Reducing Cycle Times with Innovative Bonding Solutions

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For more than 50 years, Delo Industrial Adhesives has developed tailor-made special adhesives and application technologies for the automotive, aviation, optoelectronics, as well as consumer and industrial electronics industries. The company also offers select equipment like a pneumatic microdispensing jet-valve or LED curing lamps that match its adhesives with its customers’ processes.

Headquartered in Germany, Delo has subsidiaries in the United States, China and Singapore, and offices in several other countries. With 400 employees worldwide, Delo generated sales revenue of nearly $93 million in fiscal year 2014–2015. Focused on innovation, Delo allots about 15% of its annual revenue—much higher than the industry average of 3 to 4%—for R&D. And so far, its biggest growth comes from innovative products developed within the last three years—accounting for 30% of its total sales revenue.

As a mid-sized company, Delo has strategically opted to concentrate on specific bonding applications with the highest challenges. These unique applications all meet a three-fold requirement. Each needs a small amount of adhesive that must cure quickly, the capability to produce high-volume in fully automated production processes, as well as the ability to be exposed to harsh thermal, mechanical or chemical conditions.

In an interview with I-Connect007, Gudrun Weigel, head of engineering and a member of the board at Delo, talked about the importance of cycle time reduction, and how the company is helping its customers address this issue.

Stephen Las Marias: How do you define cycle time?

Gudrun Weigel: We see cycle time as a part of an overall process. When planning the production of parts or of assembly groups, it is important to first analyze the whole process, and then split it into different steps.

At the very minimum, when looking at the application of adhesives or encapsulants, process time is composed of the sum of dispensing the adhesive, joining the parts, and curing. In some cases other processes, such as surface pretreatment or subsequent tasks like demolding or in-process inspection, can be added. Depending on the industry and the application, cycle times of adhesive processes can start with less than a second or reach in excess of 20 minutes.

Las Marias: How important is reducing cycle times and how do longer cycle times affect costs?

Weigel: As the saying goes, ‘time is money.’ Slow output means less pieces sold, which equates to lower profits. So it should come as no surprise that high-volume production is definitely one of the key requirements of our customers. However, from my personal perspective, cycle times should not be accelerated at the expense of quality because the majority of our products are used in high-performance applications and their properties ensure that the assembly group works correctly. No matter how quickly a product is being produced, if it isn’t good quality, it isn’t worth much, now is it? But ultimately, it is up to the customer to decide.

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Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the October 2015 issue of SMT Magazine.



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