Looking for UHB or VHB or AFT…or any Permanent Bonding Tape?
If you’re looking for a permanent bonding tape, you have several options to choose from. This post will inform you of your options when you want the extra assurance of a bond with no movement, and where your application must stand up to the most extreme temperature and/or weather condition. In many instances, high bonding tapes have proven to be an effective alternative to screws, rivets, and welds and will permanently adhere one substrate to another while spreading the stress load across the entire length of the joint. Once the materials are joined, a virtually indestructible weld is created.
Manufacturers will often categorize their High Bonding Tapes within the foam family, but this is not your traditional foam tape. Very High Bonding Tapes are made from an acrylic polymer material combined to form one substance. There is no separate backing, but instead a thick material that bonds to a variety of surfaces. These tapes are designed for applications where a permanent bond is needed and expected. After 72 hours, the bond becomes almost indestructible. Common uses for this type of product are in outdoor signs, construction, furniture manufacturing, automotive products, aerospace applications, and much more.
3M was the first to introduce and mass market their VHB – Very High Bonding Tape. Engineers have been using 3M VHB Tapes since 1980 to permanently bond and seal metals, plastics and other surfaces to increase productivity, durability and improve appearance. 3M VHB is stronger than any construction adhesive and provides the needed certificates and specs. Hotels in Dubai built with glass panels on the exterior are installed using ONLY 3M VHB and it holds up to their extreme desert sand storms. Most aluminum trailer skins are now attached using VHB because it’s actually stronger than rivets.
After 3M VHB hit the market, other High Bonding Tapes surfaced and the market continues to grow. UHB are Ultra High Bonding Tapes are double coated tape used to bond or mount materials and surfaces together. They are made from a durable acrylic foam that creates a solid bond in about 3 days. Acrylic Foam Tapes, AFT, are also high performance bonding tapes designed to provide engineered assembly solutions for a wide variety of industrial applications. These tapes are ideal for replacing mechanical fasteners and liquid adhesives in permanent applications where a very high strength bond is required. Manufactures with needed certifications for UHB Tapes and AFT Tapes, include major players like Tesa and Scapa.
Attempting to detach an item that has been attached to a smooth substrate (i.e. glass, aluminum, acrylics, etc.) using VHB, UHB or AFT tapes will ruin the smooth surface. However, if you must separate the surfaces and remove the residue, 3M has provided tools that can separate and remove the acrylic residue. You just need to know before hand if it would be possible for your application.
Be sure you purchase your VHB from a dealer that moves a lot of it. In use, VHB will last for years – perhaps decades. But just sitting on the shelf the adhesive can get old and cause the VHB not to adhere as it should. Be sure the stuff that you get is reasonably fresh, as it WILL go bad after a few years of sitting around.