Lasting technology finds new life in a pandemic-driven world
Aug 21, 2020

Tape is a product with a seemingly simple job, to hold two things together. But what if its purpose expanded beyond that? What if we thought of its purpose as bonding the things that are essential to our everyday lives?

Designed to go unseen, 3M™ VHB™ Tapes have been working in the background of other products for years, holding together objects from cell phones to trailer side walls to freeway signs and more. Now, as the COVID-19 pandemic changes our lifestyles and habits, this technology finds a new purpose in holding together the objects that provide us with the ability to function, and find enjoyment, in our new world.

Technology that stands the test of time

Introduced in 1980, 3M VHB Tapes were first used for bonding panels to the frames of ambulances, replacing screws, rivets and welds.

Rather than attaching two parts or components at a single point or a series of points, the high-strength bonding tape technology works by distributing the stress load across the entire area of the joint. The tapes are able to join a variety of materials including aluminum, steel, glass, plastics and painted and powder-coated surfaces, bonding just about anything you can think of.

Today, the technology performs the same function as it did with its introduction 40 years ago. However, it has since been adapted and innovated upon to serve as a bonding solution to products in a wide variety of industries, including those that create products that are relevant, and sometimes essential, to our newly pandemic-driven lifestyles.

This includes use in smart phones, in which a thin version of the technology provides design flexibility in the devices that allow us to conduct remote actions from banking to communicating with loved ones we can’t physically be in contact with. It provides a powerful bond in appliances that are seeing a lot more use as we spend more time in our homes, including washing machines and robotic vacuum cleaners. The tapes also serve as an adhesive in trailers and RVs, withstanding extreme heat and cold, vibration, galvanic corrosion, moisture and UV light as many travelers take to the open road for trips as an alternative to flying.

“3M™ VHB™ Tape provides a great example of how products can be adapted over time for new applications and materials that didn’t exist when it was introduced 40 years ago,” said Nicole Reilly, global product manager at 3M.  “The core pillars of 3M's vision statement is to enhance every home and improve every life.  Our engineers have built upon 3M’s flagship line and expanded its capabilities to adapt to our ever-changing world and make this vision a reality.”

For over four decades, 3M VHB Tapes have worked quietly in the background to bond together a number of commonly used products. As our world continues to change in these uncertain times, we are reminded that continual innovation in lasting, proven technology allows us to adapt and change with it.

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