Reference Work Entry

Handbook of Adhesion Technology

pp 941-975

Preparation for Bonding

  • Andreas LutzAffiliated withAutomotive, R&D Leader Automotive Systems, Dow Europe GmbH Email author 


Adhesives are used today with increasing volumes in many applications in different industries and are supplied to the end customers in various forms. Very common ones are liquid adhesives, pastes, mastics, as well as adhesive films or tapes. Less common ones are powder systems for coating purposes.

Bonding with adhesives is not a simple operation and a lot of preparation work is necessary before the adhesive can be applied to the designated bonding area (Shields, Adhesives Handbook 1985). A chain of preparation processes is required. It starts with the mixing of the adhesive and its storage before the transfer to the customer. At the customer, the adhesives need to be transferred to the operation area. The substrates to which the adhesive will be applied have to be well prepared. The final process step includes the dispensing of the adhesive to the substrate and the joining of the parts which are intended to be bonded. Some adhesive formulations require an accurate metering of different components. Each of the steps is important and contributes equally to the quality of the final adhesive application. See below the summary of the different process preparation steps.
  1. 1.

    Adhesive mixing at the supplier

  2. 2.

    Packaging of the adhesive at the supplier

  3. 3.

    Adhesive storage at the supplier or the customer

  4. 4.

    Transferring the adhesive from the storage to the application area

  5. 5.

    Substrate preparation

  6. 6.

    Metering and dispensing the adhesive

  7. 7.

    Quality control


Depending on for which application, in which industry, and by which end customers adhesives are used, different application techniques, dispensing, and metering devices are chosen.

For smaller bonding operations like sealing work at construction sites, repair work at car garages, or to fix tiles to a floor, adhesives are typically manually applied out of smaller containers like cartridges. If adhesives are used in a larger scale, like at an automotive line, for example, for metal bonding reasons or to bond windows to the frame of a car, a robot application is used, which pumps the adhesive out of drums and transfers it to a dozer and a gun for the final application. The adhesive itself can be applied in different ways such as a simple bead, sprayed, extruded, or applied by air assistance, called swirling. Which technique is used depends on factors like the application, the rheological property of the adhesive, and the application temperature. Therefore, the rheological properties of the adhesive formulation need to be tailored to the application. Lower viscous adhesives can be applied by spraying or extrusion beside the simple bead application. Higher viscous adhesives are often limited to bead application or the application temperature needs to be significantly increased to be applicable by other methods.

This chapter will discuss in further detail each item of the process chain: the storage of adhesives, the transfer to the application area, the different metering and dispensing technologies, the used mixing equipments, the substrate preparation, and the quality control. Proposals are made regarding people education and how to create a safe working environment.


Education preventive measures vacuum mixing continuous process batch process vertical mixing horizontal mixing kneader agitators speed mixer adhesive storage packaging single component dispensing two part dispensing material transfer application equipment heat flow dozer gun application technologies substrate preparation steel treatment aluminium treatment low energy surfaces plasma treatment quality control vision systems