While users obliviously swipe across their touchscreen, one level below, each individual special adhesive tape is doing its work layer by layer: adhesive tapes hold the layers of the screen together (unnoticed, since they are extremely transparent and optically clear); they block the light inside and direct it to where it should go, divert heat so that the processors do not burn out, and they cushion the impact if the device with its 31 apps and 45 adhesive tapes falls to the floor. In the process, adhesive tapes are so inconspicuous and thin that they can be used for any design. Incidentally: tapes also play a role in LED televisions, laptops and digital cameras and in navigation and communication systems for cars.
In total, up to 50 adhesive tapes are traveling around in a new car. While some get on board for the assembly of components or as protection during painting and must exit after the production line, others do their work quietly for many years. They close production-related holes and hold trim, sills and cladding for all temperature-related expansion of the bodywork on site. And they dampen vibrations and noises, for example, in the seat and dashboard.
On tapes pressure-sensitive adhesives are used. Such adhesives are always gluey and ready for use. This brings new meaning to the concept of holding fast. As soon as the protective and separating layer is removed and you press the adhesive tape to the surface, it bonds. No chemical reaction or drying time are needed. This is how double-sided adhesive tape holds the emblems on cars, printing plates on printing cylinders or components of the smartphone in place.
Sometimes, industrial adhesive tape must also serve every plate – to put it more precisely: the assembly of the printing plate in the offset printing process. This is because the print picture is different for each plate assembly, i.e. the mounting of the plate on the printing roller. The choice of the adhesive tape used for mounting makes it possible for printers to influence the print quality.
In newspaper printing, by contrast, it is a question of speed, namely contact times. Here the adhesive tapes connect enormous paper rolls in fractions of a second in order to ensure a change in the ongoing operation and with the machine running at full speed – this is called “flying splice”. The speed record for changing rolls: roughly 1,900 meters per minute.
Brands are of enormous economic significance for industry. That is why they protect themselves against forgeries or product piracy – in many cases by using special adhesive labels. Across industries, damage to brands is prevented in this way, since worldwide, in the meantime, such damage amounts to roughly €230 billion per year.
An adhesive tape for the construction and building industry will definitely be found in windows, doors, elevators, air conditioners, furniture, glass partitions, show windows, solar elements or skyscraper façades. Material, design and requirements change with the "visions" of architects and developers who would like to figure out what is technically possible.
We call refrigerators, stoves, cooking hobs or other household appliances "white goods." They are generally objects that are large and bulky. That is why adhesive tapes have traditionally ensured transport safety or helped in the production process. But "white goods" are also increasingly integrating electronics, new materials and miniature control panels. This is requiring more and more special adhesive tape. Since refrigerators, for example, have become "intelligent" today and have touchscreens that let ice cubes tumble out of a dispenser or brew a cup of coffee, there are double-sided adhesive tapes for control panels, dispenser units and decorative glass panes. They keep these parts tight and the energy balance in the green range.