Self-Adhesive Tape Use in the Automotive Industry – Why Make A Noise About It?

When people get into a new car, they would be amazed how much self-adhesive tape is actually used in its construction rather than traditional mechanical fixing methods. Everything from fixing the rubber weatherstrips on the doors, bonding large injection moulded trim parts, to sticking the actual manufacturer’s badge logo onto the car – the application list on a car is a long one. To the trained industry eye these types of applications can be more obvious! The advantages of using self-adhesive tape in vehicle production are pretty self-evident – the challenge for all vehicle manufacturers is that saving grams of weight is vital to the overall performance and energy use of the vehicle and make it more competitive in the buyer’s eyes.

But it doesn’t stop there – use of self-adhesive tape as a joining method in cars does help to provide more consistency of quality levels in the fit and finish of the vehicle overall – which again explains its increasing use within the industry and is of major significance when extended customer warranties are becoming the norm – 7 years or 100,000 miles are considered commonplace now. When offering such extended warranties, the choice to use adhesive bonding in place of mechanical fixing becomes even more compelling – in simple terms whenever a hole is put in the bodyshell the potential for a longer-term corrosion problem can be obvious – despite recent advances in coating technology.

Where it becomes less obvious is the use of self-adhesive tape and die cut materials in areas that the customer doesn’t see – however they may hear the benefit of it. It begs the question – how can you hear adhesive tape!

When you first drive a car – especially when a buying a new one – your senses are attuned to how it drives, how it smells, how the cabin sounds noise wise etc – all of which help influence the ultimate buying decision. Many customers want to hear the driving experience noise that they expect from the car they are looking to buy – from a growly roar to virtual complete silence.

This is a major engineering focus of vehicle manufacturers – teams of engineers work on achieving the optimum experience of the NVH level that want to achieve for the vehicle budget. This stands for Noise, Vibration and Harshness. As a general rule – the higher the cost of the vehicle generally the better fit, finish and NVH performance you should expect from it.

The noise in the cabin though is a major one – everyone has experienced an irritating buzz, squeak and rattle that can become really annoying if you can’t rectify it. In the industry early prototype build phases of a new model, engineers during long distance driving trials take into account identifying “BSR” – buzz, squeak, and rattle problems – and then find ways to eliminate them so that it is not intrusive to the occupants.

This is where die cut adhesive tape comes in as the solution to many NVH challenges to get exactly the right noise attenuation and cabin ambience that the customer wants and expects from their purchase, to eliminating an irritating BSR issue through the use, for example, of a die cut high molecular adhesive film between two surfaces that could otherwise come into contact with each other.

All of this lies beneath the carpets, doors, dashboard module, headliner of the vehicle and is invisible and silent to the driver senses. One major car manufacturer synonymous with quality had over 100 die cut pieces of adhesive tape products which can also be combined with other materials such as felts, acoustic foams, plastic moulding etc – all aimed at giving the optimum customer experience in which we at Preston Technical are proud to play our part in helping to achieve that by supplying such die cut adhesive tape solutions!