Canadian Manufacturing

3D printing and adhesives give baby products manufacturer the edge

4moms tackles difficult-to-bond materials in rapid production assembly plant

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—Sponsored article by Henkel Canada Corporation

4moms is a juvenile products company that designs and produces innovative and aesthetically-pleasing baby strollers, rocker seats and other equipment that must meet the highest safety standards: those of new parents.

Thanks to 3D printing and the support of LOCTITE products, 4moms is able to achieve rapid product development in a demanding market.

“We want to deliver absolutely gorgeous products,” said 4moms co-founder Henry Thorne. “To do that, you don’t want ugly fasteners sticking out of the sides. So we use LOCTITE fasteners to hold our products together from the inside, so you get that beautiful look on the outside.”

Every day, night and weekend, 4moms’ 3D printers are running, constantly printing out the pieces of new product designs. This allows the company to create an entire prototype product that is as functional as the real thing.

Finding a way to bond the 3D printed parts is critical, and that’s why the company’s product engineers reach for LOCTITE instant adhesives.

“With the advent of 3D printing, LOCTITE adhesives and other materials, it allows us to explore faster and get to solutions that are better, and the result of all of that is we have more rapid overall product development” said Kevin Dowling, 4moms vice-president of engineering. “That’s what’s key in our business.”

One solution 4moms uses is LOCTITE 401 instant adhesive, a clear, one part product designed for the assembly of difficult-to bond materials. The use of an accelerator speeds the cure of the adhesive and allows the prototype to be used immediately.

“The engineers at LOCTITE have got the stuff so that we can choose just the right grade, just the right selection, that allows us to hold it together in a way that it will never come apart for the customer,” Thorne said.

4moms uses LOCTITE threadlockers to keep nuts and bolts securely fastened, despite being subjected to constant vibration. Using adhesives in place of mechanical fasteners also aids in the aesthetic design of the products.

“The product has to run a thousand hours because it’s handed down from child to child, and there’s vibration no matter what we do,” Thorne said. “Motors create vibration. So all the screws want to come loose.

Everything in there wants to slowly come apart. We have to find a way to bond these things in such a way that it will never come apart. And that’s where LOCTITE adhesives come in.”

4moms trusts LOCTITE solutions in the design and production of hightech products that are reliable, durable and beautiful to the eye. And that’s not child’s play.

Henkel is a leading solution provider for adhesives, sealants and functional coatings worldwide. We offer a comprehensive portfolio of tailor-made solutions for our customers and of high-quality consumer products. For more information visit: Henkel Canada Corp.

For additional case studies on designing with adhesives and other strategies to boost shop floor efficiency, visit the Productivity Success Centre.

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