Versatile Adhesives to Bond UAVs & Drones

In this article, we explore the rising phenomena of Industry 4.0, the significance of UAVs and drones in the global market, and the best adhesives used for the manufacture and repair of UAV and drones components.

Table of Contents

white uav

What is Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0 is the name given to the most recent patterns, or phase, in the industrial revolution, which is characterized by heavy uses of automation through robotics, interconnectivity, machine learning, and the use of real-time data available through cyber-physical systems. Industry 4.0 enables business owners and managers to understand and have better direct control over every aspect of their operations. As a result, businesses that incorporate Industry 4.0 technologies and methodologies in their operations often see an increase in their production rate, production quality and a decrease in production costs.

In addition to these benefits, using elements of Industry 4.0 in your business can make you more competitive, collaborative, and attractive to the younger workforce.

A common way of implementing elements of Industry 4.0 in your business is through the use of UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) and drones.

The Current Drone Market

According to experts, the global market value for drones is estimated at £9 billion in 2020. As newer versions of drones with increasingly innovative technology are constantly entering the market, drone manufacturers are rushing to get a competitive advantage. The goal is to increase battery efficiency, drone speed, structural integrity and product profitability through:

  • Lowering drone weight
  • Strengthening the drone frame
  • Increasing drone lifecycle – reducing the frequency of maintenance
  • Using smarter electronics within the drone

Advantages of UAVs & Drones

In general, UAVs and drone provide many unique advantages, such as:

  • Low risk search and rescue operations
  • Accurate scanning and mapping abilities from high altitudes
  • Ability to access areas not easily accessible by humans
  • Massively reduced risk of human casualties when carrying out assessments in extreme conditions
  • Ultra-lightweight (sub-5kg) if made from carbon fibre elements
  • Ability to be remote controlled from a safe location
  • Capable of carrying out various types of measurements simultaneously
  • Ultra-maneuverability

Disadvantages of UAVs & Drones

In contrast, drones can have certain disadvantages, such as:

  • Expensive and difficult to produce
  • Difficult to manufacture, maintain and bond UAVs without expert advice
  • Human mistake in remote control can cause a crash – requires trained staff
  • A breakdown in the software could result in a crash
  • Uncontrolled crashes could lead to casualties on the ground
  • Potential to be used for harm

uav in farm

Important Uses of Drones

Drones are used throughout many industries and for various uses. Here we dive into some of the most common and innovative ones.

High precision agriculture

Drones are often used in smart agricultural industries due to the high level of precision they allow. They help farmers optimise efficiencies and improve profitability by:

  • Spraying insecticides and fertilisers in exact proportions and locations – eliminating waste.
  • Accurate monitoring of crop health
  • Rapid identification of weed infestations

Quality aerial mapping

Drones equipped with high-quality cameras are useful in various mapping situations, including:

  • Scan or map areas which would either be inaccessible by humans or very expensive and dangerous to access.
  • Creating interactive 3D maps of disaster sites – leading to more effective search and rescue operations (e.g. burning buildings). This is a key helper if you’re trying to optimise your assessment process.
  • Mapping of unexplored terrains
  • Aerial photography

Security services

Drones are often used in security services for:

  • Sports events
  • Crime scenes
  • Large public gatherings

As well as the common uses listed above, drone technology is also being utilised in the prototyping of new innovations such ‘electric urban mobility aircraft‘, which aims to change the future landscape of aerospace and inter-city travel if prototyping and testing prove successful.

Overall, the use of drones in business operations is something that is only going to continue growing as companies look for new efficiencies and advantages to stay ahead of the game.

small uav

Adhesives Used to Bond UAVs and Drones

Generally, there are 3 main types of drones: fixed-wing, single rotor and multi-rotor. While being fit for different purposes, and therefore being of slightly different builds, they all have multiple components in common. Here we explore these components and the best adhesives used to manufacture and repair of them.

Frame

Drone frames are the centrepiece of a drone’s structural strength and overall reliability. Frames come in various materials depending on the intended use. From composites to lightweight metals and plastics, industry-leading industrial adhesives allow manufacturers to optimise their frame manufacturing to minimise repair and maintenance whilst extending the longevity and performance of the drone.

