Customers continue to search for alternatives to solvent based acrylic adhesives and while there are numerous possible alternative technologies out there, BASF's acResin UV cure acrylic hot melt technology is the preferred choice.
With solvent acrylic-based operating costs and regulations growing, specialty tape and label manufacturers increasingly seek alternatives.
While other adhesive technologies, including other UV cure adhesive options or water-based acrylic adhesives, can work, for those demanding applications that require high level and demanding performance, BASF's acResin portfolio is what the leading tape and label manufacturers turns to.
"acResin is one of the most novel and versatile adhesive chemistries that's out there today," says Dalia Naamani-Goldman, Sales and Marketing Manager for Adhesives at BASF. "It's a solvent chemistry system minus the solvent, making it the perfect choice for demanding tape and label applications. It has very low TVOC emissions, making it a great 'green' and sustainable option. It also can be very cost effective from a processing standpoint, as it uses UV light instead of thermal ovens to cure."
Developed by BASF in the 1990s, BASF's UV-curable 100% solids chemistry, broad portfolio, and technical and application development expertise is unrivaled in the adhesives industry. Versus newer, similar technologies now coming into the market, BASF's product offers a very long and successful commercial history making it a proven alternative that will meet tape and label longer-term requirements.
When manufacturing an adhesive product for some medical applications or food packaging, health and beauty or beverage industries, optical clarity can send a message about the adhesive itself.
"We have a pure, clear product. At the end of the day, that allows application into some very stringent or sensitive applications, like food packaging, health and beauty labels, beverage labels and medical tapes," Naamani-Goldman says. "If it's a label that needs to be clearly visible, having that clarity instead of yellowing is something that's important."
While some applications may not list clarity as a requirement, not having the clear color that acResin offers can create the perception that, in certain applications, a product may be inferior.
Very low TVOCs
The very low TVOC levels of acResin is a tremendous benefit from a worker and end-use health and safety perspective.
"When people open a drum or are working with it, it's almost imperceptible from an odor standpoint," says Rick Fisher, Strategic Account Manager, BASF. "acResin is produced in a solvent process. One of our competitive advantages is how we strip the residual solvent out of the system, and the residual TVOCs are very low."
Low TVOCs are also advantageous for applications where there are ongoing efforts being made to reduce TVOC levels, such as in Automotive, Medical and Institutional Building & Construction applications.
"Higher TVOC products may be disqualified by the end users on that basis alone in many applications," Fisher notes. "With a solvent system, once you evaporate the solvent out of the adhesive through drying ovens, you have to do something with that evaporated solvent. You either need to have an incineration system on the roof of the production plant to burn off that solvent, or you can recover that solvent and reuse it for some other purpose. But typically, it's incinerated. Those incineration systems are very expensive upfront, and they're also expensive in use. Then, you also must have a permit that allows you to operate that system. From a regulatory and operational standpoint, BASF's acResin brings a lot of advantages compared to water based, solvent acrylic systems, or even some of the newer UV systems coming into the markets."
Small processing footprint
From a cost-efficiency standpoint, acResin offers competitive advantages.
"On a price-per-pound basis, acResin is more expensive than a water-based acrylic adhesive, but where some of the cost advantages come in is floor space for a coating line, where you do not need large, long thermal drying systems," Fisher says. "The UV takes very little space for the UV section on the machine, so footprint on the production floor is a big advantage for UV acrylics compared to water or solvent acrylic systems."
acResin also offers outstanding resistance to heat, because it goes into some very stringent applications, such as automotive wire harnesses.
"Under the hood where the temperatures are really hot, you need to be able to withstand that. And historically, only solvent-based types of adhesives could achieve that. With our product, we've been able to engineer it to enable high exposure, high resistance to aging and heat," Fisher says. "We offer different grades of acResin within this product family, where some are better suited for different temperatures than others. But in general, they offer very good heat and aging resistance."
acResin materials are extremely safe for food and medical applications.
"We meet the stringent requirements for direct food contact, and we have cytotoxicity data for medical applications. Our material is versatile enough that the same material can be used to make an industrial roofing product as well," Fisher explains.
With acResin and BASF's team of technical experts backed by decades of experience in the UV-curable, pressure-sensitive adhesives, our customers have the necessary support to ensure the right fit for their applications. Many of the newer technologies being introduced do not have this success story.
"The 30-plus years that we've had this technology, there's a real consistent track record with our product," Naamani-Goldman says.
acResin: Benefits at a glance
- Solvent-free UV acrylic hotmelt
- Variable adhesive power enabled by adjustable UV-crosslinking
- Outstanding resistance to aging and heat
- Excellent clarity for transparent films (no-label look)
- Low fogging, VOC and odor
- Safe for contact with food and good skin compatibility
- Higher eco-efficiency than solvent-based alternatives
- Wide range of adhesive properties covered by specially designed product grades
- Efficient upscaling on our pilot coater with the support of our technical experts
To check out the full portfolio of BASF's UV-curable, pressure-sensitive adhesives, click here.