What do presentation folders and folding cartons have in common? These products all count on glue to convert them from flat, printed pieces into finished products. They're also susceptible to glue-induced problems such as warping or insufficient adhesion. These unsightly issues not only compromise the quality and functionality of your finished products, but they can hurt the appeal and perception of your brand or that of your client.
Before you swear off glue forever, recognize that proper attention and advance communication can ward off most gluing problems before they do brand damage. Let's review a few tricks and traps of gluing.
Gather Usage Requirements
The 'who, what and where' of your application's usage will often drive your choice of materials and processes. Start your requirement gathering by answering a few short questions, such as:
- Who will use the product? How and where will it be used? - Different users handle pieces very differently. For example, a two-pocket portfolio designed for fourth graders may require more durable, child-safe adhesives and larger glue tabs than a similar product that will be used by executives in a board meeting.
- If it includes pockets, what will they contain? - Heavy materials such as bound books, CDs and DVDs may call for a capacity pocket. Display applications such as counter cards may benefit from an attached holder rather than one formed from the display substrate.
- How long will the piece be in use? - Strength and durability are a priority for extended-use applications. This is particularly important for easel-backed and self-standing displays.
Time vs. Moisture: Gluing's Eternal Battle
Moisture is everywhere: in the atmosphere, in paper, in coatings and especially in adhesives. Prior to application, graphic arts adhesives contain approximately 60% water, most of which must dissipate before the glue is fully cured. But without sufficient time to dry, the effects of excess moisture can wreak havoc on your projects by warping and puckering glued areas, or allowing excess glue to seep onto nearby products.
Here are two ways to avoid a sticky mess and win gluing's eternal battle:
- Select the right application method - Controlling moisture often involves controlling the amount of glue. Choose a finisher that offers both spot and continuous-line application methods to match your specific requirements.
- Schedule sufficient curing time - Glue curing rates can vary widely based on many factors. Let your finisher help you account for all of them by building sufficient curing time into your production schedule.
Nuts and Bolts: Gluing Design and Layout Tips
- Keep all glued surfaces free of inks, coatings and varnishes. Any of these elements can compromise adhesion.
- Choose paper stocks carefully for your application. Some paper coatings resist glue penetration, causing glue surfaces to pull apart. A stock that's too light can tear inadvertently.
The Apex Die Advantage
Apex Die has the expertise and capabilities to handle all of your gluing needs. Our multiple high-speed folding/gluing machines offer fast turnarounds and outstanding quality on standard or capacity pockets, presentation folders, production packaging, boxes, media holders, POP displays and more. Give us a call today to see how Apex Die can help you exceed the expectations of your customers and end users.