There are several different joining methods for industrial fabrics including gluing, sewing, chemical welding, and heat welding. The type of project, where it will be used, and the desired lifespan of the final product all affect the choice of method.
Seaming tape and glue both work by adding a layer of adhesive between the two layers of fabric to create a bond. Tape and glue are easy to apply, require no specialized equipment, and are low cost; however, bonds have a short lifespan and are not suited for use outside as they deteriorate quickly under the strain of the elements
Sewing requires an industrial sewing machine capable of handling the thickness of material being used, as well as a skilled operator to ensure a precise and neat finished product. Resulting seams are more visible than heat welded or adhesive bonded seams. Seams are strong and can withstand exposure to the elements.
Chemical welding is similar in application to glue. However, instead of adding a layer of adhesive between the layers of fabric, the chemicals applied dissolve part of each layer to produce a stronger bond. The chemicals are easy to apply but can be dangerous and must be handled carefully to avoid injury. Safety precautions include gloves, safety glasses, and proper ventilation. Chemical welds are strong and can be used outdoors.
Heat welding produces the strongest bond; with the correct application of heat and pressure welds are as strong as the material itself. Manual, automatic, and stationary machines are available. Some operator training is required to produce precise and neat welds but equipment operation is simple. Seams are extremely strong and can withstand prolonged exposure to the elements.
Think heat welding is the best option for your project? Read our article on choosing between automatic and manual welding tools or give your technical sales representative a call to discuss which tool might be best for your shop.
Originally Published: 9/14/2014