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100% bonding success

09 March 2022

For Bailey of Sheffield, a rapidly growing British manufacturer of unique stainless steel jewellery, the practical support offered by Henkel was key in identifying the optimal adhesives and methodologies necessary to deliver 100% bonding success rates

The company’s core product is its bracelet, manufactured from locally supplied, marine-grade 316L stainless steel. The bracelets come in a range of PVD colours and finishes and can be fully personalised. As with any engineered product, however, there are challenges to overcome. One of these involved the bonding of precision-machined stainless steel clasp components to both ends of the bracelet cable.

“Within our workshop we were seeing a tiny number of bracelets failing our 44-point quality control procedure regarding the bonding of clasps to cable ends with another adhesive brand,” explains Scott Bailey. “We want our products to last more than a lifetime so I set Henkel the challenge of finding the right epoxy adhesive for the job.”

Henkel recommended LOCTITE 9466 toughened epoxy adhesive to provide a high-strength, durable bond. This neutral-coloured product would also offer good resistance to soaps and shampoos, and facilitate easy application and room temperature curing.

“Having tested the bonded parts at The University of Sheffield, we went live with LOCTITE 9466 within just a few months of my first phone call. Thousands of bracelets have since been assembled using this product.”

Picking up the threads

In actual fact, Bailey of Sheffield was already a LOCTITE user. The company manufactures precision-machined stoppers that secure beads in position on its bracelets if that is the customer preference. Two M2 grub screw (3mm long) hold the stoppers on the bracelet.

“Despite machining tolerances of one-fifth of a human hair, we found that it was possible for a small number of grub screws to work loose over time,” Bailey explains. “We tried adjusting the machined thread on our stopper, as well as different grub screws. However, it was my retired father, an engineer by trade, who suggested that I should use a thread locker, and I haven’t looked back since.  It’s now also used to secure our single and double Capsule beads that allow customers to keep their loved ones’ ashes close to them.”

Following its success with the bracelet clasps, the next challenge involved the bonding of tiny 1mm2 custom magnets into 48 holes on four spools that form part of the company’s Word Play bead. This concept allows customers to index discs and create multiple four-letter words. The magnets ensure the alignment of each letter as it indexes.

“There was a new type of magnet available that we wanted to use but it was proving problematic for our existing adhesive,” Bailey says. “Henkel duly proposed LOCTITE 290 penetrating adhesive and a suitable activator. We now have a belt-and-braces methodology to achieve 100% activation. Another problem solved.”

Glow of approval

Bailey of Sheffield also involved Henkel in the development of a new bracelet product. The Glow Beads contain a fluorescent glow stick (tritium isotope lamp) that requires putting and sealing within its housing.

“Silicone is the traditional method deployed by leading watch manufacturers who use tritium, but I wanted to explore epoxy resin to ensure the adhesive lasted as long as the lamp.” Scott explains. “So, I returned to Henkel who recommended LOCTITE 9483 epoxy potting adhesive.”

This product is optically clear and flows readily to allow easy application with no bubbles. Additionally, the hard-setting LOCTITE 9483 has a smooth glass finish that is scratch-resistant and provides good resistance to bathroom products.

Bailey concludes: “We feel there is something special about a British-made product in these times and our customers in 50 countries worldwide clearly agree. I’m grateful for Henkel’s help in all our applications.”


Key Points

  • Bailey of Sheffield uses LOCTITE 9466 toughened epoxy adhesive for bonding of precision-machined stainless steel components
  • To bond tiny 1mm2 custom magnets, LOCTITE 290 penetrating adhesive with a suitable activator is used
  • LOCTITE 9483 is used to set and seal to fluorescent glow sticks (tritium isotope lamp) within bead housings