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Hot Melt, Water-based and Solvent-based Adhesives: which one is right for you?

When it comes to adhesives, we all know there is no such thing as a one-size fits all solution. While one particular adhesive might be a perfect solution in one situation, it might not be in the other. To increase your profitability and ease of use, we work with several adhesive technologies. How do you know which adhesive technology is best for your production process? We break down three main technologies and explain which one is our all-time favorite. 

Solvent-based Adhesives

As the foam bonding adhesives market is shifting towards more sustainable solutions, the use of solvent-based adhesives is declining. Due to its excellent final bond strength and versatility it has long been a popular adhesive. However, solvent-based adhesives contain significant amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which can be harmful for people and the environment. Global regulations on solvents have therefore increased the use of other, less hazardous adhesive technologies.

That leaves us with hot melt and water-based adhesives as the two primary options for modern foam bonding applications. Which is the best solution is often debated and not always clearly understood. Fortunately, SABA produces both technologies and can give you the inside scoop: your production process will largely dictate which adhesive option is best for your situation. 

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Man bonding foam mattress with SABA hot melt adhesive

Hot Melt Adhesives

At first glance, hot melt seems like the perfect solution because it has the fastest curing process, provides a strong bond without the evaporation of solvents or water and is easily integrated into an automated process. Plus, it is completely solvent-free! Unfortunately, hot melt adhesives do have a few drawbacks. It is sensitive to temperature changes which can lead to loss of bond strength at higher temperatures. Hot melt can be ‘noisy’ and make a cracking noise once cured. But most importantly, the end bond strength of hot melt bonds is inferior to water-based and thus impacts quality and durability.

Water-based Adhesives

Water-based adhesives deliver superior final bonding strength along with flexibility and soft bond lines which makes this technology the superior solution. Did you know that SABA was the first company in the world to develop and produce a water-based adhesive that bonds immediately? Thanks to the composition and properties of our water-based adhesives it is the best option in terms of bonding quality, comfort and long-term durability while also providing the added benefit of being environmentally friendly and safe for your employees. Further, when roll packing mattresses, water-based adhesives are the best option to ensure full recovery upon opening.

Typical water-based adhesives do require dry time before packaging to avoid recovery issues and dampness. Fortunately, you can overcome dry time in two ways: by using less adhesive or by using an innovative adhesive in combination with a forced drying step. In our whitepaper we discuss possibilities for ensuring the output of the highest quality finished goods while also accelerating your production process by eliminating water-based adhesive dry time.

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No more sticky situations

Like we said before, there is no one-size fits all solution when it comes to adhesives. The best adhesive is the one that suits your product, equipment and process. We can help you find the right solution. Contact our team of adhesive specialists here.

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The best all-round adhesive: water-based

A water-based adhesive is the best option in terms of bonding quality, comfort and long-term durability while also providing the added benefit of being environmentally-friendly and safe for your employees. So if you want exceptional final product quality, check out water-based adhesives first. It is truly the best, most long-term solution for bonding foam.

If, however, your production process does not allow for the processing time of a water-based adhesive, or if your substrates are not fully compatible with a water-based adhesive, then hot melt is a very viable alternative.