Product Family of the Month: AFTC Acrylic Foam Tapes

Posted by H-O Products Corporation on Jan 13th 2022

Product Family of the Month:  AFTC Acrylic Foam Tapes

The AFTC family of acrylic foam tapes are our most versatile, highest performing pressure sensitive mounting tapes. These tapes are designed to replace liquid adhesives and mechanical fasteners such as screws, rivets, nails, bolts and in some cases, even weldments.

These acrylic foam tapes come in the full range of thicknesses from 6 mils to 118 mils standard (.006” to .118”) and are available in grey, clear, white and black. The adhesive options range from standard general purpose acrylic adhesives to low surface energy, heat activated and even now a special low temperature application adhesive. 

All AFTC acrylic foam tapes are produced with a solid acrylic core utilizing glass microsphere technology. As a result, all these products are closed cell which provides not just un-matched bonding power, but all can be used as a sealing agent from wind and moisture. AFTC’s acrylic adhesive technology provides very high peel, tensile, shear and elongation strength. The acrylic core has a unique quality called “viscoelasticity”, meaning it is extremely elastic and can conform to rough or irregular surfaces, while retaining its great tensile strength.

Coated Products

The coated products, which we call “coated direct” are made with a solvent based acrylic adhesive, double coated on the acrylic foam core. The thin layer of acrylic adhesive gives these tapes enhanced performance capabilities as well as the ability to bond to a wider range of substrates. The coated AFTC products include the following series:

1. General Purpose Series

This family of tapes is the most popular as they offer a strong bonding general purpose acrylic adhesive coated on both sides of the acrylic foam core. The advantages of having this coating include providing a much better “quick stick” (tack) and higher peel strength for a very wide range of substrates. Examples of applications for the General Purpose tapes include applying aluminum “skins” to trailer bodies, bonding muntin bars to glass for SDL (simulated divided light) windows & doors, attaching electronic signage to steel pallet racking, mounting junction boxes to solar panels and many, many more mounting/assembly applications.

2. Structural Glazing and Structural Cladding Series

These tapes are designed for the extremely demanding requirements of structural glazing and structural cladding. In both cases, this tape is used in lieu of structural silicones, so it must withstand all of the many stresses and forces of any structural load in glazing and cladding applications. These tapes offer the highest tensile, elongation, shear and peel values, along with excellent longevity. For use where “zero sightlines” or very clean glazing lines are required, or for holding structural spandrel/composite panels in curtain wall glazing, these are the right tapes to choose.

3. Low Surface Energy Series

This family of tapes has an excellent low surface energy (LSE) acrylic adhesive coated on both sides of the acrylic foam core. This adhesive system enables mounting to LSE substrates, such as certain powder coated aluminums, HDPE and other similar surfaces. 

Examples of applications of LSE tapes include bonding to certain automotive finishes (ex. Kynar), powder coated aluminum stiffeners to composite panels, bonding painted trim to commercial storefronts, commercial doors and windows.

4. Low Temperature Series

These tapes are used in applications where the tape must be applied in a low temperature environment. AFTC’s Low Temperature products were developed on the same platform as AFTC’s General Purpose coated line. However, a very aggressive specially formulated modified acrylic PSA coating has been used where it provides the end user with the flexibility of being able to mount and or bond in cold ambient conditions (limited) at around 30°F. The Low Temperature line offers better quick stick properties with very good peel values while maintaining strong shear and tensile. These tapes will bond to most high and some medium surface energy substrates making the AFTC Low Temperature line one of our most versatile product lines.

Typical applications for Low Temperature tapes include trailer assembly, signage, POP (point of purchase displays), refrigerated and freezer section signage or outdoor signs. This family of tapes can be used in almost any application in “colder” weather, down to about 30°F. By contrast, most pressure sensitive adhesives will not bond well below 50°F.

5. Ultra Thin Series

When a very thin profile is needed (or required), the AFTC Coated Ultra Thin line is the perfect option. This line of products provides materials starting at 6 mils (0.006") and is presently offered in both our coated and uncoated acrylic core products.

Typical applications for the AFTC Ultra Thin Tapes include: electronics, cell phones, tablets, laptop computers, monitors, gaming monitors, signage, or any application where a thin profile is needed.

