Adhering instead of plugging
tesa solves the complex issue of hole covering intelligently with its core competence: adhesive tape solutions that adhere reliably throughout the vehicle’s lifetime and at the same time are much easier and faster to process than conventional plugs – even by robots in the future.
Hole covering, or closing holes in the vehicle body, is a major topic in the automotive industry. That’s because there are up to 220 holes in a single body that must be covered during the automotive manufacturing process. That’s about 10 billion holes per year. tesa is solving the complex issue of hole covering intelligently with its core competence: adhesive tape solutions that adhere reliably throughout the vehicle’s lifetime and at the same time are much easier and faster to process than conventional plugs – even by robots in the future.
But why does a car body have so many holes? There are various reasons. For example, there are threaded and drilled holes that must be permanently or temporarily closed. Other openings allow hard-to-reach components to be assembled, serve transport purposes, or are required in the dip coating process so that the coating can flow in everywhere and back out again, thereby ensuring complete corrosion protection.
However, in order to prevent moisture or dirt from penetrating into the car body cavities during its use phase and to reduce air turbulence noise while the car is moving, the openings must of course be resealed. This is often still done with plugs made of plastic, rubber or metal, a process that requires a great deal of time, work and personnel, because the holes have different sizes and shapes. In order for the plug to fulfill its purpose, it must fit precisely and be pressed into the correct opening with sufficient force.
Advantages That Stick
With its hole covering product range, tesa has created an alternative: pre-fabricated die cuts in various sizes and in various adhesive tape designs that offer decisive advantages over conventional plugs. While the plugs must fit exactly, it is possible to close different sized holes with one size of stamped part. This reduces complexity and saves time.
Also, applying the die cuts is much easier than pressing plugs into holes. That saves work. Another advantage is the adhesive points are many times lighter than plugs. That saves weight, an essential requirement of the automotive industry when it comes to fuel savings in gasoline engines, or range in electric vehicles. In addition, the adhesive tape solutions can offer different added benefits like impermeability, heat resistance, noise reduction and puncture resistance.
Designing the Future With Adhesive Tape Solutions
And tesa takes it a step further. Despite die cuts being easier to use, closing the holes is an ergonomic challenge for production employees. Some holes are in hard-to-reach places. This requires the employees to work in uncomfortable and sometimes unhealthy positions during processing. tesa has developed a solution for this in collaboration with technology partners: a robotic head that can apply the die cuts in a fully automated way, and therefore faster. Incidentally, this too is a decisive competitive advantage for die cuts compared to plugs, which make automated insertion practically impossible, or allow only partial automation, due to their prefabricated shapes and differing hole contours.
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