetic materials just as well.  Even better, adhesives can bond many dissimilar materials together, most notably with metal-to-plastic attachments where threaded fasteners have long been the only option.  

Low Weight Fastening 

Adhesives are light in weight, providing very strong bonds with very minor total weight gain in the finished product. This factor plays a particularly important role in two use-cases: with wearable and implantable medical devices where low weight bolsters patient comfort, and in transportation where low weight directly cuts vehicle fuel and energy consumption.  

Integrated Curing 

Manufacturing cycle times and adhesive bond strengths are both directly benefited by providing curing features integrated into the automatic glue applicator equipment.  Adding UV light, infrared light, heat, forced air, microwave, laser or time-based curing components, parts can be glued, set and then moved into a curing position all within the same machine.    

Variable Bond Profiles

Working with fluid adhesives opens up a great many options for how to bond components together, being free of restrictions around size, shape, quantity and position of bond points. Adhesive profiles (or how and where glue is applied) balance out strength and cost (more glue = higher strength = higher cost). 

Glue machines can easily apply adhesive in dots, stitches, random patterns, solid large areas, continuous hermetic seals and even complete potting (filling a void space to displace air).

Engineered Adhesive Formulas  

Manufacturers should keep their options open as to which adhesive manufacturers and formulations they may wish to use in the future. As such, glue applicators should be designed with an adhesive spec in mind, but also offer flexibility to change specs later.  Doing so will directly support future process improvements, product enhancements and adhesive technology leaps without having to replace machinery.  Advanced engineering properties such as load strength, temperature compatibility, inert/reactionless bonding, hygienic sterility and stress reaction can all be targeted when selecting an adhesive.  

Pro tip: There is value in selecting an equipment manufacturer (like AMS!) that is not tied to a specific adhesive OEM, which could limit your options to only what that OEM can provide. Select for flexibility over brand alignment, unless your application specifically calls for a given brand or formulation without exception.     

High Reliability and Repeatability 

Industrial adhesives open the door to very precise, tight-tolerance, exact-location fastening that proves to reliably bond components over many cycles.  Glued bonds can be applied in metered volumes, and can even be laser-targeted as well as vision-sensor inspected after depositing, altogether assuring maximum consistency.  

On a related note, overall system efficiency is reinforced by total operational reliability, not just per-equipment reliability.  We here at AMS understand this. We take the time to gain a holistic view of your operations and objectives first, then design equipment to excel within the bigger picture. In this context, we say that glue dispensing reliability is best realized when equipment is designed for the overall operation, not just the single work step.  

Automatic Documentation 

Mechanized glue depositing is very well-positioned for heavily regulated, quality-controlled products, thanks to the onboard automation’s inherent ability to capture process data directly. This data can be instantly turned into batch, traceability, performance and other documentation automatically, meeting regulatory and quality requirements straight away.

Application Examples:  Where Automatic Glue Applicator Machines Really Stick 

The above features of automated glue joining sound great, but what actual applications out there demonstrate these benefits? Let’s answer using a handful of examples pulled directly from our recent projects:    

  • Medical implants: infusion ports, catheter assemblies, stat monitors, internal drug injectors, cardiovascular components, and orthopedic structures
  • Medical consumables: needles, syringes, IV bags, applicators, test kits, surgical supplies, gowning and protective garments
  • Medical equipment: vital measurement carts (blood pressure, oxygen, etc), dialysis machine enclosures, wheelchair finishes, sleep apnea pressure pumps and ventilator tube fittings
  • Emergency response equipment: defibrillator handles, wound closures, artery clamp handle covers, blood bags, stretcher padding and diagnostic instrument housings  
  • Automotive components: light fixtures, ornamental badges, trim pieces, instrument cluster bezels and moldings 
  • Automotive fabrics: upholstery panels, dash covers, floor mat assemblies, removable covers, draw-string clips, fastening point reinforcement and headliners
  • Building materials: tool handles, millwork assemblies, lighting fixture shrouds, casework and cabinet molding, window screen frames and submerged electrical fixture potting  
  • Electronics: smart-home sensors and hubs, television circuit board and adaptor mounting, appliance finishes and safety guards, and outdoor GPS system housings 

Glue Applicator Questions? 

Could glue applicator machines be a game-changer for your operations? Let’s talk about it. Contact us today for an application review.

marshall hornsby

Marshall Hornsby

Marshall joined AMS during his senior year at the University of Cincinnati as a Co-op. His passion for problem-solving combined with his background in sales and marketing plays a key role in his dedication to AMS and its customers' success.

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