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Meeting the needs of a changing industrial society

Published on 2009-06-04. Author : SpecialChem

This spring Henkel is launching two new products developed to meet the needs of a changing industrial society: The anaerobic adhesive Loctite 5188 and the anaerobic threadlocker Loctite 276 are a result of Henkel's close co-operation with key players in the automotive and other industries. To harness the full power of the Loctite brand, the company is rumoured to be launching a massive advertising campaign soon in addition to the product launch.

Loctite 5188 and the anaerobic threadlocker Loctite 276

Crises precipitate change and have always spurred innovation. Currently, this can be seen in the automotive industry which is struggling with large overcapacities. Additionally, the emphasis on sustainability and clean energy poses a huge challenge for the automakers and forces them to find innovative solutions for their production. Changes in the production process in turn oblige suppliers to innovate, thereby creating a virtuous circle. One of the suppliers that has become part of such a circle is Henkel, the Dusseldorf based market leader in anaerobic adhesives.

Co-adapting to the evolution of engines

The example of the adhesive Loctite 5188 serves as a case in point: It was a two year process that led to the development of Loctite 5188, a flange sealant specially suited for the automotive industry. "We are basically co-adapting to the evolution of car engines," says one of the engineers involved in the development. Loctite 5188, an anaerobic gasketing material offering flexibility even after long term operation at high temperatures, can be used for many applications in the automotive and industrial area. Typical applications include metal-to-metal flange assemblies such as gearboxes, housings, covers, etc. Anaerobic gasketing technology has revolutionized flange sealing of rigid flanges in the automotive industry, and the assembly of heavy equipment. Anaerobic sealants remain liquid when exposed to air, but cure when the metal parts are assembled and the adhesive is confined between mating flanges. OEMs and subsuppliers have long been enjoying the technical and economic benefits of anaerobic gasketing materials, and Loctite 5188 takes this technology one step further.

Meeting modern needs

The use of aluminium to produce light-weight automotive castings has gained wide acceptance, and Loctite 5188 manages to meet the flexibility requirements of modern concepts. The anaerobic product is designed to function in the most demanding applications. It has very good adhesion to metal surfaces, especially to aluminium, and provides immediate low pressure sealing. Resistance of the cured product to thermal and chemical stress is above average and provides elongation to compensate for micro-movements resulting from vibration, pressure and temperature changes. As Loctite 5188 allows flanges to come together with metal-to-metal contact, tolerances can be more accurately maintained and the correct clamp load is ensured throughout the life of the assembly. Loctite 5188 has improved oil tolerance, allowing it to seal through slight oil contamination.

Rapid development of prototypes

Achieving fast fixture on passive metal substrates such as nickel & other plated surfaces is quite a challenge for an anaerobic threadlocker, especially if requirements also call for good sealing performance and high strength, as well as very good thermal and shock resistance. Loctite 276 meets these requirements. The product was originally developed in as little as two months within the scope of Henkel's so-called Single Customer Project in reaction to an urgent customer need. The initial screening phase took about a month. After another month, during which three employees of the R&D center in Dublin devoted themselves full time to the project, the first prototype was ready. Afterwards the product was fine-tuned to give an optimal combination of characteristics for the market environment. There could be no compromise where performance was concerned, because a high production output is one of the key criteria. The people in the Henkel Labs in Ireland have accomplished their mission: Loctite 276 is a high-strength anaerobic threadlocker that achieves fast fixture even on passive metal substrates. It provides locking and sealing of threaded assemblies. The product cures reliably even at low temperatures but can withstand up to +150 °C.

The development of those two adhesives goes to show: The increased pressure of difficult times can lead to finding creative solutions that result in innovative products. Technologically, this might already have been possible for quite a while, but a crisis provides the need to focus efforts and push forward

Source: Henkel

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