Conagen, a biotechnology innovator, has announced the development of new, debondable hot-melt adhesives made by high-performance materials from sustainable and natural bio-molecules. The development marks a new era of adhesives for manufacturers seeking structural adhesive solutions to avoid waste and save costs in manufacturing.
“Conagen’s patent-pending debondable hot-melt adhesive is incredibly stronger than what is used in the market now and can outperform petroleum-based products with a sustainable advantage that saves time, cost, and reduces waste,” said J. McNamara, VP of chemical applications.
The advantages of high-strength debondable adhesives are used in multiple industries. For example, consider smartphones and electronics can be repaired effortlessly, which can be deconstructed at the end of its life without damaging its components for recovery and recycling of valuable parts currently in land refills.
“The unexpected boost in performance comes from Conagen’s fermented ingredients already at full industrial scale,” added McNamara. “Conagen is open to discussing commercialization opportunities with manufacturers who are interested in a new era of performance materials.”
Adhesives offer many advantages in joining materials, including the ease of use compared to welding, sealing, distributing stress, and environmental resistance. Currently, manufacturers glue two pieces together and wait for a day to cure the bond. If there are imperfections in the bond, the glued products are thrown away because they cannot be unglued, resulting in time and material waste.
Today, most reactive hot melt adhesives rely on post-curing chemistry to develop adhesive strength. A downside to this approach is the curing process is irreversible and, as such, hinders or prevents de-bonding almost entirely.
While the ingredients of Conagen’s hot-melt adhesives are commonly found in nature, to develop sustainable debondable adhesives, Conagen leverages its precision fermentation technology to engineer a synthetic pathway independent of plant source materials, creating more efficient and sustainable bio-based ingredients than what can be achieved with chemically-synthesized versions.
Conagen’s inspiration is self-healing materials, using sustainable and natural ingredients, turning them into high-strength debondable hot-melt adhesives. The process is as simple as cutting the plastic, which re-heals itself in less time than the conventional way.
The Conagen adhesive is different-it is a cross-linked material designed with reversibility in mind that exhibits the strength of traditionally cured adhesives with the added benefit of transitioning to a flowable material after heating.
Adhesives run across a spectrum of industries. Conagen’s debondable adhesive formulation is ideal for cars, boats, planes, transportation, consumer electronics and appliances, and military and industrial applications. Adhesives in electric vehicles (EVs) are more widespread than conventional automobiles.
The adhesives market stood at $729.11 billion in 2019 and is projected to exhibit a CAGR of 5.3% between 2020 and 2027, making Conagen’s adhesive formulation lucrative for a supplier to distribute it to original equipment manufacturers (OEM).
Conagen’s hallmark in the specialty and industrial space is discovering applications from the platform of natural bio-compounds and bio-materials for a new era of materials that are both high-performing and sustainable.
“Our adhesive formulation continues to show promise for bonding a wide array of materials, such as metal, plastic, and glass,” said McNamara. “We’re making it easier for companies to adopt a more natural position in manufacturing while staying true to the long-lasting performance of their products.”