Applications are mostly manufactured in the lightest way possible, because:
- Less material (weight) needed
- Less CO2 emission
- Less energy consumption
This results in multi-material solutions, with the right material on the right place, combining different material types. Hence, suitable joining is required, and often adhesive bonding is the answer, allowing to join different substrate materials without the need for drilling holes (extra damage) as is the case with mechanical joining techniques. However, the focus during adhesive bonding has always been on the structural performance, not on repairability or end-of-life (EOL) possibilities. Thermoset (TS) adhesives are mostly used: once the components are joined, they cannot be simply debonded. Instead of repairing a component, the complete product is replaced, and at the end of the product life, everything is scrapped. This contradicts clearly to the original reason of multi-material products!
So, the idea is originated to use thermoplastic (TP) adhesives, where debonding on command is much more straightforward, but we are challenged to fulfil all product requirements (mechanical, physical). Also, processing of TP adhesives is significantly different to TS, requiring higher pressures and/or temperatures for example.
At this moment, companies in W-Europe are not motivated enough towards an eco-design of their products, since it is cheaper to scrap the complete product instead of disassembling and recycling.
- Battery packs
Within this project the feasibility and potential of TP adhesives will be shown by a pilot-line, demonstrating the (automated) manufacturability, as well as the product performance and the EOL possibilities. On a long term, the realisations will wake up other companies to follow the example and switch to TP adhesives as well, contributing to a reduced resource consumption.