The Perfect Mix:
GORILLA GLUE GOES PRO
By Travis Hessman
After a decade of poorly aimed, overly aggressive swings, I finally managed to break my grandfa- ther’s axe—splintered it straight through in a spectacular explosion that left its aged head dangling by a thread. So it was time for an upgrade.
I went with a modern handle—fiberglass coated withsquishy, shock-absorbing rubber (in an astonishing shadeof yellow for no reason). Now it was only a matter of reattaching grandpa’s axe head to it.
And here I found myself in what may be familiar territory for MRO technicians out there. To affix the axe head, Iknew I needed to use at least a two-part epoxy (resin plushardener), and I knew that I had some tubs of each sittingaround my workbench somewhere. What I didn’t knowwas the proper mix of each component (1: 1? 1: 2? 2: 1?) orif whatever that proper mix is should be measured byweight or by volume or by some other complicated accounting. Directions were long lost along with the rest ofthe corroded labels.
It was a small job, though, so I didn’t worry too much. Ijust pried open the gunked-up tubs, dug out some bits thathadn’t hardened too much yet, and eyeballed a rough 1: 1mix. Applied it to the axe, let it cure for a day, and returnedto my chopping.
It took one swing to break the epoxy’s grip on the handle. The second swing sent the head soaring out over thefence and into the woods.
Besides the potentially catastrophic outcome of this axerepair experience, the overall scenario is a fairly commonone on the plant floor, explains Chuck Eichacker, businessand operations manager, engineering adhesives, at the St.Paul, MN-based epoxy maker H.B. Fuller.
“[Manufacturers] love to micromanage things down to
cost per gram or cost per pound,” Eichacker says. “So
there’s a temptation from the purchasing side to purchase
drums—a drum of A and a drum of B—or even pail kits.
And they think, ‘Look at that, we’ve saved 12% by bringing
this product in by bulk!’”
While this approach may make strong financial sense, it
presents some serious issues down the line for the worker
who actually needs to use these epoxy mixtures. Because, as
Eichacker aptly notes, “how that bulk is handled on the fac-
tory floor isn’t necessarily the first and foremost concern.”
This means, while plant personnel focus on core opera-
tions—producing the plant’s products at the rate they
need—these giant tubs of epoxy get used up without much
oversight. They are opened and closed every day by work-
ers who demonstrate a wide range of care and protocols
that, over time, cause the careful chemistries and processes
that make these mixtures effective to fall apart.
There are a whole host of ways this can happen, Eichacker explains. “They may not measure it out in the properratio. Sometimes people can get confused and simply mea
H.B. Fuller’s new line of GorillaPro adhesives provides MRO technicians with simple, powerful solutions wherever—and whenever—they’re needed.
H. B. Fuller’s new GorillaPro line includes the EP3, EP5, and PU5 adhesives, which are designed toprovide MRO technicians with a full range of easy-to-use solutions wherever the job takes them. (H.B. Fuller)