Adhesive formulation is critical in many industries because adhesive formulations can create strong and lasting bonds between two or more surfaces when done correctly. However, the formulation of adhesives is also a complex process that can be difficult to get right the first time. That's why many businesses choose to outsource this service to experts. However, before you decide to outsource your adhesive formulation services, it's essential to be aware of the risks.
Adhesives: Physical properties
Adhesives are typically organised by the method of adhesion. These are then organised into reactive and non-reactive adhesives, which refers to whether the adhesive chemically reacts to harden. Alternatively, they can be organised by whether the raw stock is of natural or synthetic origin or their starting physical phase.
Adhesives by reactiveness:
- Drying: Solvent-based adhesives are typically used for applications where high strength and durability are required, such as in the automotive industry. Polymer-dispersion adhesives, also known as emulsion adhesives, are typically used for lighter-duty applications, such as in the construction industry. Emulsion adhesives are typically water-based, making them more environmentally friendly than solvent-based adhesives. Both types of non-reactive adhesives are available in various formulations to meet the specific needs of the application.
- Pressure-sensitive adhesives (PSAs) (also known as contact adhesives): PSAs are a type of adhesive that forms a bond when pressure is applied. They are typically made from acrylic or rubber-based materials and can be classified as either permanent or removable. Permanent adhesives are typically used in applications where a strong bond is required, such as in the construction industry. On the other hand, removable adhesives are often used in temporary applications, such as in labels and decals. PSAs can be further divided into two main categories: hot-melt adhesives and pressure-sensitive tapes. Hot-melt adhesives are applied in a molten state and cool to form a bond. On the other hand, pressure-sensitive tapes use an adhesive that is already in a viscous state. Both PSAs have advantages and disadvantages, which should be considered when selecting an adhesive for a particular application.
- Hot-melt adhesives: Hot-melt adhesives are a type of non-reactive adhesive commonly used in woodworking, electronics, and other applications where a strong bond is required. Hot-melt adhesives are applied as a liquid or paste at high temperatures, and they solidify as they cool. This makes them ideal for bonding materials that cannot be glued with traditional adhesives, such as metal or glass. In addition, hot-melt adhesives can be easily removed and replaced if necessary. However, they are not suitable for all applications. They must be used carefully to avoid damaging the bonded materials.
- anaerobic adhesives
- one-part (ultraviolet (UV) light curing adhesives (also known as light curing materials (LCM), heat curing adhesives (thermoset epoxies, urethanes, and polyimides), and moisture-curing adhesives (cyanoacrylates and urethanes)
- multi-part adhesives (polyester resin, polyols, acrylic polymers)
- pre-mixed and frozen adhesives (PMFs)
Adhesives by origin:
Natural adhesives are made from organic sources such as vegetable starch (dextrin), natural resins, or animals (e.g., milk protein casein and hide-based animal glues). These are often referred to as bioadhesives.
One example of a natural adhesive is a simple paste made by cooking flour in water. Starch-based adhesives are typically inexpensive and easy to make, but they are not very durable. Casein glue is made from milk protein and is stronger than starch-based adhesives, but it can be difficult to work with. Animal glues are made from collagen in animal hides and are very strong, but they can be expensive.
Other natural adhesives include albumen (egg white) and lignin (a wood component).
Synthetic adhesives are made out of organic compounds and have many advantages over natural adhesives. They are stronger, more durable, and can be customised to meet the needs of specific applications. Synthetic adhesives are also less likely to degrade over time, which is ideal for long-term projects. There are four main types of synthetic adhesives: elastomers, thermoplastics, emulsions, and thermosets. Each type has its unique properties and benefits.
Epoxy adhesives, for example, are known for their strength and resistance to extreme temperatures. Polyurethane adhesives are flexible and resistant to moisture, while cyanoacrylate adhesives form a strong bond in seconds. Acrylic polymers are another type of synthetic adhesive that is characterised by their clear, colourless appearance. Choosing the right adhesive for a project requires careful consideration of the material being bonded and the desired properties of the adhesive.
Adhesive application methods
Then there are different application methods for adhesive tapes:
- Epoxy adhesives are structural adhesives typically used to bond metal and glass.
- Polyurethane adhesives are strong and permanently elastic, making them ideal for structures that require flexibility.
