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A series of "How To" work with StockCap products is underway and to get started, here's a quick review of a few application methods.

Methods for Applying Caps and Plugs

Applying a cap or a plug can be accomplished through a variety of methods. Speed, convenience and simplicity dictate the method of choice. Here are some of the preferred methods:

Heat – Exposure to any heat source reaching temperatures of 140°F (60°C) to 180°F (82°C) will soften  vinyl, making it easier to apply. Once installed and cooled, it maintains its original rigidity and secure fit. (Note: Heating does not cause a vinyl product to dilate to a larger diameter.)

Recommended Heat Sources:

  • Heat Lamps: For best results, spread the caps or plugs over a wide surface with the heat radiating down on the top layer. One lamp should adequately heat a 3’ x 3’ area. In many cases several lamps positioned over a larger surface area allow multiple operators to work from a central workstation.

  • Hot Box: Placing the caps or plugs inside a low temperature oven allows a larger quantity of products to be pre-heated for application. Any type of circulating air oven is suitable with temperatures between 140°F (60°C) to 180°F (82°C). This method will require double handling, moving the product from box to oven to workstation.

  • Heat Guns: Mounted over a workstation or conveyor system, heat guns can produce enough heat to soften the caps or plugs for application. Products should be no more than two to three layers deep. Again, a centrally located heating area could accommodate multiple users.

  • Hot Water: Caps and plugs can be submerged in heated water and applied wet, directly onto the handle. The water effectively works as a lubricant to aid in the installation. After a 24 hour period (approximate), the water will evaporate and the resulting fit will be tight and secure.

Adhesives: regardless of the amount of interference fit between the cap or plug and the item, the only guarantee against slippage is the use of adhesive. Plus, there is the added benefit of the glue working as a lubricant during installation. Due to the varying materials, e.g. wood, plastic, metal, etc., several adhesives should be tested for function and ease of use.

The following manufacturers are excellent sources for a wide range of adhesives: 3M, Loctite, Permabond International. Contact your local dealer for more information. Please note that the cap or grip diameter may not require the same degree of interference to fit the item when using adhesive.

Lubrication: The use of certain types of lubrication can be extremely effective in speeding the installation of caps and plugs. An undersized cap or plug will slide easily onto the substrate by adding a lubricant to the installation process. Hair spray or a soapy water solution works well with any style vinyl or rubber cap or plug. We recommend a concentration of 1 teaspoon liquid detergent per 1 gallon warm water. Both the hair spray and residual soap provide the secondary benefit of acting as an adhesive after drying.

To apply a soap lubrication solution, simply spray or dip the item in the solution prior to installing the cap or plug. Caps exceeding 5” in length with undersized diameters will require lubricant to be applied to both the substrate and the inside of the cap. Otherwise, the cap may “squeegee” the lubricant off the substrate during installation, leaving minimal or no lubricant for the greater portion of the length.

Air: With one end sealed against the substrate, a fixture designed to seal the other end of the cap while introducing air pressure facilitates sliding the cap into desired position.

Automation: Cap or plug installation can be automated with equipment designed for high volume application. With a relatively simple machine design involving a carousel indexing table, caps and plugs with extremely undersized diameters can be installed quickly and consistently. Please contact a Regional Account Manager for more information.

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