Carmakers see adhesives as way to make vehicles lighter and tougher

Article by Anita Panait, on June 10, 2013

One of the solutions that carmakers has found to make their vehicles lighter and tougher is to make use of more aluminum and exotic composites. However, these materials cannot be weld together, so carmakers have to find a solution to this another problem – glue them together. Indeed, carmakers are now using high-tech adhesives that are strong now to hold different auto parts and components together even when a vehicle cruises at top speed or undergoes high pressure.

With more and more carmakers making use of this material on more vehicles and models, one thing has become definite – the demand for automotive adhesives will grow at fast pace. The EUR2 billion-EUR3 billion ($2.6 billion-$3.9 billion) market for automotive adhesives currently accounts for less than 10 percent of the global adhesives market. Industry experts, however, expects the amount of glue used in an average car -- around 15 kilograms -- may surge by at least a third over the next 5-10 years.

Structural adhesives could now be used not only as sealants that fill in gaps in vehicle joints, but also something that could hold together and stiffen load-bearing parts and components like doors, bumpers and struts.

Fabrice Roghe, a partner specializing in industrial goods at Boston Consulting Group, told Reuters that companies that can demonstrate that their glue “has something different to offer” and that it can be easily integrated into production processes will “achieve good margins.” Henkel, PPG and Atlas Copco offer custom-made adhesives that can absorb the shock of a crash and reduce clatter, allowing them to sell their products at higher prices and them getting more profits. [source: Reuters]

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