Surface Protection Films for Architectural Applications


There are many opportunities for accidental damage throughout the process of manufacturing, painting, shipping, and installing architectural products. Surface protection films are designed to protect manufactured products from harm prior to their installation. These surface protection films come in a variety of thicknesses, materials, and even colors, depending on their intended applications. These films can even be designed to protect manufactured products after the installation has been completed.

Different Types of Surface Protection Films

Surface protection films are available in polyethylene, polypropylene, PVC, polyurethane, and blended films.  Depending on the environment the surface protection film will encounter, the film  thickness will usually range from 2-5 mils These films are all designed to be removable and to not leave any adhesive residue behind once they have been removed; in this way, they are able to protect the manufactured product without adding any complexity to the installation process. These films have another advantage of not adding on significantly to either shipping size or shipping weight while still providing some level of protection.

Applications for Surface Protection Films

Surface protection films can be used on virtually any type of surface, ranging from plastic to wood. In terms of electronic devices, surface protection films are often used on glass and keypads, designed to protect them until the consumer is able to use them. In construction, surface protection films are often used on cabinets and natural stone. They are able to protect these vital construction materials before they are installed. Surface protection films may be used to protect flooring against damage, especially hardwood planks. It may also be used on all types of polished metals, to reduce the possibility of scratching and marring.

Surface Protection Films in Architecture

As noted, surface protection films are used very often in construction materials. In terms of architecture, surface protection films will often be seen on glass windows and metal extrusions. Metal building panels and painted extrusions will often be protected by these films. When properly selected, surface protection films can resist UV light and the elements during shipment and installation which can take several months especially in high rise construction. Surface protection films can protect the building panel, window, curtain wall, and painted extrusions from damage while it is being shipped and then installed at the job site. Surface protection films are one of the easiest ways to protect surfaces from damage throughout the installation process. In essence, they are an inexpensive  insurance policy against claims and returns. With the benefit of avoiding scratches, scuffs, and UV damage, surface protection films may be recommended for any manufactured product that could be potentially damaged during transit and handling. Contact Tom Brown Inc to learn more about the variety of surface protection films offered.


The Advantages of Kiss Cut Parts on Productivity

When it comes to manufacturing, productivity is incredibly important. Through kiss cutting, businesses are able to improve upon the handling of their manufactured parts. Not only does this increase convenience and efficiency, but it also creates a more accurate and precise product. Kiss cutting can be utilized on a variety of different materials in many different thicknesses, making it a versatile option for the manufacturing of parts.

What Is Kiss Cutting?

Kiss cutting is the process of cutting manufactured parts so as to leave it attached to a backing usually a silicone release liner or a carrier tape. The parts can be wound and delivered in rolls or can be cut into discrete parts. Kiss cutting requires extreme precision; the entirety of the component itself must be cut through while the backing remains intact. The finished part can then be removed from the adhesive backing as necessary.

What Are the Advantages of Kiss Cut Parts?

Kiss cut parts are often used when parts need to be automatically dispensed on an assembly line. Kiss cut parts are typically easy to use and to handle. Workers are able to take the parts from the backing individually and place them as needed or a machine can automatically dispense them and wind up the release liner.

Kiss cut parts are also extremely convenient. They are very easy to store, especially in rolls and kiss cut parts can be cut from the roll individually. Finally, kiss cutting is a very versatile form of supplying component parts that easily lends itself to a variety of materials.

What Are Some Types of Kiss Cut Materials?

Kiss cutting is generally done with rubber, foam, sponges, and other pressure-sensitive tape materials. Kiss cutting is normally accomplished with rotary or flat bed presses, making it ideal for high volume runs. Stickers and labels are among some of the most common types of kiss cut materials that most people will see.

Though the machine into the finished shape cuts through the sticker or label itself, the backing is not. This results in a part that can be easily removed.  Kiss cutting can also be used to create rubber gaskets and seals.

For more information about the different types of die-cutting and the benefits of kiss cutting, contact Tom Brown, Inc. today .

Creating High Value Products Using 3 Die Cutting Techniques

Die cutting is one of the best ways to produce high quality parts and components with minimal waste. Because die cutting is a very precise procedure, it can be used to cut fairly expensive materials and to create tight tolerance, finished products. There are three major types of die cutting process that are best for producing high quality goods . Each of them is best suited to specific applications and end products.

