Jurjen Jacobs 2014-10-10 01:00:51
Where is the last time you saw hook-and-loop products being used? On your jacket? On your shoes? It may, in fact, be adhering the solar panels to the roof of your office building or affixing the artificial turf to the stadium floor of your favorite professional sports team. Often referred to as the “hidden heroes,” hook-and-loop applications surround us constantly, in ways we might never see. Hook-and-loop has evolved extensively in the lifetime that Swiss Engineer George de Mestral invented it, after realizing the idea while on a walk with his dog. Now, 60 years later, hook-and-loop fasteners have dramatically advanced to enable strong and durable connections for heavyweight items, construction and industrial projects. It even accompanied the first man on the moon, securing components of Neil Armstrong’s space suit in 1968. As the inventor of hook-and-loop, Velcro Industries has a library of more than 400 patents worldwide that it leverages to develop fastening solutions that can replace traditional mechanical, and even chemical, fasteners used in processes for temporary protection, flooring/finishes, solar energy, abrasives, and even (as previously mentioned) artificial turf. With more than 30,000 hook-and-loop SKUs and custom capabilities, Velcro Industries is tailoring its hook-and-loop solutions to address customers’ unique needs and demands in the fastening space. As technology and science advance, the brand saw an opportunity to expand its presence in different business platforms such as construction, which called for the creation of heavy-duty, strong solutions that companies can use to fasten large products. Some of Velcro Industries’ industrial strength products even feature a molded plastic hook and a heavy-duty, water-resistant adhesive. Today, many industrial companies are Looking for “plug and play” solutions that address a growing consciousness for environmental impact and satisfy a pervasive demand for projects to be executed quickly and efficiently. Hook-and-loop can be used as a reliable “press and stick” solution, eliminating the need for custom fit metal, wood or other materials. To illustrate, at the end of 2013, General Membrane—a leading manufacturer of waterproofing membranes in Italy— installed its solar panel system that helps to generate 800kW of energy to power its fac - tory naturally. General Membrane worked With Velcro Industries to create a solution called General Fix that adheres the solar panels to the waterproof roof, without puncturing the roof or adding weight to the roof (General Fix only weighs 2kg/m2). The system was tested at the Polytechnic University of Milan’s wind gallery to ensure optimal resistance to wind extraction on rooftops. Since General Fix eliminated the need to create holes in the roof, it helps to minimize leaks from rain and keeps the roof in better condition, for longer. In addition to adhering solar panels to roofs, VELCRO® Brand hook-and-loop is Also used to affix roof membranes to roof structures. The company worked with Flachdach Technologie GmbH & Co. To create the “Gripfix” system. Again, because the hookand- loop eliminates the need for holes, it enables roof structures to be impermeable to the elements. Since it can be rolled out quickly, it also significantly speeds up install and construction times and creates a reliable, long-lasting seal. In relation to the construction industry, general contractors and workers alike are looking for cost-effective and time-efficient solutions to replace more traditional processes. For example, VELCRO® Brand Hook Squares is a modular flooring installation system that has been adopted by several flooring manufacturers. In 2013, Chilewich launched its Plynyl® Tile with BioFelt™ backing at NeoCon 2013, offering VELCRO® Brand hook-and-loop as an installation option. This is an environmentally friendly alternative to adhesives because it eliminates odor, off-gassing, mess and costly Downtime. In addition, Velcro Industries is marketing products such as its fastening wraps and ties for construction and industrial projects in response to demand for strong, steadfast options to organize and manage cords, cables and other materials. The VELCRO® Brand Pro-Series Construction solutions were specifically designed to meet the unique needs of construction professionals for highly durable and extremely strong fastening connections. With nine different closure combinations, the series offers a variety of strength levels to suit unique requirements. These products can even be used to hang heavy wall art or mirrors that can’t stay Secure with a nail or screw. The Pro-Series line is currently in roll out in the European market, and Velcro Industries anticipates it will be available from United States’ retailers in 2015. Hook-and-loop has evolved and transformed from its original sew-on format and can be integrated into products through a variety of ways, including: pressure-sensitive adhesive, solvent-activated adhesive, mechanical, mold-in and welding options. The fastener can also be custom-printed to show branding, logos, patterns, or to match the color of a specific material. JURJEN JACOBS Jurjen Jacobs is vice president of global marketing and innovation for Velcro Industries, where he drives marketing strategy, new product development, brand marketing, communications strat egy, market intelligence and commercialization activities globally.
Published by American Fastener Journal. View All Articles.
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