Sealant Manufacturers produce chemicals and sealants that are used to bind substances, typically joining surfaces together in a functional manner. The products are used across a number of industries including construction, automotive and manufacturing and the range of applications and environments is diverse. As well as being a vital part of many projects, the use of good quality sealants can help reduce maintenance costs and extend the life of a structure.
Choosing the right sealant for a particular project involves more than just considering the physical and chemical characteristics of available materials. The substrates to be sealed, the joint design, the performance expectations and production requirements must also all be considered carefully. In order to make a proper selection, it is often useful to consult the results of accelerated testing performed on different sealant formulations against specific loading and environmental conditions.
Many factors can affect the selection of a sealant for a particular application, from its viscosity and elasticity to its hardness and water resistance. In addition, a sealant may need to be compatible with a particular environment or it may have to meet special end-use requirements such as USDA or FDA acceptance in food processing installations or fire-resistance properties for housing construction. Other factors such as its chemical compatibility and toxicity, whether it is soluble in solvents, its ease of use, and its speed of curing are also important considerations.
Adhesive and sealant manufacturers are faced with the challenges of finding enough raw materials during the pandemic, which has caused disruption to supply chains, and the increased cost of petrochemicals used in manufacture. Nevertheless, the demand remains high for their chemicals. Adhesives and sealants are widely used in auto applications, office equipment and the healthcare industry among other sectors.
The most important raw material for sealant manufacturers is polymer. These are mixed with other ingredients to create a variety of formulas. For example, silicone sealants are formulated with polyurethane or acrylic polymers. The resulting mix is then ready for distribution to customers who will use it in their projects.
Once a sealant has been applied, it will need to cure quickly and completely in order to be effective. This can be achieved using catalytic primers, two-component systems or by providing a controlled environment. For some types of sealants such as silicones, urethanes and polysulfides, the diffusion of atmospheric moisture and oxygen into the center of the sealant bead is required for full curing.
Wastewater from the coating, adhesive and sealant manufacturing process can be a significant problem for facilities and require extensive pre-treatment in order to comply with implemented guidelines and avoid environmental pollution. Various contaminants can be found in the wastewater, such as Total Suspended Solids (TSS), oil and grease, complex heavy metals and Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD). This is where ultra-filtration is particularly beneficial for the industry, as it offers a reliable means of eliminating these pollutants. This frees up valuable operating time and makes the production process more efficient.