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December 3, 2020 - General Transportation

4 Items to Consider When Selecting a Rail Adhesive

The rail industry is evolving due to market trends like improved aerodynamics, fuel efficiency and sustainability. While these trends bring innovation and excitement to the industry, they can cause challenges for production. You may be integrating new materials or changing production processes to meet these trends. To make these changes easier, it’s imperative that you choose the right rail adhesive. Learn four key criteria for choosing an adhesive and how Bostik’s adhesive technologies can help you meet those criteria.

Item 1: Environmental and Vibration Resistance

Passenger railcars will encounter many different environments and climates in their lifespan. Some routes may require the railcar to go from hot to cold temperatures, encounter strong winds or rain and have frequent sun exposure. All of these weather phenomena can impact the strength of your adhesive.

Railcars also are subjected to frequent vibration during their lifespan. These shocks can create damage over time.

To ensure components will remain intact in various environments and with frequent vibration, your rail adhesive should exhibit the following traits:

  • Wide temperature range: Being able to maintain performance throughout temperature ranges ensures the adhesive will work year-round in hot and cold climates.
  • UV resistance: Your adhesive should resist degradation when subjected to UV light in order to maintain railcar integrity.
  • Moisture resistance: Since the train will travel in rain or shine, it’s a good idea to choose an adhesive that can withstand moisture-rich environments.
  • Flexibility: Your adhesive should possess flexibility and have vibration damping capabilities to mitigate wear and tear created by frequent shocks. A flexible structure will provide more “give” when shocks occur, so the adhesive will bend or stretch instead of breaking.

Item 2: Visual Appeal

Since passenger railcars serve as public transportation, visual aesthetics are important in the manufacturing process. Your adhesive has the ability to improve overall aesthetics by replacing mechanical fasteners and bonding to a wide range of substrates, which broadens your design options. To provide optimal visual appeal, look for a rail adhesive with the following traits:

  • Smoothness: The adhesive should form a neat, even surface when dry with no bubbling or bumps.
  • Paintability: The adhesive should be paintable so it will blend well with the aesthetics.
  • Bonding versatility: If you’re looking to use luxury materials in upholstery or other components, be sure your adhesive can bond to dissimilar substrates to achieve the desired look.
rail adhesives

Item 3: Safety

It’s imperative that manufacturers increase safety measures for a variety of hazards, including fires or crashes. The adhesive should possess needed performance levels to keep occupants as safe as possible. The following traits ensure your adhesive will perform well under stress:

  • Flame retardancy: Consider an adhesive formulated with flame retardancy for certain applications to slow the spread of flames in the event of fire and give passengers more time to exit safely.
  • Elasticity: Adhesives with high elasticity can displace force and deform under stress. This helps prevent sudden joint failure and improves impact resistance. Elastic properties also help maintain the originally-designed operating performance of substrates over the life of the railcar, improving long-term safety.

Item 4: Ease of Use

To keep production lines moving, manufacturers should choose an adhesive that offers easy and quick application. The following adhesive characteristics are key:

  • Desired format: Ensure that your adhesive is available in a format that will work seamlessly with your existing production process without requiring downtime or new equipment.
  • Primerless application: Adhesives that do not require a primer will reduce production time and error likelihood, helping to streamline processes.

These criteria will help you select the best rail adhesive option for your application. Bostik offers several types of adhesive technologies that exhibit the traits listed above:

  • Our silyl modified polymers (SMP) adhesives and sealants offer excellent weather resistance and elasticity, making them a great fit for exterior and interior rail applications. SMP also offers primerless application, so you can improve production efficiencies and avoid added material costs.
  • Our line of methyl methacrylates (MMA) is uniquely formulated to bond to a wide range of dissimilar substrates, allowing for more freedom in design and visual appeal. These MMAs offer high thixotropic formulation and are non-sagging, enabling easy, vertical application.
  • Our web adhesives are hot melt adhesives woven into a fabric-like material for easy, uniform consistency. These properties keep application easy and environmentally friendly. Web adhesives can be formulated with flame retardancy as well, helping to improve safety standards.
  • Our line of instant adhesives, Born2Bond, is fast-curing and solvent free, making these products safe and easy to use. They can bond to many different substrates, opening your manufacturing capabilities. They are also very resistant to weathering and aging, making them a great choice for exterior applications.

Want to learn more about these technologies and how they help you meet key criteria for rail applications? Contact a Bostik representative today.

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