6. Automotive Series

These tapes are used primarily on the exterior of the vehicle. These are the tapes to use when the surfaces to be bonded are on painted and clear coated surfaces, as these products provide the strongest bonds. With certain finishes (ex. Kynar) an LSE adhesive will be required (see Low Surface Energy Series above). 

Typical applications for the Coated Automotive Tape series include: Roof ditch moldings, body side moldings, satellite antenna mounting and spoiler mounting.

7. Heat Activated (HA) Series

These tapes are typically used in automotive applications where ultimate bond strength is required. The tape is heated during the application process, creating a “weld-like” bond between the surfaces being bonded. The Coated Heat Activated Tape line from AFTC is one our most unique lines of acrylic foam tapes. On the unwind/exposed side, this tape offers a specially formulated hotmelt adhesive that has no adhesive properties at ambient temps. However, when heat is applied, this tape activates and bonds to the traditionally difficult substrate, EPDM sponge rubber, otherwise known as Santoprene®. The liner side offers a variety of AFTC’s proven acrylic foam tape coated acrylic adhesive systems allowing the end user to stick to virtually any substrate. 

Typical applications for HA tapes include weatherstripping or seals in the automotive, RV, truck or marine applications. 

Uncoated Products

The acrylic core by itself is what we call a “direct foam” tape, i.e. it is just the acrylic foam alone, without any additional adhesive coating, essentially a mass of acrylic adhesive. This product is very advantageous in applications requiring very high shear strength, where medium or high surface energy substrates are to be bonded, such as stainless steel, anodized or mill finish aluminum, glass and clear plastics such as Lexan, or Plexiglass. The uncoated products include the following series:

1. Pre-Powdercoating Series

AFTC's Pre-Powdecoating tapes are high temperature resistant products that can withstand temperatures up to 500°F, and will also resist the chemical baths used in the powder coating process. These tapes may be applied to bare metal prior to the powder coating process, should be used when that finish coated product will then be bonded to bare metal, glass or clear plastics.

2. Removable Series

Designed to be removed without leaving any residue, i.e. to remove cleanly from the substrate, this tape should be used when an assembly needs to be taken apart after use. Typical applications for AFTC's Removable tapes include POP displays, changeable signage and trade show displays.

3. Transparent Series

These tapes are optically clear, so they are typically used in window, door and shower door applications where the end user does NOT want to see any adhesive. AFTC Transparent tapes are used for graphics applications such as POP displays, signage and construction applications where the “glue line” needs to be invisible, such as displays made from clear plastics, etc.

4. Ultra Thin Series

The Uncoated Ultra Thin tapes are designed to bond to bare metal, glass and clear plastic surfaces in applications such as LCD screens for monitors, cell phones, tablets, or any electronic device where a very thin profile tape is needed (or required).

5. Automotive Series

The Uncoated Automotive tapes are used primarily on the exterior of the vehicle. These are the tapes to use when the surfaces to be bonded are bare metal, glass or clear plastics, as these products provide the strongest bonds. Typical applications include: roof ditch moldings, body side moldings, satellite antenna mounting and spoiler mounting.

6. Heat Activated (HA) Series

These Uncoated Heat Activated tapes are most often used to create weather seals in the transportation and auto industries. The heat activated side is typically bonded to the weather seal material, often an extruded EPDM material, such as Santoprene™. The acrylic foam side will then bond to bare metal, glass or clear plastics.

Technical Data and Cross Reference Charts

Technical datasheets of all AFTC tapes can be found in our resource center. Click here to access our AFTC & 3M tapes technical comparison. In addition, the AFTC website offers application information and other useful technical references

Availability and Capabilities

H-O Products stocks many of these different varieties of AFTC tapes in house, and most others can be brought in within our standard 2 week lead time. All of these AFTC tapes can be provided in roll goods, slit to any width up to full web width.

We also offer full converting capabilities with these AFTC foam tapes. These tapes can be laminated in-house to various substrates, then slit to a finished width, or cut to a specific shape using one of our many cutting technologies, with a secondary release liner added in line. We also offer traditional steel rule die cutting, rotary cutting, water jet cutting, laser cutting, digital knife cutting and high speed milling as well.