Disbonding comes of age

Assembly Automation

ISSN: 0144-5154

Article publication date: 1 December 2002



Loughlin, C. (2002), "Disbonding comes of age", Assembly Automation, Vol. 22 No. 4. https://doi.org/10.1108/aa.2002.03322daa.001



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2002, MCB UP Limited

Disbonding comes of age

Disbonding comes of age

About two-and-a-half years ago in my Editorial for AA 20:2, I mused how wonderful it would be if, with a view to disassembly and recycling, we had glues that could be triggered in someway to “un-glue”.

Little did I know at the time, but EIC Laboratories Inc. (www.eiclabs.com) were thinking along similar lines following a request from the US Air force. Their ElectRelease, electrically disbonding epoxy adhesive, is just the sort of thing I was imagining – only better. The properties of ElectRelease are described in some detail in our article by Don Haydon.

The potential applications for such a product are tremendous and I expect to see significant applications in the automotive and white goods industries as recycling becomes a manufacturer’s responsibility. Imagine the benefits of being able to push a switch and have a car fall to bits and the easy separation of metals and plastics that would ensue.

Those worried about the same thing happening when they are doing 80 in the outside lane of a motorway need not be concerned. Simple shorting links can be used to make premature disbonding impossible. Those not fully reassured by this statement can take heart in the knowledge that applications of the material on aircraft withstand lightening strikes.

Simple talk

Our theme for this issue is “Parts Feeding” and we have visited this area of technology several times before. Although much good practical work has and is being done in this field I have always had the feeling that we were just tinkering on the edges. Refining techniques here and there, and making small incremental improvements in the way we move parts around in our factories and present them to automated machines.

What we need is a revolutionary concept, and it might just be that “CADML”, which is introduced by our Guest Specialist Professor Ken Goldberg in his viewpoint, is a good candidate – at least for further discussion.

The problem with parts is that they are all different. Our world of high-tech wizardry and labour saving devices is made up of millions of different components. Even the same components are different, once you start taking manufacturing variations into account.

In everyday communication, we use a fairly limited number (e.g. 10,000) of different words to describe a whole gamut of different objects and feelings. Indeed it could be argued that by using a restricted number of words, we actually make it easier to communicate, as both parties are more likely to understand each other. Computer languages are another example of where less is more, with “easier” languages such as Basic and Reduced Instruction Set (RISC) microprocessors gaining popularity at the expense of their more verbose competitors.

If we can develop a common language for describing parts and how they can be handled then I consider that we have the potential for some seriously significant advances in parts feeding.

Clive Loughlin

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