Foam tapes offer many advantages for a wide variety of applications. Because of this, tape manufacturers have invested heavily in this category and expanded their offering to include even more impressive foam tapes than ever before. Foam is used extensively for general mounting purposes in industrial, commercial and residential spaces, crafts, athletics, etc. More high tech, high performance foams are used for a wide variety of projects from the construction industry to the transportation industry and pretty much every industry in between. High performance acrylic foam tapes offer immediate adhesion but actually increase their bond over time, making them excellent choices for permanent application.
These high performance foam tapes are incredibly strong, allowing them to replace mechanical fasteners such as screws and bolts. They have the ability to adhere to almost any substrate including steel, aluminum, glass, plastic, and more. Because they reliably bond to a variety of substrates they are excellent for applications where different substrates are being joined together. Foam tapes replace rivets, screws, liquid adhesives, and welding in applications where those traditional fasteners could damage the materials they are bonding. Foam tapes also increase efficiency because they are quick to apply and require no finishing. High performance foam tapes also are resistant to UV rays, extreme temperatures, and extreme weather conditions.
How do foam tapes perform so well?
Foam tape technology revolves around viscoelasticity; meaning foams have viscous and elastic properties. Viscosity refers to a sticky consistency that sits between a liquid and a solid. Elasticity refers to the material’s ability to return to its original shape after being pulled or compressed. So basically, foam tapes are not only sticky, they are also able to be stretched or compressed and go right back to their original shape. Because of these characteristics, they hold things together through stressful situations without cracking under the pressure and then return to their original state and continue to hold strong. This performance is especially important when holding together different substrates in trying conditions. During stress, different substrates will react differently. Because of foam tapes impressive viscoelasticity, they hold between the two substrates in even the most trying conditions without compromising the hold or seal between the two. Compare that to rivets, screws, or welding, which are rigid and easily fail and damage materials when put in stressful situations.
Foam Tape Advantages by Industry
Foam tapes are used in so many industries you’d be reading this blog all day if we listed them all. So we’ll go through just a few to give you some examples of how high performance foam tapes are beneficial.
Automotive and Transportation
Traditionally, rivets and screws were used to build cars, airplanes, buses, trailers, etc. Because they hold only in specific areas, there was a lot of vibration, resulting in quite a noisy ride. With the use of foam tapes, many of the screws and rivets have been replaced. Tapes hold more surface area together and create a sort of barrier between the two so there is less vibration and less noise. Tapes are also far easier to apply. Instead of installing hundreds of screws which each take time to place, strips of tape can be applied in less than half of the time. Because the tape is not seen from the outside, there is no need for finishing work to cover screws or rivets. This is beneficial in construction of any kind including transportation vehicles, buildings, etc. because it allows for sleeker designs that take far less time to accomplish.
- More Efficient than Traditional Methods
- Much Quieter
- Far Less Vibration
- No Need for Finishing Work
- Ease of Application
In the appliance industry, foam tapes have been instrumental in creating modern, sleek designs in a much more attractive and efficient way than traditional fastening methods. They are also much more efficient during production and assembly because there is no set time or clamping required. Materials fastened with foam tapes can be handled immediately, making assembly much faster. To make things even more efficient, tapes can be applied during manufacturing of different parts so that assembly is even quicker, requiring only a peel and stick. Additionally, foam tapes actually bond and seal at the same time. This saves time and money during assembly because there’s no need for the extra time or expense of adding sealants. Foam tapes are also much lighter than other fastening methods so appliances are much easier to install and move. The reduction in vibration and sound allowed by foam tapes also enhances the user experience.
-Ease of Application
-Sleeker Designs Possible
-Bonds and Seals in One Step
-More Efficient Because of Immediate Handling
-Can be Pre-applied During Manufacturing
Foam Tapes have been revolutionary for the electronics industry. They are easily die cut to exact specifications, allowing for more efficient and precise assembly. Because foam tapes also seal, they allow electronics to be water and dust resistant without additional steps. Foam tapes also absorb energy so that devices are more resistant when dropped or handled improperly.
-Die Cut Easily for Maximum Efficiency
-Absorb Energy to Protect During Falls
-Seal Seams to Keep Out Dust and Moisture
As we said, this is an incredibly small look into what foam tapes can do. There are a variety of foam tapes on the market. Different types, densities, and constructions of foams are available that will withstand different stressors and environmental conditions. There are also many different types of adhesives used on foam tapes. In this category of tapes it’s important to note that the foam construction is actually much more important than the adhesive used. Not to say the adhesive isn’t important, but if the foam itself is not correct for the application, it will fail even if the correct adhesive is used. A great example of this is emblems on cars which are generally held on with a foam tape. Even if the adhesive was perfect for the application, the tape would fail in the cold if the incorrect foam was used. Some foams cannot withstand cold temperatures and will become brittle and snap even if the adhesive holds strong. The foam must be correct for your application, just as the adhesive must be correct for your application.
That’s where we come in. We have access to any type of foam tape you can imagine. When it comes to high performance foam tapes, there are two main players: 3M™ VHB™ and tesa®ACXplus. Each of these lines has a variety of products for different applications. Both lines are impressive although they are quite different in construction.
3M™ VHB™ Foam Tapes
3M™ VHB™ foam tapes have been on the market for a long time and are very well known in many industries. VHB™ tapes were used to construct buildings such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall. That building is an excellent example of what these tapes can do. They offer a cleaner look without the need for traditional fasteners, are much easier to use because they require must less time to install and require no downtime after use. They also require no finishing work because they’re not seen from the outside. 3M™ VHB™ tapes are constructed like a traditional double sided tape. They begin with an acrylic foam carrier that is coated on each side with an adhesive.
tesa®ACXplus Foam Tapes
tesa®ACXplus foam tapes are a newer innovation in foam tape technology. They can be used in the same solutions as VHB™ foam tapes. The biggest difference is in their construction. ACX plus foam tapes are actually one solid piece of acrylic foam material with the adhesive infused into the foam material instead of coated on top. This construction is beneficial in stressful situations because the foam material will not rip apart from the adhesive under pressure. Think of the example we used of the car emblem where the wrong foam material can actually split in two with the adhesive leaving part of the foam on each of the substrates that separated. ACX plus foam tapes have the adhesive infused into them so they hold strong in those situations instead of splitting. Because tesa® ACSplus foam tapes are newer to the market, they are incredibly cost effective. tesa® offers completely clear options that are so impressively clear they can actually create seamless looking glass walls.
If you’re looking for a foam tape for your application, look no further than Walker Tape Converting. We can source any type of foam tape you’re looking for, suitable for almost any application. Additionally, we can die cut your foam tapes for any application, saving you time and money in your production processes. If you’re currently using a foam tape, we would love to do a free analysis to ensure it’s the correct foam for you. We often find that people are using foam tapes that are far too gummy for their production processes, or not strong enough for their specific application. If your foam tape is failing at any point or seems too expensive for your application, contact us today and we can get you set up with a tape that is suitable for your specific needs.