Thermal Fusing for Thin, Flexible Materials

At Dal-Bac we rely on thermal fusing as an effective means to bond thin flexible materials in situations where it is impractical to use alternative laminating techniques. With thermal fusing, two or more materials are joined together using heat and pressure, resulting in a finished product that combines the characteristics of the individual layers.

Thermal fusing typically involves one of two types of thermoplastic bonding media:

  1. Adhesive films: Plastic films that have been engineered to melt at a specific target temperature and that exhibit superior flow characteristics upon melting.
  2. Hot-melt web adhesives: These are conventional hot-melt adhesives that are melted and spun onto a belt, creating a thin continuous web of hot-melt adhesive.

Both adhesive types are available in a range of polymers, weights and melt points.

In some cases, we can avoid the use of adhesives altogether by introducing controlled melting of one of the materials to be laminated, which causes it to flow into the other layer creating exceptionally strong bonds with no additional adhesive cost.  Depending on the final product, we can also apply adhesive to the surface of our customer’s materials for reactivation and bonding to other surfaces in their own facilities.

At Dal-Bac we use flatbed laminating machines that feed the materials to be laminated (as well as the thermoplastic bonding media) between two moving belts that guide the materials over a heating platen. In our case, we actually have two heating platens – one above and one underneath – that can be independently controlled to attain optimum process parameters for a given lamination job. Pressure and speed are also matched to the specific needs of each job.

Every lamination technique has its limitations. Thermal fusing requires attention to the risks of overheating, as too much heat can often damage the materials being laminated. Dal-Bac specializes in understanding our customer’s needs so we can match the right adhesive, temperature and process for your specific product.