Water-based Is the Way to Glue

There are many benefits to switching to water based contact adhesives - 1998

Q. What is the latest in water based contact adhesives? Do they work? Do they postform? What am I gaining by switching?

A. There are a number of excellent water based contact cements available today, and they tend to vary greatly.

Most of today's water based contacts have very high solids content (50-60%). Some companies have been selling a two part system in order to speed up dry time, most of the contacts available today work quite well, and any water based contact worth buying will postform.

As with water based finishes, it is usually necessary to change your process rather than trying to make the new adhesive adapt to your current process. Because the base of the adhesive is being carried in water rather than a solvent, it takes a longer time to flash off.

This can be minimized by applying a very thin layer with spray or by use of forced hot air (such as with an industrial heat gun) or by a combination of both.

The initial cost of water based contacts appears considerably higher than traditional solvent based products but when the solids content is taken into account, often, the price per square foot covered is less than when a solvent based product is used.

Finally, the biggest gain in using a water based contact cement is the lessening of health and fire risks. Any of the solvent and "non-flam" products pose a serious health threat. Most of these are being legislated out of existence. By the year 2000 it will be illegal to use these products in most of the US. Because of this, these types of products are already getting more difficult to source.

Jeff Pitcher is Marketing Director for Custom-Pak Adhesives in Newark, Ohio.