How adhesives are driving forward electric vehicle production.
As the demand for high-performing electric vehicles (EVs) continues to rise, as does the need for highly engineered materials and technologies used in their assembly. Whilst historically manufacturers would reach for traditional fasteners or welding to bond these components together, the unique requirements of EV’s mean that adhesives are playing a pivotal role in shaping the future of vehicle production.
ADHESIVE REQUIREMENTS IN EVS
EVs offer a wide range of production challenges for design and manufacturing engineers. Adhesives, sealants, conformal coatings and other specialty products are able to overcome these obstacles and offer numerous advantages over traditional joining methods.
The most critical consideration in every vehicle design is safety. With electric vehicles, thermal management of the battery pack is one of the most complex developments. Specialty adhesives and thermally conductive materials can be applied to the battery cells to maintain an optimal temperature range during charging and operation. These materials can withstand demanding environmental and mechanical conditions including extreme shock, vibration, temperature fluctuations and moisture. This not only enhances the safety of the vehicle, but also extends the battery’s range and increases overall efficiency.
Additionally, adhesives play a crucial role in reinforcing the structural integrity of EV components. They allow secure and stable attachment of vital components such as the battery pack, external bodywork and interiors. Unlike traditional fasteners, adhesives create continuous bond lines which distribute pressure evenly across the surface. This prevents stress concentrations or weak points building in the vehicle’s structure, resulting in a more durable, safer and robust end-product.
Modern automotives are composed of a composite mix of materials including metal, glass, rubber and plastics. Thanks to their distinctive properties, adhesives provide optimum joining of dissimilar substrates. Multi-material bonding means manufacturers can opt for lighter substrates without compromising on strength or performance. Using a blend of lighter-weight components also helps significantly reduce fuel consumption and increase EV lifespan, paving the way for a more sustainable future.
AUTOMATED DISPENSING TECHNOLOGIES
EV manufacturing and assembly is inherently a high-volume environment, and manufacturers are continuously exploring ways to enhance the effectiveness and speed of their processes. Used in conjunction with adhesives, automated dispensing systems have proven to be an invaluable tool for creating high-performance automotive parts.
These systems can be programmed to dispense a precise amount of fluid at a set location with unrivalled accuracy. In addition to improving the production rate, this also significantly reduces the margin for error resulting in fewer rejected parts and minimised material waste.
Whilst automated dispensers require an initial investment of both time and money from the manufacturer, Ellsworth Adhesives’ experienced technical team are on hand to support this integration. They offer comprehensive set-up and aftercare to ensure users are fully equipped with the skills required to operate and maintain these systems to their maximum potential.
With the automotive industry continuing to drive towards an electric future, the notable advantages of adhesives and automated dispensing equipment provide vehicle manufacturers with the key to a more efficient and sustainable production line.
Tom Harrison is Technical Manager at Ellsworth Adhesives Europe.