“A strong team can take any crazy vision and turn it into reality.”
The co-creator of Doom, Commander Keen and other popular video games was likely talking about the next interactive media franchise, but John Carmack’s words ring true across all industries, including screen printing.
DuraTech’s long-standing relationship with 3M is a perfect example. As a preferred converter, our company collaborates with 3M’s Industrial Adhesives and Tapes Division to turn brainstormed ideas into practical products used in manufacturing. The latest invention born from this teamwork is 3M’s Screen Printable Pressure Sensitive Adhesive SP7202, released earlier this year.
“We’ve been collaborating with DuraTech on potential new products and technology for years,” says Nick LaBelle, Senior Technical Engineer at 3M. “One of the great things about working with DuraTech is their long history in screen printing. We were able to evaluate several different versions of this particular adhesive with them. Afterall, it’s one thing to test prototypes in a lab, but putting them into a production environment is critical to figuring out what’s going to work best in the process and in applications. DuraTech’s expertise is definitely a key benefit, and that makes them a great preferred converter to work with.”
“DuraTech is dedicated to research and development,” adds Jeff Busse, Product Development lead at DuraTech. “The fact that our two companies’ values are aligned makes for a very productive partnership.”
SP7202 is not just any adhesive
SP7202 is a unique, UV curable liquid Pressure Sensitive Adhesive (PSA) solution for directly printing fine shapes. Suitable for flatbed screen or stencil printing, it allows manufacturers to precisely print PSA on parts using conventional screen printing and UV curing equipment. What this means for fabricators is the ability to leverage additive manufacturing to rapidly fulfill orders while minimizing process waste.
“Adhesives traditionally come in a roll like Scotch Tape,” Busse explains. “Printers roll it on a surface that needs adhesive. If the part being manufactured has a window – any appliance with push buttons, for example – and you’re using double-sided tape with paper liner on both sides, the fabricator needs to cut out the window, get rid of the resulting scrap and then hand apply adhesive to the surface. Sometimes, a part is 50% windows, so we’re throwing away 50% of the adhesive.”
Adhesive printed around push buttons and windows.
Screen printing liquid adhesive SP7202 not only saves on waste, but it also cuts down manufacturing time because it eliminates manually applying tape. “The time and labor savings are significant, as is the savings on the cost of adhesives,” Busse says.
“One of the major goals of creating SP7202 is sustainability,” LaBelle comments. “As expectations increase from our customers, employees, investors and other stakeholders regarding sustainability, 3M is here to meet them. This means creating new products that contribute to a customer’s sustainability targets. SP7202 eliminates the waste typically produced when using tape to make die cuts for fine shapes. We also manufacture SP7202 using a solventless manufacturing process.”
Adhesive printed into a custom shape.
Another unique feature of this new product is its tape-like performance. LaBelle notes: “SP7202 was designed specifically to have the same performance as some of our high-performance tapes in terms of delivering excellent peel strength and high shear strength.”
Busse concurs: “Other screen printable adhesives are available, but they’re water based, difficult to run and don’t offer strong performance in certain circumstances.” SP7202, on the other hand, “is a very good product,” he says. “The laydown is excellent, and the values (such as temperature resistance) have been great.”
Among SP7202’s other key benefits:
- Excellent adhesion to polycarbonate, polyester and higher surface energy materials
- Water and chemical resistance
- Offers more flexibility for designing and fabricating parts
- UV curable in 1-2 seconds
- Long open times
- Wide range of storage temperatures
“There’s a ton of buzz around SP7202,” LaBelle says. “Not only does it offer robust performance, but it’s also enabling designers to open up their creativity and do things that were either impossible or not feasible with other technologies using subtractive manufacturing processes. And by simplifying the manufacturing process, fabricators can help the end customer meet their sustainability targets in an economically viable way.”
Creating a product like SP7202 requires specialized expertise and years of dedicated teamwork. 3M is world renowned for its overall reputation of innovation and legacy of creating unique adhesives (among other industry and consumer products). DuraTech is well known for our long history in screen printing, our reputation for collaboration and willingness to experiment. Together, 3M and DuraTech form a strong team with a proven history of taking what might at first seem like crazy ideas and turning them into reality.
Find out how we can integrate 3M’s Screen Printable Pressure Sensitive Adhesive into your project to save time and costs by contacting us through our email or by filling out our online form.