Water Jet Cutting

The best solution for rapid prototyping and custom, large format components, water jet cutting uses a CNC interface to direct a high powered jet of water. Water jet cutting is often used during the production and testing phases of product development, as it doesn’t require a physical die for the cuts. Instead, it uses a digital file and is able to cut through materials of almost any thickness.

For many custom products, water jet cutting is exceptionally valuable. Water jet cutting will never lose accuracy because the cut will always be from the same digital file. The production is a little slower, but the products are always of consistently high quality. For custom products that may need to be altered depending on the customer, it’s the best solution; there are no physical dies that need to be altered. Just as precise as any other die cutting process, water jet cutting can also be used for early prototyping and demos.

Water jet cutting is generally used for either small batches or medium batches. For high volume requirements, water jet cutting may not be ideal.

Rotary Die Cutting

Rotary die cutting is a high speed cutting process intended for very high volume production. Rotary die cutting has very tight tolerances and is well-suited to any product that had to be produced quickly. However, the die costs are higher when compared to flat bed dies. Many high quality parts will use rotary die cutting to achieve a balance between speed and quality.

Flat Bed Cutting

A little slower but more affordable die costs than rotary die cutting, flat bed cutting is well-suited for medium to high volume production of specific products. Flat bed cutting can cut through most materials and most thicknesses, but isn’t able to cut through quite as many materials as other die cutting processes. Flat bed cutting requires a steel rule die which is more affordable than rotary dies  and yet can maintain high levels of accuracy. Die cutting is a very flexible method of production and consequently is one of the most popular and frequently used. Die cutting is also valuable if moderate amounts of products need to be turned around very quickly.

When creating die cut, high quality parts, the type of process matters. The entirety of the product may need to be cut in one process or different components of the product may be better off in different types of process, to be later assembled. Expertise may be needed to accurately determine the right type of cutting for the product. Contact the professionals at Tom Brown, Inc. to find out everything you need to know about the available die cutting processes for you.

Understanding Pressure-Sensitive Adhesives and Performance in the Field

Pressure-sensitive adhesive tapes (often referred to as adhesive tape, sticky tape, or just tape) utilize a family of permanently tacky adhesives designed to be applied with light pressure. These adhesive systems differ from other types of adhesives in that they don’t require any type of moisture, oxygen (or lack of oxygen), solvent, or heat to establish a bond.

There are literally thousands of different tapes available on the market. Some of the differences among them are significant and in other cases the differences can be extremely subtle.

For purposes of this article, we will focus on tapes used for bonding and assembly applications primarily in manufacturing settings.

The first set of “screens” to help narrow the myriad of tape options include:

  1. The type of assembly being considered
  2. The materials to be bonded (substrates)
  3. The manufacturing process itself
  4. What the product encounter during its’ life cycle(end use requirements)
  5. Cost considerations

Type of Assembly

Getting clear on the type of assembly you are designing seems rather obvious but it really does help separate the ‘wheat from the chaff”.

Is it a small area bond such as a wire management hook, screw anchor, or metal or plastic housing?

Is it a gasket or seal? Is it filling a gap?

Are you attaching trim, nameplates, or badges?

Are you fabricating more structural components such as bonding large metal, glass, or composite panels to a frame system?

Materials to be Bonded

Simply put, not all tapes stick to every surface. For example, some adhesive systems have tenacious bonds to bare metals but will not adhere well to a painted metal surface.

Pressure –sensitive adhesives work primarily through a concept commonly called  “wet out “ or the ability to flow and develop intimate surface contact with the substrates.

Wet out is a function of surface energy, surface texture, and cleanliness.

Some materials such as stainless steel, polycarbonate, and polystyrene have higher surface energies and are easier to bond to while other substrates such a polyethylene, polypropylene, or PVDF (polyvinylidene fluoride) can be much more challenging.

Various tapes have been designed with adhesive systems to work effectively with all of these surface energies.

