Panel Systems Ltd. of Sheffield has been a major UK manufacturer of insulated architectural and structural panels, CNC machined panels and board materials, hot-wire cut Styrofoam®, and external cladding since 1974. Their key markets include construction, automotive, packaging, lightweight staging, caravans and marine. With three sites covering 60,000 square feet and 60 employees, including, sales personnel, CAD designers, production operatives and logistics specialists, their reputation and track record for excellence makes them a manufacturer customers rely on.
Panel Systems manufactures an extensive range of panels, comprising as little as two layers or as many as six layers. The layers can be a multitude of materials including metals, particle boards, foam plastics and honeycombs.
When thin plastic sheet became more widely used in manufacturing about 15 years ago, the company found that a single-part moisture curing polyurethane adhesive was not effective for bonding these new materials. Preparation of plastic substrates prior to bonding resulted in lower production rates.
Panel Systems approached Chemique Adhesives to assist in improving production rates and they recommended their two-part polyurethane adhesive, Solfre2. The main advantage of Solfre2 was its ability to handle a wider range of materials and the elimination of solvents in the bonding process. Solfre2 offers an alternative to epoxies, one-part polyurethanes, solvented adhesives, and hot melts, providing improved bond quality.
The company uses Solfre2 for structural bonding with foam plastics, as well as aluminum and polypropylene honeycomb cores. Solfre2 Honeycomb is an extension of the Solfre2 family of products that has been specially formulated for manufacturing honeycomb panels and composite panels. The Solfre2 Honeycomb range combines the properties associated with Solfre2 giving superior bond strength, while still maintaining low coat weights and flexibility, according to Chemique.
Chris Ibbotson, managing director, Panel Systems, said, “Reliability and consistency matter to our business. Solfre2 allows us to bond a wide range of materials to different cores with confidence which is a big advantage.”
The company manufactures in excess of 100,000 square meters of panels every year, and recently installed a new automatic adhesive spray booth, partly designed by Chemique, to increase quality and productivity.
“We have long-term customers that rely on us to provide top-quality products, and we’re able to do so thanks to Chemique’s Solfre2 adhesive,” Ibbotson said.