We sat down with our Technical Service Chemist, Gabby Leeds, to learn more about the lab at RS Industrial:
1. How does the RSI lab benefit customers?
The lab is really used for three main functions: Quality Analysis, Product Recommendations, and R&D. With quality analysis, we are able to give peace of mind to the customer by not only preemptively dealing with quality issues, but being able to quickly respond and analyze any issues that arise at our customer’s locations. With product recommendations, the lab helps streamline the trialing process for our customer. We are able to do small scale testing in the lab rather than consume our customer’s valuable production hours. We test customer substrates with a variety of adhesives and can evaluate specific in process and end use conditions required by our customers to make the best possible recommendation. Our lab is also used for research and development, which helps RS Industrial offer the latest innovations in the adhesive market.
2. What are the most commonly requested tests performed in the lab?
Every customer is unique, and requires individual sets of testing; however, some of our most common tests analyze various end use conditions that our customer’s final products may encounter. Excessive heat, cold and tensile strength are some of the most common stresses that can cause an adhesive bond to fail. We put their final products through these stresses to ensure product integrity.
3. What is the most unique application the lab has encountered so far?
One of our most recent unique applications dealt with an outdoor adhesive for landscaping. This customer needed a water-based adhesive for ease of application, but required it to withstand very harsh outdoor conditions. Inside the lab, work was performed to alter adhesive formulations to take end use conditions and target costs into account. Field testing was actually conducted outdoors by the lab, so I guess you could say our lab was greatly expanded during those experiments!
4. Describe a customer’s success story using lab services
After an audit was conducted on-site by our technical analyst with a food packaging company, we were able to identify a line where we believed a premium adhesive could reduce their consumption and lower overall cost. Testing was conducted in the lab and a report was presented to the customer estimating a 25-30 percent reduction in overall adhesive consumption. When the customer agreed to trial the adhesive on their equipment, RS Industrial had technical staff present and we were able to confirm a 30 percent reduction in consumption and increased adhesion on their substrates.
5. Are there any trends that the lab encounters when dealing with customers?
A common trend that the lab sees is customers needing a supplier with the capability and resources to take their entire gluing process into account when supplying and recommending an adhesive. Many new customers approach RS Industrial after using inexpensive adhesives that end up driving their overall costs related to downtime, production speeds, spoilage rates and consumption way higher than imagined costs. We focus on total gluing cost and add value to our customers by ensuring we maintain product integrity while reducing the true unit cost per thousand.