R&D Story 08

Supporting global automotive innovation with adhesive technology

Sunstar Engineering conducts R&D at its different sites around the world so as to support all production processes in the fast-changing automobile manufacturing industry.

Adhesives are an indispensable part of automobile manufacturing

Sunstar Engineering has long focused on the development of adhesives, sealants and coating materials used in building and automobile manufacturing. The adhesive line for automobiles was launched in 1964 with the development of Penguin Cement 332. Since then, we have constantly invested on research and development, becoming one of the few manufacturers capable of producing adhesives and sealing materials applicable to every process of automobile manufacturing. In recent years, we have put special emphasis on the development of weld bond adhesives.

Adhesives are an indispensable part of automobile manufacturing

Worldwide automobile sales have been increasing for seven consecutive years since 2010, with over 90 million cars sold in 2016 alone. In this massive global market, technological development is underway to reduce environmentally hazardous substances and improve fuel efficiency, as car manufacturers innovate body designs to reduce weight. Today, cars are made of various lightweight materials such as aluminum, magnesium, and organic compound composites instead of steel. Amid this material diversification, in an effort to reduce weight, automotive adhesives play an important role.

*Adhesives and sealants are used in many vehicle parts today.

*Adhesives and sealants are used in many vehicle parts today.

*Adhesives and sealants are used in many vehicle parts today. We have developed a wide variety of adhesives, including hemming adhesives, mastic adhesives, spot sealants, body sealers (paint sealers), underbody coats (UBC), and direct glazing adhesives.

Proprietary ingredients enable high adhesion and durability, allowing weight reduction in automobiles

In order to improve fuel efficiency, vehicle weight has to be reduced and, to obtain that, thinner steel sheets are used in the body. In order to improve fuel efficiency, vehicle weight has to be reduced and, to obtain that, thinner steel sheets are used in the body.

  • Needs for better
    fuel efficiency
  • Results in
    lighter bodies
  • Which tend to be
    more fragile
  • Adhesives improves
    the strength

In order to improve fuel efficiency, vehicle weight has to be reduced and, to obtain that, thinner steel sheets are used in the body.

However, as these sheets become thinner though, the body’s rigidity (its ability to resist bending and torsion) is also reduced.

Weld bond adhesive is used in the weld bond process, which combines spot welding and adhesives together to ensure the vehicle body’s rigidity and strength.

The weld bond adhesive strengthens the single point joints made by spot welding, transforming them into a surface joint. By dissipating the stress accumulation in the welded area, the adhesive enhances the overall durability and rigidity.

This contributes to weight reduction by allowing the use of thinner steel sheets and reducing the number of necessary parts.

Effective workability in the automobile manufacturing process is required from weld bond adhesives

By dissipating the stress accumulation in the welded area, the adhesive enhances the overall durability and rigidity.

* Surface joining with weld bond adhesive improves durability and rigidity.

Effective workability in the automobile manufacturing process is required from weld bond adhesives

Epoxy resin is the main component of weld bond adhesive, that’s responsible for giving it a high adhesive property and rigidity. Although hemming adhesives which are used for joining of door panels are also epoxy-based, the requirements for durability against vibration and distortion are higher for weld bond adhesives.

Sunstar Engineering’s weld bond adhesive achieves its high durability by blending components modified with special rubber, adding extra strength.

weld bond

With weld bond adhesive

Without weld bond adhesive

graph

* The strength (torsional rigidity) of the plate during twisting is improved when both weld bond adhesive and spot welding are applied, compared to spot welding alone. The weld bond adhesive enables a thinner plate to have the same torsional rigidity as a thicker plate.

One of the few manufacturers producing every type of automobile adhesive

Developing numerous products for each step of the manufacturing process, at or above industry-standards for quality assurance

Sub-standard adhesives endanger the lives of people driving a finished car at risk. For this reason, researchers at Sunstar Engineering conduct risk prediction tests, using test parameters based on past experiences. For example, the Storage Stability test evaluates adhesive properties and performance to ensure quality does not change after long-term storage. The tests have been repeatedly revised and refined to prevent problems even when vehicles are used in unexpected ways.

