13 November 2018
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Winning fixture!

When Premier League superstar Manchester City was having problems with its extended electric vehicles, a powerful – and yet highly flexible – solution from Advanced Adhesives helped to save the day.

“When we were asked by Manchester City FC to supply a couple of extended electric vehicles to be used as mini buses for use at the Etihad Stadium, we were delighted,” says Dave Redfern, a life-long City fan and general manager at Manchester Lift Safe.

The use of micro buses to ferry staff and visitors from the mini stadium to the main stadium at the Etihad complex looked a perfect fit. The vehicle would carry up to 14 passengers, was slim enough to fit the narrow bridge and, most importantly, fits well with Manchester City’s commitment to the environment.

However, the need for the extended length of the vehicle led to some challenges that had not been foreseen, mainly to do with the increased flexing in the roof panels. “These buses we source from China, which caused us issues in trying to retro-fit new roofs; and trying to understand the components and fixing system to use,” states Redfern. “The transparent roof panels looked great and gave everyone a better view of the magnificent stadium complex. However, when the skies opened and the rain came down, the seals just didn’t hold, due to the flexing in the materials.

The main problem was that the moulded plastic had no structural strength whatsoever, he adds. “Wherever a hole had been drilled, it leaked like a colander. Not only that, the holes propagate cracks which run into much larger cracks and makes the whole thing worse. I called in a number of coachbuilders – none of whom could provide a solution to repair.”

Manchester Lift Safe was informed by Chinese manufacturer LV Tong that the material being used was an ABS-PP mix and incredibly difficult to bond – hence the reason they riveted the roof on.” Almost in desperation, I looked at alternative solutions,” says Redfern, “and a colleague suggested I looked at adhesives and sealants.” Amongst others, he called Advanced Adhesives in Newcastle.

Says Graham Crozier, technical director at Advanced Adhesives: “When I first spoke to Dave [Redfern], I could immediately relate to his problem, as it is very much the kind of challenge that this kind of application produces. The drive towards new materials in a wide variety of industries has meant that demand for new and developing adhesives has never been greater.”

Dave Redfern takes up the story. “After my initial conversation with Graham [Crozier], I was immediately reassured that Advanced Adhesives would be able to find a suitable solution. Graham’s expert knowledge base was very reassuring, as was the fact that they were able to do some in-house tests on our materials and have successful results to us within days. The solution was with us within a week and the vehicles back at Manchester City very soon after. We’ve experienced no further problems and the team went on to win the Premier League. All-round good results!”

Crozier recalls: “We were able to supply one of our hybrid structural methacrylates to suit this particular application – our 8069. These hybrid materials have been formulated to give incredible structural strength, yet with a high degree of flexibility within the adhesive to assist in the bending, twisting, torsional and elongation loads that would be experienced in this roof bonding application. It’s been great to supply adhesive to another new customer – it’s what we do best. A knock-on effect of the work we have carried out with Lift Safe is that Dave Redfern has recommended us to LV Tong in China, which now implements the use of our adhesive in China for the bonding of all the roof structures on the vehicles they manufacture.”

As Crozier points out, Advanced Adhesives doesn’t go out specifically to sell adhesives. “We solve customers’ problems and production line/design challenges, and the adhesive sale then tends to follow along, once we’ve proved ourselves technically and our adhesive has proved itself in the application it is being tested in. Having bonded everything from a rubber duck to a Bentley motor car, we’ve become recognised as an applications specialist, something we are very proud of. We understand adhesives and their applications, and our customer’s challenges, and we rise to those challenges.

“We have our own in-house test equipment for bonding trials, with tensile and peel loadings the most common tests we carry out. However, with our Climatic Chamber we can carry out aging tests on customers materials to ensure longevity of the adhesive joint over an aged 10+ year period. These services we offer free of charge for our customers.”

Redfern concludes: “I would be happy to give good testimony for Advanced Adhesives to anyone in a manufacturing environment, even when you may not think of adhesives or sealants as your solution. We found ours with Advanced Adhesives.”

Brian Wall

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