Top 5 problems with bonded LoadLok track and the solutions

Written by Caleb Shaw

Recently we’ve noticed a lot of manufacturers have switched to bonded tie rail with great success, does this mean that you should do the same?

Here are 5 problems people have with bonded Loadlok and our take on the solutions:

  • Surface preparation needs to be done properly: When you fit a track with screws or rivets, you pay no attention to the cleanliness of the track. However, bonding the track (regardless of the type of adhesive) means that you need to clean the track first. If you have handled tie rail track or similar, then you will know that it’s often dirty. By cleaning the track with surface activator you will ensure that it will provide an excellent bonding surface for primer-less adhesives. The cleaning process is simple. Apply surface activator liberally to a lint free cloth, wipe in one direction turning the cloth to a clean edge every metre.
  • Bonded Loadlok is harder to remove: While screwed tierail often removes itself, bonded tierail can be up to 4X stronger than screwed Loadlok. If you should decide to remove the Loadlok, this can be done with relative ease using windscreen wire.
  • The amount of adhesive applied is critical to its success: Too little will not be strong enough, too much can be messy. To control this process companies can now offer nozzle which ensures the right amount of adhesive is applied.
  • A bond line thickness of approximately 1mm needs to be maintained: If the correct amount of adhesive has been applied, apply enough pressure so that the adhesive reaches the outside edge of the track and no more.
  • Gluing Loadlok adds additional weight to the vehicle: If you want to fix Loadlok using screws then you should have an anchorfix plate installed in the wall assembly, assuming you are building a 13.6M long trailer, and you have 3 rows of track down each side. This would mean you would need 5Kg of plates for every row of tierail, this is 30Kg, even without the screws you are already 18Kg heavier than your bonded counterpart.

How often have you seen this:

This is a very common sight in the rental market where the vehicles can get abused by customers.

What are the advantages of bonded tierail?

  • Faster application: Many customers have confirmed that to mechanically fix tierail, this takes 30 minutes per length for a box trailer. To bond this will take 15 minutes plus an additional 5 minutes in PDI cleaning up any excess.
  • Reduced lead time on standard sidewalls: sidewalls with anchorfix plates take longer to produce.
  • Cost on top of the savings on fixings: the anchorfix plates cost £3.60/linear metre whereas adhesive costs <£1/metre
  • High strength: bonded Loadlok can take over 1000Kg in tensile force whereas mechanical fastening start to fail at around 250Kg
  • Every hole drilled into the sidewall weakens it, in fact a line of holes drilled into the sidewall has been known to cause the sidewall to collapse.

What are the alternatives to bonding LoadLok onto composite panels?

  • Peel rivets is one option giving a fast attachment. However, like a screw, it can work itself loose.
  • Acrylic foam tape. These give a moderately good hold. However, the tie rail track is never perfectly flat so the bond area can be as little as 5mm meaning the holding strength is significantly reduced.

If you have any questions, or just fancy some non-biased advice, feel free to give us a call!