Adhesives with Staying Power
production-focused environment of a manufactured housing plant naturally lends
itself to the incorporation of new techniques and methods aimed at significantly
reducing construction labor and increasing building performance and durability.
New technologies that employ advanced adhesives may provide a way to streamline
production processes, address environmental concerns and improve the quality of
However, the industry has been slow to adopt these
new products and strategies due to a lack of adequate testing and research and
the capital investment required for new equipment.
SBRA organized an effort to evaluate the current
adhesives and strategies used in the factory to determine if there was a need
for improvement, and if so, what performance requirements were most requested
The Advanced Adhesives and Sealants Committee surveyed
manufacturers and adhesive suppliers to reveal these needs and identify existing
adhesive products to address them. The committee is made up of home manufacturers,
adhesives producers, suppliers, representatives from the Department of Housing
and Urban Development and testing laboratories.
It's a win-win
situation, says Ornella Atwell, chairwoman of the committee and engineering
manager for Fleetwood Enterprises. We can outline the properties we desire
from advanced adhesives to improve quality and efficiency, and producers can create
a new market by recommending and developing products that meet those needs.
First, the committee evaluated how manufacturers currently use adhesives.
A survey of manufactured home producers was conducted to identify the types of
adhesives currently used and the satisfaction level with each method. Additionally,
respondents were asked to identify their most serious manufacturing, performance
and service issues related to adhesives and sealants.
Among the chief
complaints by respondents were concerns that some adhesives were messy and difficult
to clean up, had too-long cure times, had poor holding power and that the equipment
used to apply them promoted waste and was too expensive. There were also concerns
about environmental issues such as worker safety and disposal of unused or spent
The survey pinpointed several applications that provided the
greatest opportunity and could be rapidly implemented. A few of the adhesive processes
the respondents felt could use improvement included the fastening of wall panels
to studs and the sheathing under exterior siding to studs, and the sealing of
the bottom board and ducts.
Going to the Source
Next, SBRA talked with the adhesive and sealant manufacturers and distributors
to find out if they could recommend advanced adhesives and sealants currently
used in other industries that could be adapted for use in manufactured homes.
The suppliers of these products felt that the manufactured housing industry
is often not responsive to innovation and noted that it was a challenge to think
outside the box. They were also concerned that manufacturers looked
only at adhesive product price and often ignored the total costs, such as production
efficiency and quality enhancements that could impact customer satisfaction.
Additionally, adhesive suppliers found it difficult to get concise research
and development direction from home manufacturers and admitted that the cost of
obtaining certification limited the appetite of adhesive producers to introduce
Putting it Together
SBRA technical document summarizes the research methods and findings of this study.
The report lists the range of available adhesive products, identifies the most
important criteria for selecting new products, and assesses their applicability
to the manufactured housing production process. The report identifies two adhesive
applications where further research is promising.