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Adhesives and sealants: a dynamic and successful industry

The adhesive and sealant industry is a continuing success story that spans hundreds of years. It’s a fascinating story that can trace its origins back to the days of making "glue” from natural products such as tree sap, animal carcasses, milk protein (casein) and starch, through to today’s high-tech adhesives that hold spacecraft together.

Man first exploited bonding technology 200,000 years ago. Today, innovation continues apace. The history of bonding is a fascinating tribute to human ingenuity. 

Adhesives and sealants are everywhere, but often invisible

Bonding and sealing play an essential role in thousands of everyday items. From your mobile phone to your car; your washing machine to your shoes; the construction and weather-proofing of your house to your toilet tissue. All of these items and many more rely on adhesives and sealants. Not only do adhesives and sealants make these products possible, in many cases they also enable manufacturers to produce them in a more cost-effective and environmentally responsible/sustainable manner. See the FEICA Sustainable Development Agenda.

Almost 5 million tonnes of adhesives and sealants are produced and used in Europe each year, and this volume is growing every year. Adhesive manufacturers offer more than 250,000 different products for the most diverse applications.

The European adhesive and sealant industry:

  • Makes many everyday products possible
  • Contributes significantly to the economy
  • Fosters sustainable development
  • Encourages innovation
  • Offers stimulating careers for people with a wide range of skills

FEICA: essential support for a vibrant industry

FEICA can trace its origins back to the first meetings of vegetable adhesive producers in the late 1950s. In 1967 producers of synthetic adhesives were invited to join the meetings and in 1972 FEICA was founded. Since its inception, FEICA has continued to grow and expand its areas of interest. Although for many years a federation of national adhesives and sealants associations, FEICA expanded the membership structure in 2007 to include direct company members and associate company members. Today membership stands at 15 national associations, 24 direct company members and 17 associated company member.  This represents more than 800 companies from across Europe. FEICA looks after the industry’s interests across all market sectors and has established good working relationships with various bodies of the European Commission as well as national and regional associations around the world.

FEICA works with its members to create a powerful voice for the adhesive and sealant industry in Europe, constantly seeking to improve the economic and legal landscape for the industry.

Learn more about adhesives and sealants, technologies, applications and market in the Our Industry pages of the website.

What makes sticky things so sticky ?

The function of adhesives and sealants is to hold things together. They come in many forms and strengths and are used in a multitude of everyday applications. The 'stickiness' is caused by molecular bonds, and strength depends on how much stress is needed to pull those bonds apart.

Did you know that geckos have millions of small hair follicles on their feet which are each one tenth the size of human hair? And each one of the these follicles has billions of split ends which can interact with any surface they touch!