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.
Monday, February 22, 2010
It is not difficult to load very liquid materials into a standard bulk gun. The biggest issue is that once loaded, removing the tool from the pail quickly enough to minimize material loss results in a mess.
Loading low viscosity sealants and adhesives, often referred to as self-leveling or pour grade, can be almost like loading water into a dispensing tool. Fortunately, many of these products can be loaded directly through the gun nozzle. The front cap and nozzle do not need to be removed from the gun for loading. The benefits of loading through the nozzle are that the gun can be loaded more quickly and with less mess.
The smaller the nozzle diameter, the harder it will be to draw the material in. However, smaller diameters make it easier to keep the material inside the tool. A conscientious mechanic will find the ideal balance between the two. In our experience, smaller is better. The diameter of the nozzle does not need to be closely matched to the joint width as with non-sag sealants because tooling is usually not necessary.
Albion also builds Push-Pull tools. These are bulk guns without a drive system. You simply pull the rod back to load the tool, and push the rod to dispense. Some contractors find this quicker and easier for large jobs using self leveling material.
Mixing Two (or more) Component Sealants Efficiently
At the World of Concrete trade show, Albion provided live demonstrations showing some of the tricks to the trade. A helpful trick which we want to share is how to keep a pail from rotating when mixing color packs or two component urethane kits.
Using an Albion #381 series Catalyst Mixer and a 1/2" drill insures a good mix. See the photograph, by using a RAG KNOTTED AROUND THE PAIL HANDLE AND STANDING ON IT you stabilize the pail. This is a simple and quite reliable method used by many professionals in the field. It ensures a proper mix and cuts down on mess.
Most material manufacturers want to insure the material is thoroughly mixed, especially when mixing two component urethane material. We have heard customers encouraged to look for dents on the outside of the metal pail caused by the edge of the mixing blade to insure the mix is complete. From a tool manufacturer's perspective, we want you to be careful not to puncture the pail. The edges of the Albion mixing head are rounded to minimize denting and reduce the risk of puncturing the pail. It is more effective to follow the sealant manufacturer's recommendation for mix time - typically 3 to 6 minutes - but read the pail or spec sheet to be sure.
Sausages Part III: The mess!!!
Simply put, you have to take care of your tool when dealing with material packaged in a sausage. We have found that it is easier for someone who deals with bulk material (material packaged in a 5 gallon pail) to convert to sausages then it is for someone who deals with cartridges. Why? Because a bulk gun user is used to dealing with exposed material and the issues associated with not keeping your tool clean....while a cartridge user simply cuts the tip of the cartridge and pumps.
Material packaged in sausages expose you to the material; the nozzle, for one, is full of the material. You need to develop a technique to deal with spent sausages so that you don't get the left over material all over.
A couple of things to remember:
1. Sealant hardens when a solvent evaporates. Find out what that solvent is, purchase some, and use that solvent to clean up the tool and/or any mess you have. Keep in mind this solvent is very aggressive; handle it properly and be safe, and understand it could dissolve more then just your sealant. For example, if you are cleaning something that is painted, it could dissolve the sealant and the paint.
2. Always load the tool before opening the end.
3. If sealant or adhesive gets inside the barrel of the tool, clean it immediately. If you reload the tool with a new sausage over the sealant, when you start pumping the tool the sausage will become pressurized and the skin will be forced up against the sealant... bonding it to the barrel. It will force the piston to act like your ice scraper when scrapping ice off your windshield on a cold winters day, or peeling a label off that simply doesn't want to come off. All it does is cause problems.
4. Damaged pistons MUST BE REPLACED IMMEDIATELY. If a piston is damaged due to any kind of issue it will then have a harder time pulling the sausage skin off the barrel of the tool. It is far easier and it will save you more time to simply replace a questionable piston before the problems happen than to wait till a problem does happen.
5. Don't try to save the plastic nozzle, for hardened sealant in a nozzle could deform the beed and hurt the application.
Sausages Part II: The Go/No-Go Gauge
Albion provides material manufacturers a set of go and no/go gauges FREE OF CHARGE to insure that sausages are made consistently and will fit dispensing tools. The gauges are meant to provide a baseline. The two gauges check the diameter and the length of a sausage.
If there are issues with sausages that fit this gauge, then we can work to improve the process.
If there are issues with the gauges, please let us know and we will discuss them. Their purpose is to begin to establish a "STANDARD" to which all sausages for sealants and adhesives are manufactured to.
For more details on these gauges see the instruction sheet associated with the gauges on our web site HERE.