Choosing Epoxy Film For Cost Reduction

Selection of an adhesive can take many paths and every application has unique constraints. We have provided a technical checklist for adhesive selection, but ultimately cost is a big factor. The fact is that film format epoxy is more expensive than a liquid format on a volume or weight basis. This is very simply due to the higher level of processing necessary to make a filmed product. But does that mean all users of epoxy film are automatically producing a more costly product? The answer is clearly no, but the question is why?

After reviewing numerous applications across many industries, the standout cost driver for epoxy film is first pass yield in production. Yield improvement of just a few points can reduce cost significantly. For example, moving from 90% to 95% yield means the effective cost of goods drops 5.3%. Considering that adhesives typically represent a very small fraction of the material budget for most products, a moderate increase in adhesive cost could lead to significant savings overall. Many processes using film adhesives approach 100% first pass yield. Some of the reasons for improvement are:
  • Reproducible bond line thickness
  • Reproducible amount of adhesive deposited
  • Elimination of rework due to insufficient or excessive adhesive
  • High strength bond
  • Reduced functional tuneup time of device (most notably in microwave applications)

If an assembly process is currently running 90% or better yield, there may be an opportunity for cost improvement that justifies looking at alternative adhesives. Any process running less than 90% probably justifies a critical assessment.

Yes, epoxy film adhesives are more expensive than liquid epoxies. Yet in considering the total production process, they can in fact contribute to the lowest cost solution.
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