The Role of Adhesives in Bonding Plastic Appliance Assemblies
by Pat Gilson, Marketing Manager, Appliances
In an ongoing search for ways to design lower cost, lighter weight, more durable products,
appliance and subcomponent manufacturers are increasingly substituting plastic components
for parts once made of metal or glass. The increased use of plastic substrates has helped
manufacturers compete more effectively in the global marketplace by consolidating parts,
reducing the need for machining, and providing environmentally-friendly, recyclable materials for
According to the Freedonia Group, Inc., U.S. demand for plastics in the appliance and
housewares industry is projected to grow 4.6 percent annually through the year 2000, reaching
2,000 million pounds of consumption by the end of this century. It is projected that the growth of
plastics used in the appliance industry will outpace the growth in appliance shipments through
the year 2000, as plastics continue to replace metal and glass in traditional appliance
applications. The greatest growth will be seen as major appliance manufacturers convert large
parts such as washing machine tubs to molded plastic assemblies. Refrigerators and freezers
will remain the leading major appliances using plastics, due to their overall size and the number
of large parts made of plastic.
Plastic’s durability, impact strength, dimensional stability, insulating qualities, low cost, and good
processing characteristics ensure its popularity in major appliances and electrical housewares.
In cooking ranges, plastics are now used on oven handles, vent grills, door frames and trim,
control panels and knobs, and as high temperature wire insulation. On refrigerators, a variety of
plastics are found in crisper drawer sliders, compressor covers, door liners, door stops, ice
maker gears and ejector mechanism components, and transparent interior parts and food liners.
Clothes washers incorporate plastics into a