Wedge impact test

Wedge impact test

* The adhesive’s impact resistance is evaluated by pulling the glued joint at high speed.

The weld bond adhesive is designed to be used during automobile production. For example, while the weld bond adhesive holds steel plates for welding, it should not hinder the welding in the subsequent car body assembly line. The adhesive should not run out or deform under water pressure during either hot water washing or painting.

In addition, the adhesives require curing during the electrodeposition coating (namely the electrodeposition of a coating film of paint or resin on the metal surface), and in recent years the need to cure at lower temperatures in a short period of time is increasing. Sunstar Engineering developed a weld bond adhesive that not only adapts to automobile manufacturing processes, but also contributes to energy saving by lowering the curing temperature and shortening the heating time thanks to its low-temperature, fast-curing technology.

Automobile Production Line

Adhesive use is shown in red

Automobile Production Line

Automobile Production Line

Sunstar Engineering is involved in the entire automobile manufacturing process, we can respond to changes quickly

Since Sunstar Engineering is involved in the entire process of automobile manufacturing, we are proactively adapting our products to the industry’s evolving needs, and respond quickly when the production processes and the materials change. Our weld bond adhesive is a good example of this — we have spent several years in development to respond to the car industry’s evolving needs in the area of weight reduction.

Global R&D cooperation to expand overseas markets

Global R&D cooperation to expand overseas markets

Global R&D cooperation to expand overseas markets

With the unique advantage of handling adhesives for all automobile manufacturing processes, Sunstar Engineering is a leader in research and development.

So far, Sunstar Engineering’s automobile adhesives have been used primarily by Japanese automobile manufacturers. So far, Sunstar Engineering’s automobile adhesives have been used primarily by Japanese automobile manufacturers. This is why we have focused our research and development mainly in Japan until now. Along with the process of global expansion, we are now beginning to develop products that are tailored to customers around the world.

Researchers working on various R&D projects worldwide often share common challenges. In the past few years, these researchers have been working together to make the R&D process more efficient through proactive cooperation. In order to better share knowledge and learn from each other’s findings, the research community has hosted R&D meetings, dispatching engineers to each other’s organizations and sharing insights into global automotive adhesive technology globally.

With the aim of expanding into the European market in sight, a new research and development base in Europe is on the way.

So far, Sunstar Engineering’s automobile adhesives have been used primarily by Japanese automobile manufacturers.

Developing new adhesives amidst the rapidly changing automobile manufacturing industry

The automobile industry has been undergoing intense change in recent years. The development of hybrid cars and electric vehicles is accelerating faster than ever, while the era of self-driving cars is quickly approaching. Under these conditions, adhesives also need to constantly change. At Sunstar Engineering we are always ready to react and implement the necessary changes in our product development.

In addition, the focus on automotive adhesive properties is changing. In the past, all attention was on adhesiveness and durability, but this is shifting towards the safety and comfort of the people riding in the car, putting even greater emphasis on the need for a new generation of adhesives. As such, we are continually developing new adhesives day after day to provide up-to-date products that respond to the changing needs of consumers and automobile manufacturers alike, such as adhesives that are increasingly effective in reducing chemical substances within the car itself.

Grasping the changing needs and responding them flexibly, we provide products that match the trend of the times

In addition, the focus on automotive adhesive properties is changing. In the past, all attention was on adhesiveness and durability, but this is shifting towards the safety and comfort of the people riding in the car, putting even greater emphasis on the need for a new generation of adhesives. As such, we are continually developing new adhesives day after day to provide up-to-date products that respond to the changing needs of consumers and automobile manufacturers alike, such as adhesives that are increasingly effective in reducing chemical substances within the car itself.

Find out more

Penguin Cement SW Series

Penguin Cement SW Series

Sunstar Engineering offers a variety of adhesives that provide body rigidity, bond dissimilar materials such as aluminum and steel, and guarantee solid protection in the event of an automobile collision.

Learn more (USA)
Learn more (Japan)
Learn more (Thailand)

Penguin Cement SW Series