Newsletter May 2014 - Harper/Love Adhesives

MAY 2014
wet strength requirements
By Lou Cuccia
oday’s corrugated industry deals with a mixture of wet
strength levels depending on the application of the
combined box. Wet strength needs range from humidity
changes to top ice. A commonly used term for all levels is
waterproof adhesive. What has to be determined first is
what level of wet strength an application really needs. The
industry can be broken down into three acceptable levels
of wet strength board: Moisture Resistant Adhesive (MRA),
Water Resistant Adhesive (WRA) and Water Proof Adhesive
How much wet strength do you really need?
A typical WPA starch will contain approximately 1.0
percent to 1.5 percent liquid resin relative to the liquid
volume of the adhesive. In a 300 gallon batch, you would
typically add 3 to 4.5 gallons of resin or 30 to 45 pounds.
A WPA doser addition rate for resin is 40 to 60 ounces for
a 30 gallon adhesive starch refill.
Moisture Resistant Adhesive (MRA)
The most widely used test method for WPA is TAPPI-812,
24-hour Soak Test or TAPPI-821, Dry Pin Adhesion Test
with a one-hour soak prior to testing. This is referred to
as a wet pin adhesion test. TAPPI is currently working on
a new standard test method for wet pin adhesion test for
corrugated board by selective separation and should be
completed this year.
MRA is used in lightweight applications where a minimum
amount of wet strength is required for storage or shipping.
In addition to adding the recommended amounts of resin,
you need to be aware of the process guidelines.
A typical MRA starch will contain approximately 0.5 to
0.75 percent liquid resin relative to the liquid volume of the
adhesive. In a 300 gallon batch, you would typically add 1.5
to 2.25 gallons of resin or 15 to 22.5 pounds. Doser units are
normally preset from the supplier and follow similar ratios.
A MRA doser addition rate for resin is 20 to 30 ounces for
a 30 gallon starch adhesive refill. There is no TAPPI test
for MRA board. Generally, a one-hour soak test using a
procedure similar to TAPPI method T-812 will be sufficient.
If the board doesn’t soak apart, the box meets the minimum
requirement level for MRA.
Water Resistant Adhesive (WRA)
WRA is used in medium to heavyweight applications
where small changes in humidity, certain food products or
slight exposure to moisture is possible.
A typical WRA starch will contain approximately 0.75 to
1.0 percent liquid resin relative to the liquid volume of the
adhesive. In a 300 gallon batch, you would typically add
2.25 to 3 gallons of resin or 22.5 to 30 pounds. A WRA doser
addition rate for resin is 30 to 40 ounces for a 30 gallon
adhesive starch refill.
The most widely used test method for WRA is TAPPI-812,
commonly referred to as the 24-hour soak test.
Water Proof Adhesive (WPA)
WPA is used in medium to heavyweight applications
where wax or a special waterproof coating is applied to
the box when exposure to moisture or humidity change
is imminent.
Katherine Hodges Harper
August 23, 1933 – May 3, 2014
We are saddened to relay
the news of Katherine
Harper’s passing. Mrs. Harper
was a woman of energy
and accomplishment; an
inspiration to her family and
her business associates.
During her career, she
served on, and led, many
boards and committees
in flexographic technical
associations, often as the first
woman to do so. She was
the first female chairman
of the Foundation of the
Flexographic Technical Association International Forum and
also the first female to chair an International Conference
for the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper
Industry. The Business Journal recognized her as Business
Woman of the Year in 1999.
Together with her life partner, Ron (1932-2012), she
embraced and nurtured ideals of vision, integrity, and
service. In 2007, Mr. and Mrs. Harper became the founding
sponsors of the FTA Technical Education Services Team
(TEST) program. They formed Harper/Love Adhesives as a
joint venture with N. B. Love, of Australia, in 1978.
wet strength requirements, continued
Guidelines for achieving wet strength testing for
WRA and WPA.
1. Prepare the WRA and WPA resins approved formulas
and check the finished batches to assure they meet
quality parameters.
