Adhesive and Sealant Applications & Tools

Experts in the tools used for specific applications. The tool may cost you very little, but it accounts for over 50% of the success in the application.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


HOT POT --- Cold Weather means thick thick sealant

Winter hit the east coast this week, the upper west and Midwest almost a month ago. Sealants packaged in cartridges, sausages, or in 5 gallon pails stored in a cold warehouse or trailer or even the back of your pickup truck gets really thick. Some people warm the sealant up by putting it next to their car heaters or even on top of their engines. Some build their own heat chests with light bulbs, and some simply bring the material inside.

Energy In = Energy Out

This is a simple Engineering heat transfer equation. The body which is losing the heat (right side of the equal sign) and the body or bodys surrounding it that are gaining the heat (left side of the equal sign). Add to that equation different types of material, depending on their heat transfer coeffecient, absorb or discharge heat at different rates. A great example of how slow or quick heat is transferred take a hotplate after cooking and see how long it takes to cool down.... then put it in the sink and spray water over it. The water absorbs the heat from the hotplate faster then the air surrounding the hotplate.

Now take sealant which is thick and massive. How long do you think it will take to warm up the middle of a cartridge, sausage, and especially a 5 gallon pail of sealant? So, it will take either a long time or a significant amount of heat.

If you have been around the sealant world for maybe 25 years you will remember the "Tremco" heat chests. They were quite popular, and if you still have one you end up guarding it with your life. Over the years Albion has been supplying heat chest kits which allowed contractors to rebuild the insides of these heat chests when the heating elements burned out. And for years we have been looking for a chest like the old Tremco heat chest so we could economically build heat chests.

Before I tell you why this is so important to the sealant contractor, I want to acknowledge the contractor who brought to us the missing link. Philip Porter of the Masonry Preservation Group showed us how he used our heat chest kit to build his own heat chest.....he put it in a drum. Drum's are low cost readily available and perfect for a heat chest.

"Hot Pot" is an Albion heat chest kit in a drum.

Why is this so important? The "Hot Pot" and the old Tremco Heat chest heated the air inside the chest to 150 deg F..... now that is hot....and there is significant heat transferring to the sealant. Both units have lids, you open the lid take out your cartridge and close the lid and what happens? A good portion of the heat is lost. There is a thermostat inside the unit which causes rapid heating of the air inside.

The "Hot Pot" and the old Tremco heat chests are essentially one in the same. Same elements, and nearly the same capacity. They hold at least a case of cartridges, or sausages. The "Hot Pot" can also hold a 5 gallon pail of sealant, but 5 gallons of sealant is really thick and it will take a LONG time to get the heat to the middle of the sealant. You will also have to take the pail out of the "Hot Pot" to apply the sealant.

So, if you use your car heater or light bulbs in a box you and it really isn't as productive as you like then maybe this is a solution worth considering.

The "Hot Pot" is readily available at Albion distributors....

For more information see our website - Go directly to the sell sheet ---

And thank you, Philip Porter of the Masonry Preservation Group, for sharing how you solved a problem.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009


Application Example using Bulk Material

This is a quick video showing the insertion of backer rod, loading a bulk gun, and applying the sealant. Note:
1. The backer rod tool places the backer rod at a fixed depth and inserts the backer rod quickly. (This is a bit of an ideal joint, most joints are not a fixed width with nice edges, but this tool does improve the installation of backer rod.)
2. Putting a slight film of oil will help keep the material from sticking to the outside of the barrel.
3. Cordless provides a smooth continuous flow of material. (This applicator is running the tool a bit on the slow side, he could easily have doubled his speed. I guess that is the difference between an Engineer and someone who seals joints for a living.... the Engineer is too careful and slow.)

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Barrels – So what? Does it really make a difference?

