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RMRDC using manpower to produce adhesives, save Nigeria over … – Blueprint Newspapers Limited

Study has revealed that, in June 2018, Nigeria imported adhesives worth $13,291,000 which accounted for 0.02% of total imports and 142.65 per cent growth rate over the past 5 years. This drew the attention of the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) to constitute a team of experts to research into adhesives production for the nation’s industrial sector. BINTA SHAMA reports.
 Uses of adhesives
Adhesives are used for joining polymeric materials by adhesion. Presently, there are two types of adhesives. These are natural and synthetic adhesives. The primary function of a good adhesive is to adhere to the surfaces, develop strength after it has been applied and remain stable overtime. Adhesion refers to the interaction of the adhesive surface with the substrate surface, and it involves two dissimilar bodies being held in intimate contact such that mechanical force or work can be transferred across the interface.
Several theories explain the adhesion process. These include van der Waals forces, chemical bonding or electrostatic attraction. On the other hand, the mechanical strength of the system depends not only on the interfacial forces but also on the mechanical properties of the interfacial area, as well as the two bulk phases.
Adhesives are mainly used in the construction industry, most especially, in floor tiles and continuous flooring installations, ceramic tiles installation, countertop lamination, manufacture of prefabricated beams and trusses, carpet and flooring underlaying, installation of prefinished panels, joint cements, drywall lamination and covering installations. Consumer adhesives are used in model and hobby supplies, decorative films, school and stationery products. Another important area of adhesives application is the packaging industry. These are in carton-side seam and closures, composite bonding of disposable products, bags, labels, cups, cigarette and filter manufacture, specialty packages in cosmetics, toiletries, composite containers and tubes. Adhesives are also used in the tapes production for production of packaging industrial, surgical, masking, and consumer tapes and in the auto, truck and bus assemblies, weather-strip and gasket bonding, aircraft and aerospace structural assemblies. It is also extensively used in the furniture industry for the manufacture of millworks, doors, kitchen cabinets and vanitories, appliance assembly and trim attachment. Other areas where they are used extensively are in the TV, radio and electronics assembly and machinery manufacture and in the assembly of non-rigid bonding products such as in apparel laminates, shoe assembly, sports equipment, book binding, rug backing, flock cements, air and liquid filter manufacture, etc. Apart from these, adhesives are also used in the healthcare sector where they have broad applications in dentistry, medical and pharmaceutical fields.
Raw materials for adhesives production
The raw materials used for adhesives production are mainly polymeric materials. Taking into consideration the costs, natural products such as starch, dextrin, casein, naturally gum are important, however, synthetic ones have largely taken over the adhesive industry, both as modifiers of natural materials and more importantly, as high-strength, moisture-resistant additives capable of being produced in many readily usable forms.
Among the key factors influencing the evolution of adhesives are globalization, advancement in technological processes and governmental regulations worldwide with respect to the usage of non- volatile adhesives including epoxies, cyanoacrylates and urethanes, to the detriment of solvent-based adhesives. Nowadays, the focus of research and development is not only on the production of high- quality adhesives using modern technologies such as nanotechnology; but also on the production of eco-friendly, green adhesives. Thus, adhesives and sealants manufacturers counted on proactive research and development to keep them a step ahead of environmental regulators and market demands. Among the challenges faced by major adhesives producers globally are regulations aimed at reducing volatile organic compound emissions and bolstering pollution prevention measures. In addition, the current advances in adhesives production tends to eliminate the use of primers in adhesive systems because of their flammability and volatility.
However, such demands present difficulties in getting the right adhesion to certain materials. Physical and chemical changes can be made to the surface of these materials, but the focus is to make adhesives and sealants that will incorporate the function of a primer. Environmental mandates on chlorofluorocarbons, volatile organic compound emission standards, and other ecological considerations are forcing adhesive formulators to nudge solvents out of their products and find alternatives. Thus, research has continued on meeting high-performance parameters such as water resistance, durability, and humidity resistance without using such solvents.
Demand for adhesives in Nigeria
The demand for adhesives in Nigeria for various uses in the manufacturing sector is quite enormous. Large percentage of the nation’s adhesives need is met through importation, whereas domestic production accounted for only about 3% of the total supply. As at June 2018, Nigeria imported adhesives worth US$13,291,000 which accounted for 0.02% of total imports and 142.65 growth rate over the past 5 years. It has been estimated that the nation’s demand for various forms of adhesives is about 350,000 metric tonnes per annum. Presently, there are some companies producing adhesives in Nigeria and more than 6,000 companies are into importation and distribution. As most adhesives are used in the industrial sector, as capacity utilization in the sector increases, the demand for adhesives will also increase. The global growth of production and consumption of adhesives and sealants is determined by a multiplicity of factors: Firstly, by the broad range of their applications in various industrial branches and, secondly, by the increasing level of the requirements specified by new potential consumers. From the report by the Global Industry Analysts International at the end of 2019, innovations and the global market of adhesives and sealants were dominated by adhesives with a share of 75% and the remaining accruing to sealants. The fraction of adhesives is forecasted to reach $49 billion in value by the end of 2021.
RMRDC initiatives
The Council’s incursion into research and development of adhesives locally is premised on the need to develop different types of adhesives for the nation’s industrial sector, most especially, the construction, furniture, pharmaceutical and the paper industry. Our starting point is the paper Industry, most especially, adhesives used in the envelope industry. The imported adhesives being used in the industry was reported not to be adhering to the surface of the substrate, leading to low tack and wettability of the envelope. This made the envelop manufacturing sub-sector of pulp and paper manufacturing sector of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) to request the Council to provide technical expertise to solve the challenges by producing suitable adhesive with right specifications for the industry. As a result of this, the Council constituted a team of experts which was made of members of staff from the Council, SHESTCO and the envelope producing subsector of MAN.
The objective of the project was to produce various types of adhesives useful in the Nigerian paper industry from readily available raw materials. The adhesives expected to be produced were to be of better quality than the imported ones currently being used in the industry which have water content of about 30%. The research team first identified the adhesives need of the industry as seam gum, flap gum (remoistenables, peal-seal) and self-seal glassine gum. The efforts of the team were focused on compositions/formulations for remoistenable and peal seal adhesives. It is important to state categorically that clear gum and white gum adhesives produced and trial runs done in the industry. Several formulations were tried by the research team until two successful formulations were developed. The productions have been tested at commercial scale and envelopes produced passed all standard quality tests. The research work has been completed and the Council has commenced the patenting of the project.
The raw materials used for clear gum production were polyvinyl alcohol (partially hydrolysed), sodium benzoate, 2-ethyl hexanol and water, while for the white adhesives it requires polyvinyl alcohol (partially hydrolysed), vinyl acetate homolpolymer, sodium benzoate and 2-ethyl hexanol were used. The raw materials used for the production of peal-seal adhesives were natural rubber and acrylic emulsion which are used as binders, terpene resin and phenolic resin used as tackifiers, and tri butyl phthalate Solvent- toluene, TBP was used as plasticizers and Ammonia solution used as stabilizer. These raw materials are readily available in the market, although they are still largely imported. However, research efforts are on to substitute them with locally available or produced materials such as starch, resins, etc. The production process for these adhesives are simple. It involves a chemical reaction during which an appropriate quantities of caustic soda, hydrochcloric acid, calcium chloride and organic acids are added for proper dissolution. The process involves the gelatinization of the base material, starch, in the reactor using caustic soda followed by the acidification of the gelatinized starch to normalize the pH.
An extraction of RMRDC Projects (2017-2020) Concept, implementation Strategy and Future Outlook

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