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The demand for refrigerated vehicles has been growing sharply, in part due to the increasing consumer preference to do grocery shopping on line and have them home delivered. In response to this increase in demand, Solomon Commercials Ltd., a leading European manufacturer of temperature controlled refrigerated vehicle bodies, looked for cost effective ways to increase output from their existing production lines.
This was achieved, without compromise in build quality, by re- engineering a long established assembly process. They eliminated the need for riveting bodywork panels together, switching to using only Scott Bader’s Crestabond M1-30 primer-less methacrylate (MMA) structural adhesive; productivity increased by over 50%. Previously, Solomon Commercials assembled vehicle body panels by mechanical fixing with rivets, and then switched to bonding with a polyurethane (PU) adhesive. To gain a better bond strength and significantly improved productivity, Solomon Commercials have now switched to using Crestabond M1-30 to bond all the aluminium sections to glass reinforced plastic (GRP) panels and the outer aluminium profiles to vehicle boxes. Crestabond M1-30 provides all the long fixture performance needed for their refrigerated vehicle body applications.
Solomon Commercials has two production units in Rossendale, Lancashire. To suit the variety of bonding applications required for the different refrigerated vehicle body designs, their technical and operations project team worked closely with Scott Bader’s technical experts to find the best solution. Crestabond M1-30 was selected from the range, as its working time of 25 - 35 minutes and fixture time of 60 - 80 minutes gave optimum flexibility on the shop floor using only one structural adhesive for all applications. The unique added benefit offered by Crestabond structural adhesives is that they are primer-less, with none or only minimal surface cleaning needed of the substrates to be bonded; this also saves production time and assembly costs. The bond strength and fatigue resistance of Crestabond M1-30 is ideally suited for body panel assembly applications with GRP and aluminium; typical mechanical properties for Crestabond M1-30 of 17-20 MPa for tensile strength, a tensile modulus of 750 - 1000 MPa and an elongation of > 100% are quoted by Scott Bader, based on laboratory test results. As Crestabond has been proven in other demanding structural adhesive applications, such as in boat hulls, Solomon Commercials has a high degree of confidence in its long term adhesion strength and structural performance for their refrigerated vehicle bodies.
The significant increase in shop floor productivity for Solomon Commercials, with overall reductions in assembly times by up to four hours, depending on the vehicle size and specification, were cost effectively achieved by applying the Crestabond adhesive using MeterMix® Systems Ltd. supplied Sulzer Mixpac DXH pneumatic dispensing hand guns used in combination with a Sulzer Mixpac DXR refilling station. Significant material cost savings are made using this type of system, as the refilling station uses bulk 20 litre pails of Crestabond M1-30 and activator, serving a multiple number of pneumatic hand guns as needed on the shop floor. Sulzer Mixpac DXH pneumatic guns have the unique benefit of point of application metering and mixing of the 10:1 ratio MMA adhesive from pressure assisted, refillable adhesive and activator reservoirs located on the gun. MeterMix® Systems Ltd., based in Rushden, Northamptonshire, is the official UK distributor for Sulzer Mixpac DX systems. For a limited number of applications, manual hand guns with Crestabond M1-30 400ml co-axial cartridges are also used on the assembly lines.
Solomon Commercials Ltd. has been carrying out refrigerated truck and trailer conversions for more than 30 years. They custom build refrigerated bodies onto truck and lorry chassis to specific customer needs. Michael Solomon, director for Solomon Commercials stated: “Scott Bader has become an important supplier partner to us. This is down to a combination of having high quality adhesive products and their invaluable technical help and support. They also worked closely with our Operations team to ensure a smooth introduction of the Crestabond adhesive into our production process. Overall, we feel we have backed a winning horse to help us stay ahead of our competition and achieve key business goals. ”
There are five Crestabond adhesive options in the current 10:1 range, offering manufacturers a choice of working times from 5 minutes up to 90 minutes and structural bonding and gap filling up to 50mm. For more information on Scott Bader adhesives go to www.scottbader.com .
More information: www.scottbader.com