2. Use freshly resinated adhesive.
3. Increase adhesive application rates to recommended
glue line widths to achieve the corresponding water
resistance levels:
Recommended glue line widths (inches)
As application rate is increased, the adhesive shoulders are
also increased which provides a barrier for the flute tip
against water penetration.
fiber tear will indicate the amount of penetration into
the paper. If there is little fiber tear, you have a surface
bond which will result in poor wet strength.
4. Use a high-solids adhesive formula (27 to 29 percent).
11. Allow the board to sit in stacks for a minimum of
2 to 4 hours. The longer the better as long as the
Use the minimum wraps/bridge content.
stacks remain warm and moist. Samples that are
not stack-cured will produce lower test numbers.
Paper liner temperatures are best around 180° F.
Extended heat and moisture in the stack provides an
Liners should be wrapped to drive moisture to glue line.
excellent environment for additional water resistance
Run at the highest speed possible.
5. Run moist glue lines off the corrugator (green bond).
6. 7. 8. 9. 12. Always pull multiple samples to be tested from the
10. The medium steam shower is crucial. We recommend
stack-cured unit about 18 inches down in the stack.
full steam shower with limited medium wrap. Dry
medium will not allow starch to penetrate into the
Harper/Love Adhesives Contributors:
fibers. While an overheated or over dried board may
Bill Gerard, Mgr. NE Region
exhibit no deterioration in dry bond strength, the wet
Lou Cuccia, Mgr. SE Region
strength can be dramatically diminished. The amount of
Pete Snyder, National Sales Representative
All resins are not created equal
By Rex Woodville-Price
oday the corrugated industry uses ketone aldehyde
resins, almost exclusively, to provide moisture resistance
to starch based adhesives. Using a good quality resin
is a critical step to ensure consistent and predictable
performance on the corrugator in order to produce boxes
with satisfactory wet resistance.
Ketone aldehyde resins are made by reacting acetone and
formaldehyde in a temperature controlled vessel called a
reactor. The reaction is very exothermic, meaning it gives off
heat, lots of heat in this case. Therefore, the reactor must
be cooled in order to keep the temperature in the desired
range and thus help control the rate of reaction. Vacuum
cooling is often employed because it quickly removes the
excess heat and also strips off some of the water, further
concentrating the resin.
Other chemicals are also included in the reaction; for
example, caustic soda can be employed as a catalyst to
make the reaction environment corrosive and promote the
polymerization of the monomers. That just means that we
Additional information on wet strength board testing is
available on our web site. Look for the newsletter link and
scroll to August 2009 or February 2004.
Wet strength testing
By Peter Snyder
orrugated boxes are used for a variety of packaging
needs, including ones that require the boxes to
withstand harsh environments. One of the more difficult
environments for corrugated boxes to survive is one that
exposes them to a variety of moisture levels, including
hydrocooling with icewater. (This hydrocooling technique is
used to chill quickly field-picked produce). The reason this
can be problematic is that the bonded substrates will absorb
water and the adhesive used to bond the substrates will also
absorb water. This is a critical issue because all the active
ingredients used in the adhesive formulation are soluble
in water, even after a fiber tearing bond has been created
between liner and medium. When the adhesive in a finished
box gets partially or completely dissolved then the container
will fail under a normal load. These vulnerable water
soluble adhesive ingredients include the base starch along
with caustic soda and borax. In order to create a container
that will resist failure in a humid or wet environment the
use of a wet strength resin is a requirement in the adhesive
formulation. For wet strength corrugated board our
industry has developed test methods to gauge potential
performance. Experience has shown that planning for a
slightly harsher environment will always pay dividends for
the best wet strength board performance in the field.
Corrugated board can be tested for resistance to failure
upon exposure to moisture with several different methods.
The two most common tests used in the United States are:
1. TAPPI Test T-812: The 24 Hour Soak Test.
Some variations in this test have been established to allow
for shorter soak periods of 20 minutes, 1 hour or 6 hours for
take many smaller molecules and join them to make long
chains called polymers.
