Aluminum composite material (ACM) panels are gaining popularity and are often installed as cladding on office buildings, warehouses and retail stores. The panels are constructed of two thin sheets of aluminum with a low-density material—often an extruded frame assembly—between them. Early panel assemblies were typically assembled using rivets, bolts or screws. But reducing the number of penetrations in the aluminum skin is crucial, both for the sake of the panel’s appearance and for its performance.
Recently I worked with panel fabricators, giving hands-on demonstrations of how structural adhesives offer a big improvement over mechanical fasteners. Adhesives used in ACM fabrication include LORD® 810 Low Read-Through (LRT) acrylic adhesive (which is cured with LORD Accelerator 20GB)—an innovative product that delivers fast cure speed and strong bonding with minimal bondline readthrough—and LORD® Maxlok™ MX/T3, MX/T6 and MX/T18 acrylic adhesives, which perform in a wide range of temperatures and are resistant to high impact or high peel loads.
For each side-by-side demonstration, adhesive was laid in a bead on the aluminum frame and the skin of the panel was placed on top and clamped down for 10 minutes. Compared to the panels that were joined with rivets, the adhesive panels showed clear evidence that bonding with our adhesives create a smooth, unblemished panel exterior with no holes, defects or bondline read-through. Also, by eliminating drilled openings in the panel, moisture penetration and consequent corrosion are dramatically reduced. Structural adhesives offer a stronger bond and easier assembly than mechanical fasteners, too.
We collaborate with each customer to bring you the best solution for your application. For our panel fabrication customers, hands-on demonstrations provide a real-life experience, and seeing is believing when it comes to ACM advancements.