The texture of the surface can also play a role in bond strength. Softer adhesive can systems “flow” into the microscopic “hills and valleys” in  the surface to develop increased surface area and bond strength while firmer systems might adhere primarily to the “peaks” and generate lower adhesion values.

Cleanliness can significantly influence tape performance and service life. Manufacturers all indicate that the surface should be clean and free of dust, dirt, moisture, and other fluids such as oils. The presence of these contaminants block the adhesive from establishing intimate contact with the surface thus reducing or compromising bond strength.

The Manufacturing Process

How do you manufacture the assembly now? Is the process locked down or is there any room for change? How many steps are there in the current process?

Will you apply the tape by hand, via a laminating system, or via an automatic or semi-automatic applicator? The beauty of tapes is their versatility. Small parts might be able to be applied via hand quite easily while other tape require more robust and consistent pressure to ensure long service life and performance.

End Use Requirements

Will the final product be used indoors or outdoors? Will it encounter any chemicals? If so, what chemicals must it resist?

Will the tape be asked to resist very high or very low temperatures?

Tape manufacturers have done an outstanding job formulating adhesive systems to withstand almost anything you can throw at them. Doing the homework up front saves surprises later when you find out that a bond is compromised and worse, yet, you have an upset customer.

Cost Considerations

Tapes vary widely in cost depending on what they are made from what they are being asked to do. There are very inexpensive tape products that will do some jobs very nicely but they operate in a very narrow performance range and can give  some nasty surprises if specified in an application beyond their means.

In many assemblies, the unit cost of the tape is very low. Mere pennies in some cases and much more in others.

The more interesting question is what will a tape allow you to do? It’s the total applied cost exercise. It’s a harder concept to think about but it makes a huge difference! Tapes let you select lighter weight materials in many cases. You eliminate rework, clean up, replacing mechanical fasteners, and a host of other benefits that are often overlooked when considering costs.

Tom Brown, Inc. has a wide selection of bonding and assembly tapes to meet the needs of manufacturers. Contact Tom Brown today to learn more.

Understanding Material Selection and Die Cutting Methods

Rubber, films, and plastics; all of these can be formed through traditional die cutting methods. Die cutting is a fast and easy method of shaping materials with relatively low structural integrity, such as paper and fiberboard. Through die cutting, these materials can be precisely and quickly shaped with consistent accuracy. The final product, however, will be most influenced by the material selected.

The Different Types of Die Cutting Methods

Three of the most popular types of die cutting method include flat bed die cutting, rotary die cutting, and waterjet cutting. Each of them may be better suited to specific types of materials or fabrication. For the most part, most die cutting methods can be used for most production; it’s mostly a matter of what is most economically viable.

Flat bed die cutting is the simplest method of die cutting. It’s ideal for situations in which large amounts of material must be cut in a short period of time. It’s also an extremely versatile and flexible solution; because of the methods used in flat bed die cutting, it can be used with virtually any material.

Rotary die cutting is used for high volume, high accuracy production. The only downside to rotary die cutting is that it has a tendency to be more expensive than flat bed die cutting. It is, however, faster.

Finally, waterjet cutting is often performed when parts need to be manufactured due to changing specifications. Waterjet cutting allows for the CNCing of materials of different thickness and hardness. Because dies don’t need to be constructed, the actual product can be changed on-the-fly. It can be more expensive for high volumes but is usually less expensive for individual cuts. Laser cutting is very similar, but uses lasers rather than a jet of water.

Material Selection for Die Cutting

Die cutting is best and most commonly used on materials that have relatively low structural strength. Plastic and plastic films are among the most common materials used for die cutting. Foam, thin metal sheet, rubber, and fiber are also commonly used for die cutting. 

The hardness of the material will have the most impact on the methods of die cutting that can be used. Flat bed die cutting is often used for harder materials, as it can exert a large amount of force on the material. Waterjet and laser cutting are more commonly used with softer materials. 

Die cutting is generally used for high volume manufacturing, either to produce final products or to produce the parts of products. Because it can be used for such a wide assortment of materials, die cutting can fit into many manufacturing processes. Tom Brown, Inc. provides comprehensive die cutting processes, including flat bed, rotary, and waterjet cutting. Contact Tom Brown Inc. today to learn more about their die cutting processes!