Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc. (Goshen, IN), a subsidiary of Thor Industries Inc. (Jackson Center, OH), manufactures a wide range of travel trailers at eight different production plants and two lamination facilities. Central to the company’s business plan is an emphasis on quality. Among other tests, the company employs what it calls its “rain bay,” which uses 4,000 gallons of recycled water to simulate actual highway conditions in a storm, thereby ensuring there are no leaks.
Recently, the company began using Pur-Formance liquid polyurethane adhesive from National Adhesives (Bridgewater, NJ) in a number of its bonding applications. Dutchmen had already been using a reactive hot-melt from National Adhesives, and decided to take on the company’s liquid polyurethane product because the material offered better performance than what Dutchmen had been using previously.
“The hot melt is good where we have double-coated materials and large walls with fast production,” says Dutchmen director of quality assurance Bob Ries. “Liquid urethane is good where we have floors, ceilings and unusual sized parts, particularly if one side is to be coated…. National developed a product that has excellent characteristics for our use. The spread is unbelievable, and its bonding ability to aluminum, which is difficult to bond, is much better than other products we have tried. We haven’t had any delamination problems since we started.”
According to Ries, another advantage to working with National Adhesives is that Dutchmen is able to buy the material in much smaller quantities than it had previously-which meshes well with the company’s lean manufacturing philosophy.
“With our previous supplier, inventory was an issue. We had to buy in truckload quantities,” he says. “National allows us to order the [the adhesive] in two-bin quantities. When we get low, they bring in more. So, we solved our inventory problem and never had a problem with supply.”
Finally, in the event there is any kind of problem, Ries says National Adhesives has proved very responsive in terms of technical support.
“The technical engineers come in. They audit. They check the process,” he says. “If there is an issue, they provide the testing needed and come back with the answer.”
For more on adhesives, call 800-797-4992 or visit www.nationaladh.com.