There’s no shame is asking for help. Adhesion problems have a tendency to be persistent and resilient to most solutions, causing frustration and long-term headaches at best, costly rework, recalls, scrap, production delays and reputation loss at worst. These problems often require more than manufacturers are currently equipped to handle on their own.
Adhesion problems don’t exist or remain due to a lack of trying to eradicate them. Manufacturers are voraciously throwing possible remedies against the wall to see what sticks. They use surface quality test methods like dyne solutions and water break tests. They implement additional surface preparation steps like abrasion, plasma treatment, industrial washing operations and even just manual wiping. They seek help from the equipment and adhesive suppliers. They pull their hair out and scream at the heavens. Yet, the adhesion problem remains, undeterred.
Adhesion process control is an area that does not have a wealth of solutions or legacy remediation techniques that are truly reliable. Also, the fundamental science behind adhesion-based problems is not always fully understood, making it more difficult to get to the root cause.
There is hope and help! There are several things to keep in mind when reaching out for assistance:
- You need to understand who has the actual expertise you’re looking for.
- You need to know if you’re getting something practical or merely analysis without real-world application.
- You need help from someone who has the right perspective on the problem.
Who to Ask?
When attempting to build or improve an adhesion process, manufacturers are faced with a highly fractured market of specialists. Due to the emerging importance of advanced materials and complex adhesion operations, there has been a massive opportunity for companies to drill very deep in a particular aspect of the adhesion process.
There are experts in plasma physics, specialists who develop state-of-the-art treatment equipment and companies that devise highly precise and narrowly-focused testing equipment for laboratories. There are chemists who make and have exhaustive knowledge of adhesives and mechanical engineers who design and build materials for every imaginable application.
Each of these experts can be highly effective at optimizing a very narrow aspect of an adhesion process. If it is assessed that the problem lies within the scope of these specialists, then there are extremely knowledgeable and capable assets at the disposal of manufacturers.
What Kind of Help are You Getting?
There are many services available to manufacturers who need to get to the root cause of adhesion process issues. The services and tests vary widely and include things like strength tests, ionic contamination tests, chemical characterizations of surfaces, toughness analysis, and all sorts of ways of understanding limits and vulnerabilities of materials.
When reaching out for help, you need to work with someone who understands your process and will run relevant tests that provide actionable data. Many laboratory tests are indirect tests that may not tell you information that gets to the heart of your surface quality, and certainly does not help with what to do about it if the results aren’t favorable.
Moreover, when the tests are run and the results are collected, be wary of anyone who presents you with raw data and sends you on your way.
Work with Surface Scientists who offer data in a comprehensible manner with, not merely an interpretation (which is certainly useful) but also a recommendation of action steps based on what the data reveals. This will put a stop to unnecessary steps being added based on hunches as opposed to rigorous scientific analysis.
Is Your Help Holistic?
One of the main problems with seeking help is the specialization talked about earlier in this article. Like previously stated, that kind of expertise is perfect if the problem resides squarely within the purview of the expert being called upon.
What’s lacking is the requisite interdisciplinary knowledge to solve adhesion problems that can be much more complex than they may seem. Often adhesion issues arise out of inadequate surface quality checks and controls throughout the entirety of the adhesion process.
System-level problems like this require system-level expertise.
Only process experts that have experience with your particularly application can truly be helpful in diagnosing root causes and eliminating the problem at its origins. These types of experts can also help implement monitoring methods that can alert you to trends in the wrong direction before they become actual problems.
Good Help is Hard to Find
What companies who are experiencing chronic failures, incessant cleanliness issues and/or adhesion problems of any sort need is help from someone who will not just apply a bandage to a gaping wound. Companies who are hemorrhaging money, time and resources trying to figure out how to rescue themselves require a partner to take a step back and assess the problem at a system-level.
Tackling problems on a system-wide scale takes a breadth of knowledge about manufacturing processes, Materials Science and solutions that are on-going measures, not one-and-done salves that only treat symptoms.
To learn more about how these kind of experts discover the source of adhesion problems and the steps necessary to eliminate them, download our eBook on the subject: “Checklist: Adhesion Failure Root-Cause Analysis for Manufacturers”.