The Graphic Arts Industry is one of the largest manufacturing sectors in Australia. With over 6,500 businesses in the sector, employing around 27,000 people, it is a significant contributor to the Australian economy.

Primarily a communications-based industry, it relies on creatively communicating messages through several media platforms. The specialisations in the industry include bookbinding, POS Display systems, stationery, screen printing and others.

While manufacturers in the graphic arts industry understand that products need to be durable, they also keep a sharp eye on operational efficiency and costs.

That’s where using the right adhesives can make a difference by improving production efficiency and minimising wastage.

Types of Adhesives Used in the Graphic Arts Industry

While there are several types of adhesives used in the Graphic Arts industry, the two main adhesives are solvent-based and water-based adhesives depending on whether the acrylic polymers are suspended in a solvent or in water.

Water-based adhesives are generally used for cheaper applications and most high-grade applications use solvent-based adhesives which provide superior adhesion.

Solvent adhesives are structurally stronger and perform better in conditions where they are exposed to humidity, moisture, extreme temperature and chemicals.

Adhesives can also be removable or permanent. Removable adhesives are best suited for applications of a temporary nature where easy removal without damage to the surface of the material is necessary,

Although removable adhesives have low adhesion, cohesion is an important factor as the adhesive needs to be easily and cleanly removable. This requires a stronger bond to the top sheet than the substrate.

Permanent adhesives are most suited for applications where graphics are expected to last long. They are not easily removable and can leave a large amount of adhesive on the substrate when removed which makes cleaning costly and time-consuming.

Applications in the Graphic Arts Industry

While adhesives are a small part of the manufacturing process, they have an important role to play in the quality, appearance and longevity of graphic art products.

Some of the applications of adhesives in the Graphic Art industry are:

  • Bookbinding
  • POS (Point of Sale) Display
  • Envelope Making
  • Direct Mail
  • Document Holders

Choosing the Right Graphic Arts Adhesive Solution

There are two important factors to consider when choosing a graphic arts adhesive solution – the surface on which the adhesive is being applied and the conditions under which the adhesive is being applied.

Surface Considerations: Printing on the surface, how it will be cut and whether lamination is required are factors which can affect the performance of the adhesive. Using the adhesive on a test sample is recommended to get the best results.

Environmental Conditions: Temperature conditions impact the way in which the adhesive will interact with a surface as well as how it will flow across and coat the surface.

Extreme cold temperatures reduce adhesive flow and consequently the bond strength. Heat guns can be used to speed up adhesive flow and make the curing process faster.

Printing a film can also impact adhesion quality.  When using solvent inks for printing, it is important to dry the print correctly. Applying a laminate on a surface before the solvents have fully evaporated can cause the solvents to be trapped which will affect the performance of the adhesive.

Meeting the Demands of a Competitive Graphic Arts Industry

The graphic arts has changed significantly in the last 10 years with the move to small production requirements using different materials.

This has required innovative technologies to ensure quality and for maintaining consistency and cost-effectiveness in production processes.

As a result, there are now several adhesive products which are designed to form durable bonds on different surfaces. They are also able to overcome adhesion issues which occur because of fusing oils and coatings being used.

With so many factors impacting adhesion, finding the right graphic arts adhesive solution can be difficult as there isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution.

For instance, when choosing a film that’s been designed for a specific graphic art application, the surfaces, paints, range of substrates and environmental conditions will play a role in determining the end result.

At ABC Adhesives, we have a range of products for applications in the graphic arts industry. If you are looking for help in choosing adhesive products that are the right fit for your business, we are here to help. You can contact 07 3266 8699 to speak to one of our consultants or click here to send us a message.