What is the best adhesive for foam bonding? Discover 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 foam 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 what foam adhesive is the best for your production process? We break down three main technologies and explain down- and upsides of all technologies.

Jim Turner
Author Jim Turner CEO SABA North America

Solvent-based Adhesives

Due to its excellent final bond strength and versatility, solvent-based adhesives long been a popular foam adhesive. And in some applications and situations, it still is. However, it is no secret that solvent-based adhesives contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which can be harmful for people and the environment. As the foam bonding adhesives market is shifting towards more sustainable solutions, we notice the use of solvent-based adhesives declining and global regulations on solvents increasing. Therefore we see our customers prefer the use of other, less hazardous adhesive technologies.

That leaves us with hot melt and water-based adhesives as the two more favorable options for modern flexible 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. 

Solvent based adhesive
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! Nevertheless, hot melt adhesives do have a few points that require attention. It is sensitive to temperature changes, which amongst others draft, which can lead to a changing working window, influencing your production process. In certain applications, such as topper mattresses, hot melt can be ‘noisy’ and make a cracking noise once cured. Also, because hot melt is often applied in bead or swirl patron, the end bond strength of hot melt bonds is different compared to a full surface water-based application, which could impact 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 is 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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Water-based adhesive

The best adhesive for foam bonding

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. 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 option, then hot melt is a very viable alternative.

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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