Christoph Funke, head of R&D for dispersions in the wood, furniture and construction division at the adhesives specialist Jowat in Detmold, celebrated 25 years of service with the enterprise in 2019. He has been closely following the development of assembly glues, which play a crucial part in the crafts sector: “While until the 1970s, practically all surface lacquers consisted of 100 % solvents, today our adhesives have to join a wide variety of different substrates reliably.”
Driven largely by the need to improve working conditions, the solvent-based NC and DD lacquers widely used at that time in the wood and furniture industry were gradually replaced with lacquers with a high water content in the 1980s. Adhesives systems with significantly increased solids contents were then required that could safeguard the usually short process cycles in assembly operations in spite of the higher boiling point of water-based lacquers.
Since the turn of the millennium and the beginning of the digital age, the variety of finishes used in the wood and furniture industry has increased dramatically. “Apart from surfaces coated with highly resistant UV or acid-catalysed lacquers, our adhesives now also have to reliably join a wide range of metal surfaces, synthetic resins like melamine, and even glass,” explains Christoph Funke. Today, Jowat meets all those requirements with just two adhesives from its Jowacoll® product series. Processors in the joinery business therefore benefit from a very convenient handling of the adhesive despite significantly increased demands.
However, different designs and trends are not the only driving forces in the development of lacquer glues. Health aspects and legal regulations have also always played a central role. The phasing out of solvents in lacquered surfaces that had to be bonded was only the beginning. For several years, manufacturers have, for instance, been avoiding using hormone-like substances in the formulation of adhesives following new findings in medical science. Biodegradable plastic is another major topic on the agenda at the moment due to microplastic and concerns about human health and the environment.
To the adhesives expert from Detmold, one thing is absolutely clear: “In future, our products will continue to satisfy the expectations of customers in the wood and furniture industry as well as meet the legal requirements. And facilitate a reliable bond.”
The article is published in the magazine "exakt 10.2019" in German language. You can download the original article down below.