American Coach Switches to LORD Engineered Adhesives to Improve Aesthetics
By: Kimberly Kayler , Constructive Communication , 614-873-6706
(Cary, NC — 10/20/2008)
Mexico's American Coach is a national manufacturer of premium intercity coaches known for quality. That is why — after learning that several major automotive manufacturers have used structural adhesives on more than 50 million cars for 25 years to minimize the use of unsightly screws on the body work — American Coach decided to evaluate its merit as well.
In 2005, American Coach sought to replace the typical metal design of the luggage doors on their HL2 and HL models using Fiber Reinforced Plastics (FRPs). However, this change presented their design team with the challenge of finding a better way to bond the assembly of FRP parts. Once they finished the new design of the luggage doors using FRP and conducted several trials with different adhesive and sealant manufacturers, the team leaders of the project, Engineering Manager Martin Amezcua and Product Engineer Jaime Cruz, contacted LORD Corporation — a pioneer in specialty structural adhesives, polyurethane coatings as well as electronic, vibration and noise control solutions. According to Jaime Cruz, LORD Corporation’s structural adhesives allowed American Coach to obtain a perfect appearance on the FRP with the expected strength bonding.
LORD Corporation’s solution was LORD 406/19 GB — an acrylic adhesive that bonds a variety of prepared and unprepared metals and engineering plastics and FRP. In use for more than a decade, these adhesives have proven to be extremely reliable when exposed to demanding outdoor environments.
“Not only were the aesthetics of the doors improved, but the use of LORD adhesives also reduced the time spent in the post finishing and weight of the parts, all contributing to a 10 percent reduction in cost,” said Cruz.
According to Arnulfo Garcia, LORD Sales Representative, the use of LORD adhesives enabled the removal of unsightly screws on the outside body, resulting in a more durable and appealing coach. Another benefit is the savings in labor and material costs. Once the crews became accustomed to the adhesive bonding process, they quickly recognized its speed, which has a direct impact on their weekly production goals. In addition, the adhesives are expected to be a quieter solution. Unlike welded doors and panels, a bonded component cannot warp out-of-plumb because of its superior stiffness. Other attributes include impact-resistance and vibration control. Since the integration of adhesives, not a single failure has occurred.
According to Ben Zamora, Sales Manager, Western Region of LORD Corporation, while learning about American Coach’s needs, LORD also had the opportunity to suggest another improvement: a mounting option for the coach’s power train suspension and cooling suspension.
“American Coach was already using LORD Corporation’s Torsilastic primary suspension system. We recognized additional opportunities to improve the noise vibration and harshness of their coach by the application of LORD mechanical products,” said Zamora. “We analyzed their power train suspension and their cooling suspension. A six degree of freedom analysis allowed us to determine which mechanical products would optimize the suspension systems. The suspension systems were prototyped. The optimization was realized and they elected to switch to LORD products.”
Zamora continued by stating the integration of LORD adhesives and mechanical products supports the American Coach vision of producing a coach tailor-made for the Mexican market.