3M Structural adhesive guide

Before we get to the advantages of structural adhesives in manufacturing let’s make sure we’re all on the same page about WHAT a structural adhesive is. 3M categorizes an adhesive as structural if it can provide at least 1,000 psi of overlap shear strength to aluminum. The fact that they reference shear as their ‘pull’ test and aluminum as the test material are significant only in that it provides a benchmark to compare the entire family of 3M structural adhesives against. 

So, without further ado, here our the Gluegun.com top 3 advantages of using 3M structural adhesives in manufacturing.

#1 Structural Adhesives Improve Aesthetics

Structural adhesives create permanent, structural bonds (it’s not just a clever name) and offer a number of advantages in the manufacturing process over alternative methods like screws, fasteners or welding.

For starters, using and adhesive can greatly improve the look and feel of a finished product. Removing those Frankenstein bolts from your new product and replacing them with a clean, strong bond from a 3M structural adhesive not only makes a product look better, but it can give you more freedom in the design process.

Freedom in the design process means not having to worry about compensating for fasteners, especially with tight tolerances or when making fitting parts.

#2 Structural Adhesives Improve Efficiency

3M structural adhesives can greatly improve the efficiency and speed in your manufacturing process. Cutting down on machining processes and installing manual or automated adhesive systems can greatly improve the speed and efficiency of your line which means lower costs and higher profits.

Structural adhesives can also be an excellent replacement for both spot welding and full welding processes. This can greatly increase time efficiency in both the manufacturing process and reduce labor costs.

#3 Structural Adhesives Improve Performance

Using a structural adhesive to replace a traditional method of bolting or welding does not mean you need to sacrifice performance, quite the opposite actually. Below is a graph representing the strength of six different types of bonds to 6061 aluminum and their overlap shear strength before failure.

As you can see, 3M toughened Epoxy can create a bond that meets and exceeds a weld and far outperform rivets, bolts and lower end epoxies. But strength is only one advantage of bonding over these methods. Here is a laundry list of performance advantages of 3M structural adhesives have in manufacturing.

Additional Performance Advantages of Structural Adhesives

  • Reduce Weight
  • High Strength
  • Vibration and Fatigue Resistant
  • Weather Resistant
  • UL Recognized
  • Reduces Surface Prep
  • Excellent Impact Resistance
  • High Strength for Small Joints
  • Bonds Rubber, Composites and Metals


    We have now seen a wide range of time, money and performance advantages 3M structural adhesives have to offer almost any manufacturing process. We are going to be continuing our series on 3M structural adhesives over the next few weeks. In the meantime, feel free to contact one of our 3M adhesive experts to discuss your applications and the different ways you can improve performance and efficiency while lowering overall costs.

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