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Industrial adhesives

U-One R2M: S.Korea’s pioneering rubber-to-metal adhesive

Mar 30, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

U-One R2M's VULCAN 44 adheres rubber to metal
U-One R2M's VULCAN 44 adheres rubber to metal

An engine mount is the part of a vehicle that holds the engine in place while at the same time reducing engine vibration. So-called “anti-vibration parts” such as the engine mount are created by adhering the rubber and metal parts together into a single structure.

Rubber and metal require a special type of adhesive to stick together, unlike metals that can be connected through welding.

South Korea’s U-One R2M Co. – the R2M in the company’s name stands for rubber to metal – is the country's first company to succeed in domestic production of rubber-to-metal adhesives, a market that had been fully dependent on imports.

“The domestic market is still dominated by the US company LORD Corporation’s Chemlok product, which holds over 60% market share. With our range of products developed in-house in 2017, sold under the brand name VULCAN, we have been gradually increasing our share of the market through sales route expansion,” said U-One R2M CEO Kwak Heung-seop.

Special-purpose adhesives like those made by U-One R2M require an advanced level of technology to prevent the adhered materials from separating in extreme conditions.  

The competitive edge of U-One R2M's products lies in the one-liquid methodology as opposed to the two-liquid type commonly used by its international rivals.

The one-liquid methodology, apparent from its name, adheres rubber to metal with a single application, whereas with the two-liquid system, products must be applied onto the metal surface once before being applied again after drying.

“Our one-liquid products can significantly shorten the manufacturing process, allowing our clients to reduce work hours and secure price competitiveness at the same time,” said Kwak.

U-One R2M exports its products to overseas markets including China and Vietnam and is currently conducting a safety pilot test with a major vehicle part supplier in Korea.

The company explained that the pilot test for adhesives can take up to three to four years to ensure extra vehicle safety.

Kwak worked as a CFO at a major chemical company in Korea prior to starting his own venture in 2015 with a colleague who was researching adhesive technology. Kwak’s co-founder currently works as the head of product development at the company.

The adhesive maker has also developed products that can adhere stick silicon and metal, or silicon and plastic. Such products are used in phone case manufacturing and in making various types of insulators.

Other than adhesives, the company also developed a coatings product for weather stripping, the rubber material placed between the car body and its doors.

“The global market for adhesives and coatings is worth around 1.5 trillion won ($1.32 billion). Our company’s target is to grab a 10% share of the global market by actively expanding our sales routes in China and India this year,” Kwak added.    

Write to Dong-Hyun Kim at 3code@hankyung.com

Daniel Cho edited this article.

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