Over 20 years have passed since Itac received our first heat reactivatable adhesive enquiry to help produce a coating with pressure sensitive properties. Since then, we have worked with companies on a regional, national, and international level to develop a continually evolving range of coating adhesives specially formulated for mounting, laminating, and encapsulation for the graphics industry. These have all been designed to enhance appearance, performance, and protection of printed media.
The synthetic polymers used in the processes of mounting and laminating graphics are thermoplastic in nature which means they soften or reactivate when exposed to heat. The heat at which the adhesive reactivates is controlled through the formulation process but there can be disastrous consequences for the product if the formulation is wrong. For example, if a reactivation temperature is too high, the laminating process could result in damage to the inks and resins in the print and the polymeric films being used.
The adhesives can also be formulated to have varying levels of tack strength to provide the required pressure sensitive effects. Again, the chemistry needs to be carefully aligned with the product and application to ensure the correct level of repositioning and removability is enabled once the initial bond has occurred.
Itac can formulate and manufacture adhesive coating formulations that have varying reactivation temperatures. We often aim for between 80°C and 90°C as this is the temperature many end clients use during the hot press laminating process for bonding the protective film on to the graphic media substrate.
As mentioned above, damage to the printed media may occur if higher temperatures are used. However, Itac also pay special attention to danger of lower reactivation temperatures. Often, coated laminated films are transported through hot climate locations. If the reactivation temperature is too low, the hot conditions in transit could result in the adhesive softening or reactivating prior to the coated film arriving at its destination. This could result in the materials sticking together and rendering them unfit for purpose.
By using Itac’s formulation expertise, our clients can avoid the high costs associated with using the wrong reactivation temperatures and tack strengths being applied in the coating process. Furthermore, Itac can address the little nuances that our clients need to satisfy their customer’s requirements for more unique applications. Whilst many of our competitors focus on standardising their product offerings and operations to meet broad market demands, Itac are willing to spend time collaborating with alternative suppliers, trialling, testing, and providing working samples until the desired outcome is reached. For Itac, non-standard is standard!
Itac’s agile, responsive, and flexible approach has helped our clients to differentiate their product offer through the manufacture and supply of adhesive coatings with additional functionality to what the market considers to be the norm. A mutually beneficial and collaborative partnership remains today between Itac and the company that made that initial enquiry more than 20 years ago.