It all depends on what you want to achieve with your tool. Consider:
1. How much do you use the tool? Is it something you make a living with or is it something you use only use on occasion?
2. What type of material are you dispensing; Is it sticky, thick, thin… those types of characteristics play a part.
3. The material packaging you are dealing with; Is it packaged in pails or is it in foil skin (sausage) form?
Some of the benefits of each barrel:

Steel Barrel:
• Durable barrel, ideal for construction environments. Heavy loads can be placed on top of the barrel and it won’t deform or dent. (But, if a barrel does dent see below for how to remove a dent.)
• Will hold true round shape over the entire length of the barrel. This improves the piston’s ability to function and consistent dispensing through the entire length of the barrel.
• Easy to clean. With a steel barrel you can use the 800-G01 or 800-G02 Barrel brush to clean the inside surface of the barrel. A clean barrel improves the piston’s ability to function and increases its life.

Steel Barrel w/Teflon Inside Coating:
• Same strength benefits of a steel barrel
• Surface coating reduces friction between the barrel and piston making it easier to dispense.
• Nonstick surface makes it easy and quick to clean. Flush the tool with solvents and run a rag through the barrel. You cannot use an 800-G01 or -G02 barrel brush. The brush will remove the Teflon surface. If the Teflon surface is removed… the barrel can be used as regular a Steel Barrel.

Aluminum Barrel:
• Lighter in weight, generally assembled on lower cost tools.
• Better for sausage or low volume bulk use.
• Won’t rust.
• Be careful for the barrel is easy to dent, you can squeeze the barrel with your hand and possibly change the shape making it more difficult for successful dispensing.
• Most aluminum barrels are extruded and therefore there are slight changes in the shape of the barrel over the length of the barrel, causing the piston to work harder.

Clear Plastic Barrel:
• Great visual of material being dispensed.
• Like the Aluminum Barrel the barrel is extruded. The diameter can be inconsistent over the length of the barrel. This makes it difficult for the piston to function correctly through the entire length of the barrel.
• Brittle, will crack when dropped or crushed.
• Difficult to clean if material is sticky.
• Solvents in the material or for cleaning can soften the barrel surface or make it more brittle. (Simple yellowing of the barrel tells us the barrel structure has been changed.)
So, does this help you select and/or understand the background in steel, aluminum, and plastic barrels.

Engineering Tid-Bit: Fixing a Dented Barrel
When a barrel is dented and you can see the dent on the inside of the barrel it causes premature wear on the piston and ultimately material will tend to blow past the piston. To fix a dent like that get a round steel rod long enough to fit inside the gun barrel, maybe 1” in diameter. Secure the steel bar in a vice and slide the barrel on the steel rod to where the dent is in contact with the steel rod. Then take a hammer an tap the outside of the barrel around the dent. The steel rod will flatten the dent on the inside of the barrel and make the barrel as good as new.
You can fix dents in the threaded area also this way. It works on steel and aluminum barrels.

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Saturday, December 12, 2009


Teflon® Industrial Coating improves Bulk Gun Dispensing

We have discussed loading a Bulk if the inside of the barrel was coated with Teflon® what would happen? Material won't stick to the barrel and it would remain cleaner and be easier to clean.... AND it would be reduce the friction between the piston and the barrel which
A. Makes it easier to load.
B. Makes it easier to dispense and also dispense a smooth long bead of sealant. Think about it, the hand is a pump so every time you go to grab a new grip with the trigger you create a divot and glob in your bead. Well with the smooth rod and barrels with Teflon® industrial coating it is easier to reduce the divot.

At the World of Concrete last year we had an outside booth where Albion and a number of material manufacturers (Sika, Tremco, Pecora, and BASF) did live demonstrations with Teflon® coated Bulk Guns. My Engineering team who assisted and worked that booth had to clean the guns every night. Their response after dispensing ALL day was..... boy, does Teflon® coated ID barrels make a big difference!

Maybe we will see you this year at the World of Concrete. If so, make sure you visit our outside booth and see how easy it is to dispense material using a bulk gun.

