Bonding instead of plugging in the automotive industry

tesa relies on automation for hole covering in car bodies

Every year worldwide more than 10 billion holes in car bodies – necessary for the e-coat painting process – must be closed for corrosion protection. This is typically done manually by pushing bulky plastic plugs into the holes: an extremely time-consuming as well as physically demanding and unhealthy task for workers. Per shift, they push more than 3,500 plugs to seal the holes, often working in an overhead position. By doing so, they need to apply a thumb pressure per plug equaling 7 kilogram – an enormous ergonomic strain. The alternative: sealing patches from the adhesive manufacturer tesa, which are applied by a robot quickly and reliably.

Close cooperation with Porsche

The car manufacturer Porsche AG, together with their long-term supplier tesa, has developed an innovative robot-assisted manufacturing process at their headquarters in Zuffenhausen. The fully electric Porsche Taycan is the first vehicle in the world to use a new automation technology for efficient hole covering,thus optimizing the entire production process. By summer 2021, Porsche AG will implement this new concept also in their paint shop at the Leipzig plant. "The cooperation with Porsche is an excellent example of how tesa, as a long-term partner of the automotive industry, drives innovations and offers future-oriented solutions to bring value to our customers," explains Angela Cackovich, Board Member Direct Industries at tesa SE.

The heat-resistant, lightweight tesa® sealing patches also promote e-mobility

Compared to conventional plastic plugs, tesa® sealing patches feature a variety of advantages. While plugs always have to match perfectly, it is possible to cover holes of different dimensions with one patch size. This reduces the overall complexity and saves time. On top, tesa® patches can provide additional benefits. The base product, tesa® PunctureGuard, ensures corrosion protection via perfect sealing combined with high mechanical strength and good noise dampening properties. Additionally, these durable adhesive patches that are only one millimeter thin yet extremely tough and last a car life long, are significantly lighter than the approximately six-millimeter plastic plugs. This is of great relevance for e-cars, as every extra gram means a loss of range. Our special product tesa® FireGuard, developed for the so-called Battery Foot Print, withstands flames of up to 500 degrees Celsius for six minutes, protecting the passenger compartment to allow driver and passengers to get out of the vehicle in case a defect battery catches fire.

Flexibility and speed thanks to robot technology

"Our automatic application unit, tesa® EfficienSeal, was developed utilizing tesa expertise and guarantees customers that holes are effectively sealed," explains David Caro, Corporate Vice President of the tesa Business Unit Automotive. "Also, the positioning accuracy is significantly higher compared to the manual process. The sealing operation becomes 100% effective and can be performed in half of the time compared to the traditional process."

Using this innovative automation technology, tesa automotive customers benefit from a high degree of flexibility: Depending on vehicle type – and the related number and sizes of holes in the car body – the robot can exchange end-effectors quickly depending on the sealing patch type and size needed. 

About tesa SE
As a multinational company, tesa has been developing innovative adhesive tapes and self-adhesive system solutions for various industries, commercial customers, and end consumers. The age of technical adhesive tapes began 125 years ago – in Hamburg. Today, there are already more than 7,000 tesa adhesive solutions that help improve the work, products or lives of our customers. Today, the focus is on sustainability and energy-saving processes. tesa invests in the development of environmentally friendly products and solvent-free manufacture processes as well as in the use of renewable energy sources at its locations.


tesa is present in 100 countries and operates plants in Germany, Italy, China, the USA, and soon also in Vietnam. Around three quarters of the tesa Group’s sales (2020: EUR 1,326 million) are generated by applications for industries. Together with its international clients, tesa develops innovations that are customized at product and process level. Already more than 130 tesa tapes may be installed in an electric car and over 70 in a smartphone. In the printing and construction industries, too, tesa is constantly penetrating new segments and countries with its special adhesive tapes. The company generates almost one quarter of its sales with products for end consumers and professional craftsmen. 300 applications, such as the legendary tesafilm®, make life easier or, when it comes to insect protection, even make it a bit more pleasant. tesa is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of adhesive solutions. Since 2001, tesa SE is an independent 100% affiliate of Beiersdorf AG (i.e., NIVEA, Eucerin, la prairie) with 4,800 employees today.

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