Comparing UHB and VHB Tape on 5 Key Elements

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Choosing from the vast array of adhesive options on the market can feel a little intimidating sometimes! If your application demands an adhesive in tape form, there’s a good chance you’ll be looking at one of two major classifications: UHB and VHB. What’s the difference between these two, and what does it mean for your applications? Here are five key things to know before you choose.

1. Definition and Brand

The “UHB” in UHB tape is a generic term that stands for Ultra High Bond. It is often used to describe a category of double-sided tapes that offer very strong adhesive bonds, but it is not specific to any one manufacturer. The quality standards and specific properties may vary from brand to brand.

In contrast, VHB, which stands for Very High Bond, is a trademark of 3M. The VHB tape family, which Thomco offers and converts, is a line of double-sided acrylic foam tapes. They’re particularly known for their exceptional bonding strength, durability, and versatility, and they are widely used in various industries for bonding and mounting applications. All VHB tapes adhere to 3M quality and performance standards, and each particular tape in the VHB family has its own unique specifications.


2. Performance and Application

In general, UHB tapes are designed for high-strength bonding applications. They can be used in a wide range of industries including automotive, construction, and electronics. The performance might vary between different UHB tape brands, but the types of application remain the same.

VHB tapes, meanwhile, are known for their strength, durability, and ability to bond a variety of  substrates including metals, plastics, glass, and low surface energy (LSE) materials. They are used in demanding applications such as automotive assembly, signage, electronics, and construction. VHB tapes are also notable for their ability to withstand harsh environments, including extreme temperatures and UV exposure.


3. Adhesive Technology

The adhesive technology and formulation found in UHB tapes can vary between manufacturers. UHB tapes typically use acrylic adhesives, but the specific properties (such as tack, shear strength, and resistance to environmental factors) can differ.

VHB tapes utilize a proprietary acrylic adhesive technology developed by 3M. This technology provides high initial tack, excellent shear strength, and resistance to solvents, moisture, and plasticizers. Ultimately, the VHB line of adhesives is intended to be capable of replacing traditional mechanical fasteners like screws, bolts, and rivets, simplifying assembly, and even reducing weight, depending on the application.


4. Product Range and Customization

Various manufacturers offer UHB tapes with different thicknesses, widths, and adhesive formulations to suit specific applications. The range and customization options will depend on the manufacturer and on your converting partner’s capabilities.

3M offers a wide range of VHB tape products with different thicknesses, widths, colors, and adhesive formulations. These tapes are designed to meet specific industry requirements and are customizable for unique applications. When you work with a 3M™ Preferred Converter, such as Thomco, you’ll get brand-specific expertise to ensure that your VHB tapes are customized to meet your exact needs and to take advantage of the tapes’ unique properties.


5.Reliability and Standards

The reliability and performance standards of UHB tapes can vary. On the other hand, VHB tapes from 3M are always extensively tested and meet stringent industry standards, providing confidence in their use for critical applications.

While UHB tapes are a general category of high-strength bonding tapes produced by various manufacturers, VHB tapes are a particularly high-performance product line from 3M, known for their exceptional adhesive properties and reliability in demanding applications. Thomco stocks a wide range of tapes, including the 3M VHB line, and can work with you to determine the best fit for your application and convert your chosen product to your specifications. Talk to us today to learn more!

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