The following is excerpted from an interview posted on Thomasnet.com as part of its Insights series.
TORONTO — “Nothing likes to stick to steel,” says Mark Lavelle, Global OE Sales Director for metal-forming company GRIPMetal. “In order to get something to stick to steel, you have to ensure that the steel is completely clean: You have to shot blast the surface, apply adhesives, and then bond something to it. But it’s a very difficult process, unstable, and it doesn’t last. When you can integrate a mechanical bond, that solves all those problems.”
The Toronto-based manufacturing innovator developed the world’s leading mechanical attachment technology. Their patented GRIP technology uses specially designed hardened metal hooks on the surface of thin gauge metallic sheets to create pressure bonding. To date, they’ve sold more than a billion units across the world — with a zero-failure rate.
“It’s a technology that no one else has,” said Lavelle. “It’s a next-generation material that allows you to mechanically bond, instead of the standard practice today of using environmentally harmful adhesives.”
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GRIP technology, which is manufactured in North America, is available as rolls or sheets of steel, aluminum, copper, brass, and titanium.
Thomas Insights (TI): Tell us about your company and what sets you apart from the competition.
Mark Lavelle (ML): GRIPMetal technology has been in the market now for over 25 years. It first revolutionized the automotive industry in the sense that it allowed manufacturers to eliminate adhesives and create a mechanical bond between the friction material and the backing plate of brake pads which, obviously, operate in the harshest environments — under very extreme heat and cold.
About five years ago, we took the technology and applied it onto sheet metal, which has really opened up opportunities in different markets. It can be single, or double-sided, and we can even apply it onto thin metal.
TI: What’s the biggest question you get from prospects or customers? And how do you respond to them?
ML: The biggest question we get is “How do I use it?” because GRIPMetal is such an innovative technology. It’s changing the established way of manufacturing and looking at things completely differently. Because GRIPMetal provides greater strength with less material it enables manufacturers to eliminate many manufacturing processes and even to develop extremely lightweight products.
As an example, in the automotive sector, GRIP is critical in the hybrid era and with electric vehicles (EVs) for making vehicles as light as possible.
TI: What’s something about your business that isn’t widely known that you’d like to highlight?
ML: Our company is very well-known in brakes, but not many people understand all of our material’s applications and what various industries can accomplish with it.
In particular, we’re now making and selling thousands of building blocks using GRIP. With schools and restaurants reopening amid COVID-19 concerns, we’re building all kinds of temporary and semi-permanent walls in schools in the Toronto area right now using GRIP technology to provide them with a fast, agile way to adhere to social-distancing requirements.