At NEDC, we like to think we are problem solvers. At 3M Company, they do the same. Since NEDC is an authorized 3M converter we die-cut many tape products of theirs. As far as permanent fasteners go, 3M VHB Tapes are known globally and recognized as the leader in alternatives to permanent fastening. It is a great alternative to some of the conventional permanent fasteners. 3M VHB Tapes has replaced many permanent fasteners such as rivets, spot welds, and liquid adhesives.
What is VHB Tape and How is it Used?
VHB Tape is a high bonding tape that is made up of closed-cell acrylic foam. This acrylic foam tape is special in a way that can be difficult to describe. As mentioned above, it is used as essential a permanent adhesive. The VHB Tape can make objects defy gravity, or just generally stick together. For example, I’ve seen the famous 3M video where two tractor trailer trucks are trying to pull about VHB Tape.
Properties of 3M VHB Tapes:
VHB(Very-High Bond) Tapes are acrylic foam tapes. They are viscoelastic meaning it absorbs energy, and relaxes during stress. These closed-cell acrylic foam tapes build their bonding strength overtime. VHB has been tested in stressful weather conditions performing at high levels. Some examples of its strength have been demonstrated with traffic signs. Everyone has driven by a traffic sign and seen the harsh weather conditions these signs endure day in, and day out. In addition, these tapes have an incredible tolerance for low temperatures. One of the good things about VHB is the flexibility of the bond. Additionally, with spot welds, or rivets, expansion, or contraction of adjoined surfaces may be an issue. However, VHB Tapes can tolerate shifts in the bond line. In regards to chemical resistance, VHB stands up well to splash testing to even the most nasty solvents.
Availability of 3M VHB Tapes:
There is a wide range of VHB Tapes available. As a result, they are broken up into families to make choosing a little easier. There are many families, but to name a few, 4950, 4945, 4910, 4951, LSE, GPH , and 4622. Notably, each family has a different strength such as how well it sticks to certain substrates. The availability of 3M VHB Tapes seems endless:
-Flame Retardant Options, i.e 5958FR
-General Purpose Options, i.e 5925, 5952, 5962, 4619, 4622
-Thin Options, i.e 5907, 5906, 5909
-Thick Options, i.e 4959, 4959F
-Available Outgassing Data Options, i.e 4930, 4932, 4945
-High Temperature Options, i.e 4611
-Low Surface Energy Options, i.e 5952, LSE-160, LSE-110, LSE-060
-Low Temperature Options, i.e 4951, or 4957
-Powder Coated Surface Options, i.e GPH-060GF, GPH-110GF, GPH-160GF
Each VHB Tape has a unique color, liner, and thickness. There are over 40 different individual VHB Tape designations. Each designation holds a different family, thickness, color, or liner. In addition, some designations have a special feature that allows them to have a small edge over the others.
How to Apply 3M VHB Tapes:
There are a few things to consider when bonding 3M VHB Tapes. They include surface being bonded, gap being adjoined, cleanliness of the surface, and how much tape is being used. Thickness plays a large role in the type of application that the tape may be used in. For example, depending on how well the tapes are able to wet-out onto a surface. The tape should be at least twice as thick as the mismatch. However, if you are unsure, use a thicker VHB Tape. As with any other tape, overtime bond strength increases. As mentioned above, there are plenty of options available. For more details on application of VHB Tapes, see attached product information guide that is detailed in its scope.
Most Popular 3M VHB Tapes that NEDC uses:
NEDC uses a number of VHB Tapes when die-cutting electronic VHB gaskets, or adhesive preforms for customers. Some of the more common tapes used are:
-3M 4936 VHB Tape
-3M 4929 VHB Tape
-3M 4919F VHB Tape
-3M 5906 VHB Tape
VHB Tapes are used as gaskets frequently. Some VHB Tapes are used as seals for dust, water and other mediums that may ingress into the application. This is common for electronic tablets, and other electronic handhelds. As a result, we often see VHB used in electronic tablet applications as a gasket. Commonly, we will see tapes such as VHB Tapes 5907, 5906, and 5909 used in such applications due to their thin profile. Given their thin profile they can also be aesthetically pleasing. VHB Tapes show great adhesion even in submersion of water over 10 years.
As mentioned above, VHB Tapes are commonly used for permanent fasteners of things such as signage or adhering plates together. It is common to see many different applications of VHB Tape being used to hold together metal frames that you would normally assume would require some type of mechanical fastener.
Tolerances of Thickness/Cutting
The thickness tolerance on VHB Tapes is also incredibly important to the functionality of them. These tapes carry anywhere from a (+/- 15 to a +/- 10% tolerance). VHB Tapes have a long shelf life. In roll form they have between 18-24 months, however they have been in use for over 30 years in some applications.
Cutting Tolerance Suggestions:
It’s good to understand that 3M VHB Tapes are foam, tape products. They can move easily. As a result, it is good to keep the tolerances relatively wide open. VHB Tapes are cut by laser-cutting or die-cutting normally by 3M Converters. Below are some of our suggestions:
|Size of Dimension, X or Y|
VHB Tapes are available in roll formats from 3M Company. Since NEDC is an Authorized 3M Converter, NEDC die-cuts VHB Tapes into custom shapes and sizes for its customers. Typically, this is achieved through a customer-supplied drawing that instructs what dimensions and tolerances of the part are required. For more information on VHB Tapes, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.