Araldite 2050, a two-part ultra-rapid curing methacrylate adhesive system, which has the ability to cure from -20°C to 25°C, is a great adhesive used to bond UAVs. As it was designed for extreme conditions, it can be applied and cure underwater and in humid areas, and is able to withstand service temperatures up to 120°C. This adhesive, alongside the Araldite 2051 described below, allow for instant repairs in difficult weather conditions.

Araldite 2051, a two-part rapid curing methacrylate adhesive system, can cure from 0°C to 40°C, is another great choice used to bond UAVs. Similarly, this can be applied and can cure underwater and in humid areas, provides excellent ageing and weathering resistance, and can be applied with minimal pre-treatment. It provides superb toughness and resistance to dynamic and impact loading, and vibrations.

Black Adhesives

As many drone body frames are made of carbon fibre (black material), due to its light weight and high tensile strength, black adhesives offer the advantage of blending in nicely with the bonding surfaces. Black adhesives which would be ideal for this application include:

Araldite 2048-1, a two-component, room temperature curing methacrylate adhesive, is another fast-curing adhesive used to bond UAVs. The speciality of this adhesive, when it comes to bonding UAVs, is that it is black in colour, and therefore leads to a slick, clean look when used on UAVs and drones which have dark or black coloured bodies. It also provides tough and flexible bonds which are reliable in dynamic environments.

Araldite AW4858/ Hardener HW4858 is a two-component epoxy adhesive system. It is very high in lap shear and peel strength, provides good moisture resistance (great for outdoor applications), has a long pot life, and is ideal for bonding composites and thermoplastics such as the ones found in drone frames.

Araldite 2031-1 is an epoxy adhesive system suitable for metal and composite bonding. It is non-slumping, provides extremely tough and resilient bonds, and has great weathering resistance. Additionally, it offers spacers which enable it to create a minimum bond line thickness of 0.05 mm.

GPS Module

The GPS module inside a drone consists of electronic circuitry capable of communicating with GPS satellites. Applications regarding GPS modules are usually concerning electronic components.

Potting and encapsulation compounds can be used to protect and optimise the performance of electronic components, such as those involved in a GPS module. To get a deeper understanding of this process, read our article “The Essential Guide to Potting and Encapsulation“. Furthermore, you can see our range of electronic protection adhesives & encapsulants.

Permabond 820 is a quick-setting cyanoacrylate adhesive that is ideal for bonding electrical components on printed circuit boards (PCBs) before soldering. It is able to resist temperatures up to 200ºC, making it a great choice in applications involving wave-soldering. To get a better understanding of bonding PCBs, read our article “How to Bond Phenolics“.

Brushless Motors

Brushless motors are essential components used for motion control and positioning systems. Without these, drones would not be able to navigate their way around an environment.

To bond brushless motors, we recommend using the products mentioned in our article “How to Bond Motors and Electronic Speed Equipment“.

Landing Gear

The landing gear of a drone consists of steel parts, wheels, as well as joints and bearings. Applications concerning steel bonding are usually difficult to bond, therefore requiring a strong structural adhesive. Discover our extensive range of structural adhesives and get to know how they are so effective.

uav in air

Surface Preparation Tips to Bond UAVs 

Araldite 2050 and 2051 are essentially primer-less and can be applied with little or no pre-treatment, due to being fit for extreme conditions. However, in general, in order to achieve optimal bond strength, it is preferred that the joint surfaces are cleaned with a good degreasing agent such as iso-propanol or acetone so that all traces of grease, dirt and oil are removed. Don’t use petrol or low-grade alcohols for this process as this may damage the bond strength. To achieve the strongest bonds, go further and mechanically abrade (with an emery cloth) or chemically etch the degreased surfaces (“pickling”) so that the adhesive may have its full effect. For further information regarding surface preparations, read: What you need to know on bonding plastics.

We are your technical partner.

If you have any questions or want to find out more about the possibilities for your industrial application, please complete the contact form and one of our experts will be in touch.

If you have a problem with industrial adhesives, sealants, or electronic protection products and require advice, you can contact our technical support service. Our team can help you to optimize your processes and applications.

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