Written by Cathy Stevens
Unfortunately, if you don’t know, you don’t know! Here’s a short blog to answer the most common questions.
I am writing this with the objective to give you an overall understanding of the differences and key aspects to look out for when researching adhesives.
All companies trading in the UK must adhere to the Consumer Rights Act 2015 which states that:
• Goods must be fit for purpose, of satisfactory quality and as described; and
• Services must be provided with reasonable care and skill
In addition to this, companies may offer a warranty or a guarantee – so what’s the difference? A guarantee is a pledge made by the manufacturer to rectify any problems during a set period of time. This may involve repair or replacement. A warranty is a legal document, enforceable in court and usually covers a longer time period. So why not give everything a lifetime guarantee?
Well, the science of adhesives is rich and complex. In formulating a new product, the chemist needs to consider a multitude of factors – the bonding substrate(s), the gap width, the stresses and strains the bond will be under and the environmental conditions to name just a few. If a product is used for an application it is not intended for or applied in an incorrect way, it can result in an adhesive failure which can be wrongly attributed to the product.
As a consequence of these uncontrollable factors, adhesive warranties tend to be broad with many clauses which make them effectively meaningless unless application takes place in laboratory-controlled conditions. Some companies offer a warranty that simply states that at least 90% of the original technical characteristics will be maintained over a period of time – 2, 5, 7, 10 years etc. It is absolutely imperative that manufacturers consider adhesives and bonding in a holistic way that considers the substrate specification, the end use, environment, countries supplied to, expected life span as well as all of the engineering stress and strain values which an adhesive joint will be subjected to. Experience teaches us that there are many environmental factors and ambient conditions that will effect the way adhesives perform throughout the world and it is not a one size fits all. Issues that can become manifest in high humidity climates in Asia are often become manifest 3 to 5 times quicker than in western climates and environments.
In simple terms there are two types of warranty – a one page statement that covers the product itself and a detailed multi page and process specific document that covers the detail.
When assessing and claiming against a warranty it is always necessary to establish route cause and also try to recreate the failure using specific testing criteria and methods. In recreating the failure mode it can therefore be assessed whether the claim is valid and the product has truly failed.
Examples of Adhesive Warranties:
Government Website – Consumer Rights Act
If you are researching adhesives, and/or have any questions relating to this article, feel free to contact one of our expert for some non-biased advice.