- Polyamide adhesives are resistant to heat and chemicals, making them suitable for harsh environments.
- Copy adhesives are typically used to bond paper products.
- Liquid adhesives are easy to apply and remove, making them ideal for temporary bonds.
- Film adhesives are thin and flexible, making them suitable for irregular bonding surfaces.
- Pellets adhesives are easy to store and transport, making them ideal for industrial applications.
Finally, warm melt adhesives are activated by heat, making them ideal for applications that require a quick bond.
These adhesive types have different raw materials and physical properties that make them more or less suited for specific applications. Therefore, choosing the correct formulation for your project is vital to ensure the best results.
Underlying the importance of getting the formulations right is a delicate balance of product performance and safety. Incorrect adhesive formulations can cause severe health and safety concerns, resulting in customer satisfaction issues, lost sales, and damage to your company's reputation. Test methods should be appropriate for the specific applications intended for the sealant or adhesive product.
The top risks of outsourcing formulation services for your new adhesive product
This blog post will discuss 10 of the top risks of outsourcing adhesive formulation services.
Loss of Control
When you outsource adhesive formulation services, you are essentially giving up control of this process to a third-party vendor; this can be a risk if you're not confident in the vendor's ability to deliver on their promises. Therefore, it is essential to do your research and due diligence when selecting a vendor to overcome this issue. Make sure to ask for references and check them thoroughly. In addition, be clear about your expectations and requirements upfront so that there is no confusion later on. You can ensure a positive experience with outsourcing adhesive formulation services by taking these precautionary measures.
You should ask questions along the lines of:
- What procedures do you have to ensure that the adhesive formulation meets our specific needs and expectations?
- How much experience do you have with adhesive formulations for our particular industry or application?
- Can you provide references from other customers who have been satisfied with your work?
- What happens if there are any problems with the adhesive formulation after being delivered?
- How will we be able to track the progress of the glue formulation process?
- What is your quality assurance process?
These are just a few examples of the types of questions you should ask vendors to understand better their adhesive formulation process and what steps they take to ensure quality control. By asking these questions, you can be sure that you're getting the level of service and attention to detail that you need from your vendor.
There is always a risk of communication barriers when working with a remote team. It can be challenging to relay complex information effectively when not in the same room. To overcome this issue, it's crucial to establish clear lines of communication from the start. For example, make sure to schedule regular check-ins with your vendor so that you can provide feedback and address any concerns promptly. In addition, use a project management tool like Asana, Trello or Cloutput to keep track of tasks and deadlines; this will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goal.
You should ask questions along the lines of:
- How do you ensure that communication is clear and concise?
- What tools do you use to track project progress and deadlines?
- What is your quality assurance process?
- Do you have any reference clients who have been satisfied with your adhesive formulation services?
Unforeseen and Hidden Costs
Outsourcing adhesive formulation services can save you money in the long run. However, outsourcing can be hidden costs, such as travel expenses, communication fees, and currency conversion rates. Ask your vendor for a detailed quote that includes all charges to avoid these hidden costs. In addition, make sure to factor in the price of any necessary equipment or supplies you will need to purchase to complete the adhesive formulation process. Be aware, however, that on some projects, a fixed price quotation will not be possible, and you will be working on a time and materials basis.
You should ask questions along the lines of:
- How much will the adhesives and sealants formulation process cost in total?
- Are there any hidden costs that I should be aware of?
- What (if any) equipment or supplies will I need to purchase to complete the adhesive formulation process?
- What are the terms and conditions of your service agreement?
- How often do you require payment, and what payment methods do you accept?
- Can you provide a detailed quote that includes all charges?
Difficult to Find the Perfect Formulation Partner
There are many adhesive formulation vendors to choose from, making it challenging to find the perfect one for your needs. Therefore, when searching for a vendor, it's essential to keep your specific adhesive requirements in mind. For example, if you need an FDA-approved adhesive, you will need to find a vendor that specialises in this area. Once you have a shortlist of potential vendors, check their references and reviews before making your final decision.
