“After several years in development, we are very excited to be releasing this major innovation onto the market,” commented bigHead’s managing director, Matthew Stevens. “Lean Bonding will remove many of the frustrations and difficulties in fastening lightweight composites and thin metals.”
The result of a multi-year collaboration with Cranfield University that was co-funded by Innovate UK, Lean Bonding has involved a number of leading technology partners in the UK, France and Germany.
bigHead focus on the elimination of the difficulties in fastening lightweight composites and thin metal materials that cannot be welded, riveted or clinched. For years, manufacturers have had to use surface bonding fasteners with wet adhesives, requiring complex storage, handling and dispensing processes as well as long cure times and labour-intensive operations. For high volume manufacturers, these process inefficiencies have become an obstacle to using lightweight composites.
Lean Bonding is said to be a fast, lean and automated way to bond fasteners onto composites. The solution consists of a bonding fastener pre-loaded with a dry adhesive film. This combination removes any need for separate adhesive storage, handling or dispensing. The fastener is bonded onto the surface in seconds, without any damage to, or penetration of, the material. The combination of pre-applied adhesive and accurate process control ensures consistent bond line thicknesses and repeatable bond quality. Rapid green strength enables immediate part handling and minimises work in progress.
The entire process can be automated on a small or large scale. For smaller testing or prototyping volumes, a handheld bonding tool is also available. In addition, Lean Bonding is available in different combinations of fastener and adhesive, giving designers and engineers freedom across a wide range of applications.
“We believe in collaboration as a great way to solve technical challenges,” Stevens concluded. “By combining the experience and expertise of complementary companies, we can offer our customers the very best solution.”