Aluminum composite material (ACM) panels are a popular and durable building material. Often, Kynar® powder coating is used to paint ACM panels. The coated metal must be properly cured in order to maintain color and gloss after installation. Curing involves applying the powder electrostatically to the aluminum and baking it at high temperatures. Kynar® coatings require temperatures of 400 degrees or more—higher than those of some other powder or e-coating materials.
Structural adhesives are being used more and more to attach the internal frame of an ACM panel to outer sheets. Adhesives provide many benefits compared to mechanical fasteners. But when high paint-curing temperatures are involved, adhesive selection becomes critical. LORD® 810 Low Read-Through (LRT) acrylic adhesive (which is cured with LORD Accelerator 20GB) was developed for the architectural market and can go through high temperature paint cycles.
Structural adhesives enable panels to be sandwiched before painting and offer five key advantages:
- Lower Transportation Costs: If an adhesive can’t endure the painting process, individual parts must be shipped to the coater, coated, then shipped back for panel assembly. Using LORD 810 eliminates two legs of this journey, allowing for shop assembly that is followed by painting and direct shipping to the final destination.
- Lower Labor Costs: Sometimes ACMs are still site-assembled by welders. Finding qualified welders can be difficult; however, one customer reported that welded assembly of even small, 4-foot by 8-foot panels can take up to one hour per panel on the jobsite. Having panels arrive preassembled dramatically reduces worker hours.
- Faster Project Schedule: Waiting for building components that are in transit—or being painstakingly assembled on the ground by work crews—can delay a project’s schedule. Factory assembly of panels expedites the overall schedule.
- Bond Strength: When one aluminum substrate is bonded directly to another, it is more reliable than if the adhesive is attached to a paint layer, where the bond between the paint and the metal may not be strong.
- Process Improvements: Switching to heat-resistant structural adhesives has given some ACM manufacturers the flexibility to bring painting operations in-house, since painting becomes a faster process.
We collaborate with our customers to bring innovative products that will help their ACM assembly process. In fact, one of my customers saved $30,000 associated with bonding before painting.
Efficiency in construction saves time and money. If you are an ACM manufacturer looking to streamline operations, switch to a heat-resistant structural adhesive and experience faster turnaround times and lower costs overall.