To find the formulation partner that's right for you, try:
- Ask your adhesive supplier if they offer formulation services
- Search online for adhesive formulation services
- Contact Innovolo
- Contact industry organisations or trade shows related to adhesive formulations
- Ask other businesses who have outsourced adhesive formulation services if they can recommend a partner
- Review adhesive formulation vendor directories or databases
Privacy and Security Concerns
When working with a third-party vendor, there is always a risk of data breaches and security concerns. To mitigate this risk, it's crucial to select a vendor that has experience handling sensitive information and takes data security seriously. In addition, always get an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) in place before sharing any confidential information with your vendor; this will help protect your trade secrets and intellectual property.
Asking the below questions will help you assess an adhesive formulation vendor's privacy and security protocols:
- How do you protect data from being accessed or stolen?
- What is your experience with handling sensitive information?
- Do you have an NDA in place?
- What security measures do you have in place to protect our data?
- Have you ever had a data breach?
- What is your data security policy?
- Do confidentiality agreements bind all your employees?
- How often do you conduct data security audits?
Lack of Experience with Remote Teams
If you're not used to working with remote teams, it can be challenging to manage them effectively. To overcome this issue, it's essential to set clear expectations and deadlines. In addition, use a project management tool like Asana or Trello to keep track of tasks and progress. You can ensure that your adhesive formulation project is completed on time and to your satisfaction by taking these measures.
Asking some of the below questions will help you assess an adhesive formulation vendor's experience with working remotely:
- What is your experience with working with remote teams?
- How do you ensure tasks are completed on time and to satisfaction?
- Do you have a project management tool in place?
- What are your communication protocols?
- How often do you conduct team meetings?
Outsourcing a Key Product
When outsourcing adhesive formulation services, there is always a risk that the vendor will not be able to meet your quality standards; to avoid this, it's crucial to select a vendor with experience in your specific industry. In addition, be sure to ask for references and check them thoroughly. You can ensure that you're working with a reputable and reliable adhesive formulation partner by taking these precautions.
Asking some of the below questions will help you assess an adhesive formulation vendor's experience and qualifications:
- Do you have specific adhesive formulations experience in my industry?
- Can you provide me with references?
- What are your quality control procedures?
- What is your adhesive formulation process?
- How do you develop new adhesive formulations?
- Do you have a team of adhesive formulation experts?
- What qualifications do your adhesive formulation team members have?
- Do you use any software or tools to help with adhesive formulation?
Vendor Failure to Deliver or Constant Delays
There is always a risk that your adhesive formulation project will be delayed or never completed if the vendor fails to deliver on its promises. To avoid this, it's essential to select a vendor with a good track record of meeting deadlines. In addition, be sure to get a detailed quote that includes all charges so that you're not surprised by any hidden costs. You can ensure that your adhesive formulation project is completed on time and to your satisfaction by taking these measures.
- What is your track record of meeting deadlines?
- How will you know if the adhesive formulation project is delayed?
- What are your escalation protocols for adhesive formulation projects that are delayed?
- How often do you communicate with clients about their adhesive formulation projects?
Quality of the Outsourced Product
When outsourcing adhesive formulation services, there is always a risk that the quality of the finished product will not meet your standards; to avoid this, it's essential to select a vendor with a good reputation for quality. In addition, be sure to ask for references and check them thoroughly. You can ensure that you're working with a reputable and reliable adhesive formulation partner by taking these precautions.
- What quality control procedures do you have in place?
- How often do you conduct quality assurance audits?
- If the adhesive formulation product is not up to par, do you have a return policy?
- Can you send me samples of your adhesive formulation products before I purchase them?
- What kind of warranty do you offer on adhesive formulation products?
Geolocation (including raw materials)
Outsourcing adhesive formulation services can save you money in the long run; however, there are some hidden costs associated with outsourcing, such as travel expenses and communication fees. Be sure to factor these into your budget when selecting a vendor. In addition, be aware of time differences when communicating with your vendor; this will help avoid any misunderstandings or miscommunications.
- What is your process for dealing with unexpected delays?
- Do you have any experience working with clients in my country/region?
- Are there any geographical limitations to where you can work?
- What are the costs associated with shipping adhesive formulation products?
By taking these risks into account, you can decide whether or not to outsource adhesive formulation services. Working with a reputable and experienced vendor can minimise the risks and ensure that your glue formulation project is completed on time and to your satisfaction. Contact us today to learn more about our adhesive formulation services. We would be happy to discuss your specific needs and provide a customised proposal.