On a recent visit to a new engineer at a company that has long used Permabond 910, while we were on our way to the lab the new engineer and I met up with an engineer I’ve known for years. He asked what brought me in and I explained that my new friend had a fresh iteration of their component and wanted to review the best adhesive solution. My old friend looked to him and said – “I thought you were just going to 910 that?” Referring to Permabond 910. My new friend said, “We could, but I thought we’d look at new options.” Which was met with “Oh, good idea! We’ve been using 910 for a hundred years. Perhaps there is something better.”
Well, between us, I know that was a bit of a stretch, as Permabond 910 is only a mere 65 years young. It was invented in 1951 by Harry Wesley Coover Jr. and Fred Joyner at Eastman Kodak.
I did know this customer had been using Permabond 910 for a very long time and promptly asked what they would like to improve… Did they want a faster cure time? Adhesion to different materials? More toughness? Both engineers were quite happy with Permabond 910. It seemed to provide everything they needed in an adhesive. We tested it on the new design and both agreed they couldn’t ask for anything more.
Then they recalled that one difficult piece where they were trying to design around a polypropylene clip. They were both certain that nothing bonded to polypropylene without a whole bunch of expensive surface treatment – they just wanted to confirm. As it turns out, new advances have been made in adhesives and I was able to thwart the redesign with our new Permabond TA4610. Permabond TA4610 bonds polypropylene with no primer or surface treatment needed. They were thrilled with the results.
I was reminded of this experience last night when my Mom stopped by while I was diligently working to get a stain out of a brand new shirt. I had a fancy (expensive) bottle of stain remover and was rinsing out the top after treating it 4 times – to no avail. My Mom took a $0.50 box of baking soda and removed the stain. I said “I don’t understand this new stuff works so well on most things.” Mom replied with her usual wisdom, “Make new friends but keep the old!” What Mom was saying was try new things, stay current with technology, but don’t go so far as to throw away the tried and true solutions.
The old tried and true Permabond 910 is like an old friend to my customer. Now they also have a new one – Permabond TA4610 for polypropylene.
Few products stay on the market without change for 65 years! Those that do, like Permabond 910, are still there for a reason.