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tesa lights the way for P4

15 December 2014

When Norfolk-based P4 Limited needed a solution to manage heat dissipation on a range of self-testing emergency lights, the tesacohesion team recommended the use of tesa 4980

P4 Limited, a self-testing emergency lighting and exit sign manufacturer, has been providing solutions to the building and installations market across the UK for the past 23 years. The company’s products are specified for their flexible and easy to operate designs and proven safety record.

To fix LED starboards onto aluminium heat sinks within a self-testing emergency light, the company traditionally used plastic rivets in combination with a thermal paste to encourage heat dissipation and prevent the fragile components inside the LED starboards from burning out.

However, due to the small size of the lighting units, installation of the rivets proved a relatively complex and somewhat labour intensive process. Controlling the flow of the thermal paste within a small space also proved challenging and could easily effect its ability to dissipate heat, both uniformly and consistently.

Applying the principles from its tesacohesion customer care programme, tesa’s customer team considered the process as a whole and engaged with P4 in a testing programme using a double-sided PET (polyester) tape to assess how changing the process could positively impact product performance.

The customer team collaborated with tesa’s R&D department in recommending tesa 4980 for testing.  Already proven in similar electronic mounting applications, the double-sided tape consists of a PET backing and tackified acrylic adhesive, providing good bonding strength to most common, smooth and even substrates.

tesa’s Sales Area Manager, Mathew Lord, commented, “For intricate electronic component assemblies, high performance materials in precision shapes use their inherent properties to deliver design-led production efficiencies.

tesa 4980’s thinness improves product reliability by effectively dissipating the heat produced by electronic devices.  With a strong PET backing, the tape also offers excellent converting performance to optimise the design of the components.  Its flexible adhesion adds to this by allowing the tape to be initially removed if required.”

During the testing phase, die cut shapes of tesa 4980 were used to bond LED starboards to aluminium heat sinks, which were then tested for thermal conductivity. Results from the initial tests were impressive, showing that the amount of heat transferred and dissipated met with industry standards and would ensure that P4 could still achieve a new CE marking on these products.

The project then focused on converting the tape into a format that would enhance productivity and reduce waste, resulting in the production of a 15mm diameter circle ensuring maximum surface contact between the components and the delivery of efficient thermal transfer and dissipation.

P4’s Technical Director, Alan Daniels, summarised, “In replacing conventional bonding methods with the use of tesa tape, we have made significant cost-savings generated by some major process improvements.

tesa 4980 delivers fixing and thermal management in a one-step simple solution, transforming what was once a complex and time-consuming process into a streamlined operation.”

As a result of the co-operation between the tesacohesion team and P4, the new process is in production and other existing product designs and developments will incorporate this method using tesa 4980 in the future.

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