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Sunday, December 6, 2009


Loading a Bulk Caulk Gun takes Finesse

Many people who pick up a bulk gun for the first time get frustrated.  Why?  Because it is messy and it requires some practice. So, what are the keys to successful bulk caulk  loading and dispensing?
1. Work to keep the process clean. Always have solvent and rags handy to clean the gun.  Generally, the material manufacturers publish their solvent recommendation for clean up in their Spec Data or Technical Data Sheet (TDS).

2. Don't try to load the gun through the nozzle, unless it is a thin self-leveling sealant. Always remove the nozzle and cap. Load the open barrel end of the tool.

3. Always make sure your tool is producing adequate vacuum. Quick test: Place your palm flat across the front of the barrel and pull the rod back. Your palm should seal against the barrel and you should feel a strong pull. To insure proper vacuum we recommend that:

  • The inside of the barrel be clean of all sealant film and lightly oiled. With our steel barrel tools you can ream out the inside of the barrel with our 800-G01 Barrel Brush. Don't use a brush on Teflon® coated barrels. With Teflon® coated barrels simply add solvents to the inside of the barrel and flush out with the piston - run it up and down the barrel briskly. Wet or hardened sealant should peel off.  Same with aluminum barrel guns;  No brass bristle brushing.
  • The pistons be clean and not damaged. Our bulk tools are built with leather pistons. Take the pistons out, clean them with solvent and soak them in standard automotive motor oil.  Leather pistons are like your skin.  They will dry out when exposed to solvents (including water!) so "moisturize" them in oil like you do with hand lotion until they become soft and flexible. Once the pistons are saturated and clean reload them into the tool. Some tools have synthetic (Teflon or plastic) pistons, with those all you can do is make sure the edges are not damaged.

4. Prep the pail.

  • Many (Poly)Urethane & Silicone sealants are moisture curing.  They react with moisture in the air to cure to a rubbery state. What happens then is during the time your pail is open to the atmosphere the top surface of the material can cure or skin over.    Use a Follow Plate or Skim Plate to reduce the air exposure. When placing a plate on the sealant start with an edge, press it down into the sealant and carefully flatten the plate on the sealant. What you want to do is purge all the air out from between the follow plate and the sealant.

5. Loading the tool: There are several popular techniques for filling the gun. Direct loading, using an Albion 33-10 Loading Sleeve (with or without a Skim Plate) or a Follow Plate. I will touch on each process.

  • Direct Loading: This is how most professionals load their tools. First apply a bond breaker (solvent, WD-40, cooking spray, etc.) to the threads on the barrel end to make cleanup easier.  Then plunge the end of the barrel into the sealant a good inch, making sure the sealant is contacting all the way around the sides of the barrel. Then you pull the rod back gently and you feel the vacuum pull the sealant into the barrel. Develop a feel for the resistance as you pull the rod back.  Watch out for air getting past the barrel and into the gun.  Sink the barrel deeper into the pail as the material level drops. Once the gun is loaded, pull the barrel out and wipe the barrel clean before replacing the cap on the barrel.

  • 33-10 Loading Sleeve:  By using a loading sleeve, you cover the barrel surface with the sleeve and keep the mess on the sleeve. This surely helps keep the gun clean and speeds up the process.

  • Follow Plate: You should consider using this with Silicone based material as explained in the above. To load the gun, you screw the gun onto the follow plate. Now the follow plate and gun are one, push down with the gun and pull the rod back. This pushes and pulls the material up into the gun. Note: Albion guns screw onto the follow plate; this provides you with better control when loading. Some follow plates have o-ring seals and slip on. This takes more talent for you have less control, you can’t torque the follow plate side to side slightly to insure the material on the outside moves appropriately to the center.

Not that you have loaded your tool, put the cap and nozzle on the tool and apply your sealant…. That is the easy part. Repeat this process over and over again, I promise if you do it enough times you will get good at it and become quite effective. It takes finesse. Keep your tool clean, don’t get frustrated, and visit our website if you need more help.

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