Innovative Adhesion Technology

It was called the perfect merger of Lincoln Industries engineering, business development, and innovation capabilities. The customer had a problem — we developed a unique solution. 

The problem involved the truck grill for a leading manufacturer of over–the-road trucks. A bleed through on the welds was creating a cosmetic issue. 

According to Senior Account Manager, Wynn Lafferty, neither polishing nor design change options would work. 

“The strength requirements meant welds had to be placed on certain areas of the grill,” he said. “Ultimately, we decided to eliminate the welds using structural adhesives.”

Innovation Manager, Adam Matzner, said, “The customer challenged us to develop a method, and we went to 3M, known world-wide for their high-quality adhesives. Using different substrates and different finishes; we worked with their research and development team to create an adhesive that would address the issue.”

“Because product handling issues were critical, the goal is to find an adhesive to apply before plating,” said Lafferty. “Even though the part wasn’t welded, it was treated as a welded part. In this way we didn’t have to change our supply chain steps.”  

Prototype parts were tested extensively, including shaker and road tests at the customer’s proving grounds. The results were positive and the product was moved into production. 

“The initial testing was done at the 3M lab and it aligned with Lincoln Industries’ needs. And based off the data from the testing, it met the customer specs,” says 3M’s Adhesives Project Manager, Clint Morrill. “When working with a supplier, we have the ability to put technical services together where support is needed which gives us power when talking to the customer.”

“We see ourselves as problem solvers,” said Matzner, “and have the people to provide engineering services needed to address the design, finishing, and integration processes for difficult customer problems. This was a big overall win. A nationally known OEM presented us with a design that traditional finishing applications didn’t apply. We went out and identified a way to make it happen with a nontraditional process.” 

“We see more opportunities with this application and are looking forward to working with 3M again,” says Lafferty.