One of my customers—a major manufacturer who produces freight trucks and moving vans—discovered that 80 percent of the company’s warranty claims were related to water leaks around rivets. The leaks were especially problematic in front-end components such as wind fairings (designed to reduce noise, wind and drag). Mechanical fasteners, like rivets, require you to a drill a hole into the application to properly secure the substrates together. This can can cause galvanic corrosion, loosen over time and create water leaks. Where as with structural adhesives, the process is simple by typically bonding and sealing in a single operation. Adhesives provide a strong bond and help to prevent corrosion.
There’s a “perfect storm” of circumstances that make these rivet locations troublesome. Vehicles travel constantly over rough roads, jarring bolts loose. Materials (metal rivets, rubber gaskets and the substrate around them) can weather and degrade, creating gaps. And not only are vehicles constantly exposed to the elements, but they travel at high velocity, which causes rain to be driven into crevices.
Manufacturers who see a high number of warranty claims naturally want to find a preventative measure. We collaborate with vehicle manufacturers all over the world to help them find solutions to their application problems. In the case of my customer, LORD® 810 Low Read-Through (LRT) acrylic adhesive provided fast handling strength, convenience and an aesthetic finish—plus a strong, watertight seal. Water leak claims for this particular application is no longer an issue.