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New Options in Adhesive Film for Electronic Applications
Keywords: Materials, Film, Flexible substrate adhesives
In 1941 Forrest Mars introduced M&Ms, a coated candy that eliminated the mess normally associated with handling milk chocolate. Thanks to its candy shell, “the milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand.” The candy shell also kept the chocolate from melting in your pocket, on the shelf, and in other places where one would rather not deal with molten chocolate. The concept behind adhesive films is pretty much the same: take a tough-to-handle material and stabilize it for convenient use. Available in a variety of forms, adhesive films are far easier to store and handle than adhesives in liquid or gel form. They stay right where you put them, they require little or no cleanup, they require less equipment and training to use, and they don’t slow down production processes as other types of adhesive can. These are all major concerns in the production of electronic devices. From both technical and esthetic perspectives, it’s a field in which neatness counts. A drop of spilled liquid adhesive in electronics it could turn a device into scrap (or at least require rework). The reduced need for training and specialized equipment gives manufacturers more flexibility in performing or outsourcing work. And the potential for increased throughput helps control costs and speed products to market. Adhesive films come in three basic types—pressure sensitive (PSA), heat-activated film (HAF), and reactive—crosslinking—film adhesives (RFA). All typically come in rolls and are cut to size and shape. They share common advantages over liquid adhesives. On a per-unit-area basis, they can cost significantly more than liquid adhesives, though in many cases that cost can be more than offset by savings in the production process.
Mike Moren, Global Technical Marketing Manager
HB Fuller
St. Paul, MN

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