Formaldehyde scavenging agents such as urea are used
to ensure that no free formaldehyde is present in the final
product. After the resin comes out of the reactor it must be
distilled, to remove water and concentrate it, increasing its
Our unique understanding of the wet strength
requirements of box plants equips us to tailor our
manufacturing process to yield resins that give superb
performance on the corrugator and in the box. Varying
several factors in the manufacturing process such as the
ratio of formaldehyde to acetone, the temperature of the
reaction, and the speed at which the reaction is allowed to
progress, will yield different grades of resin, with different
physical and chemical properties. We manipulate these
process variables to give our resins certain boutique qualities
such as purity and a dependable rate of reactivity. With such
a resin, a smaller amount is needed to give the same level of
performance as compared to a lesser product.
We conduct extensive quality assurance tests on our
resins to ensure consistent and predictable performance.
the needs of certain box customers.
The results of this test are pass or fail. If the liner on either
side of the approximately 6 X 10 piece of corrugated board
does not stay adhered to the medium after soaking in room
temperature water for the time allotted the result is a fail. If
the board continues to cling together after the 20 minute,
1 hour, 6 hour or 24 hour soak then the result would
be a pass.
2. Wet Pin Adhesion Test. This is an adaptation of
TAPPI Test T-821: Dry Pin Adhesion Test.
To perform a wet pin adhesion test many plants use
TAPPI T-821 whereby the test specimens are soaked for one
hour in room temperature water prior to testing with the
traditional pin jigs.
Dry pin adhesion numbers will vary with many factors
including board basis weight, adhesive application level and
manufacturing conditions. The dry pin number reported is
usually in pounds/lineal foot of glue line. This test can be
selective to test SF and DB separately or be set up to be nonselective whereby the weaker side will break to end the test.
• Selective pin adhesion tests are recommended.
• An acceptable dry pin number is often in the
45 to 60 lbs/linear ft range.
• An acceptable wet pin number will depend on the end
use of the board. In many cases the best wet pins for
non waxed board will be 5 to 10 percent of the dry pin
number. An example would be achieving dry pins of 50
lbs/linear ft for a certain box sample and then achieving
wet pins in the 2.5 to 5 lbs/linear ft range.
QC tests such as the resin gelatinization test, predict its
rate of reactivity. How fast a resin gels is an indicator of
how aggressively it will react once it is added to the batch.
Reactivity of the finished product is what we experience as
resin shock in the adhesive. We design our resins so that
they will not cause resin shock, yet will crosslink expediently
once the adhesive gelatinizes.
Ketone aldehyde resin behaves somewhat like a liquid
plastic. Its function in the adhesive is to cross link with the
starch molecules and make them resistant to redissolving in
a humid environment. This is a thermosetting process, which
begins after the starch based adhesive gelatinizes in the
machine. The resin requires only about 125° F
(52° C) to set it off, while most adhesive gels above 140°
F. The reaction is irreversible; once it dips below 125° F it
will not reinitiate even if the temperature is once again
raised above the threshold temp. As long as the requisite
temperature is maintained, the cross linking will continue
for several hours, becoming increasingly insoluble and thus
more moisture resistant. This process continues in the stacks
and is aptly referred to as stack cure.
•Wet strength testing
•All resins are not equal
• Evaluating
wet strength needs
In this issue:
800-438-3066 •
e-mail: [email protected]
Harper/Love Adhesives Corporation
11101 Westlake Drive
P.O. Box 410408
Charlotte, NC 28241-0408
Leaders in the science
of making
good adhesives better™
Aquaseal™ W-150 wet-strength resin
quaseal W-150 is our workhorse liquid thermosetting resin. It features zero free formaldehyde
and offers excellent pot life and low batch shock properties. Excellent water-resistant glue
line protection. Promotes superior board quality, and efficient production.
•Wet-strength corrugated board production
•Improve overall board quality for finishing
Operational benefits:
•Exceeds TAPPI 24-hour soak tests
•Convenient liquid form
•Safe and easy to use
•Compatible with automatic starch kitchens
•Distinctive red color provides visual assurance of use
•No resin shock to the adhesive
•Zero free formaldehyde: complies with OSHA regulations
Use 15 to 30 pounds per 300-gallon batch. Available in 55-gallon drums, 275-gallon totes.