Robin Szymanski - Speaker Interview

3 – 5 DECEMBER 2024



3 – 5 DECEMBER 2024



Robin Szymanski

Research & Innovation Engineer at Applus+

Robin Szymanski, Research & Innovation Engineer at Applus+

After his PhD in Polymer Science, Robin Szymanski joined debonding expert Maxime Olive at Rescoll. In June 2023, Rescoll became part of Applus+ Group, a Spanish group specialised in mechanical testing. 

On the second day of the conference at Adhesives & Bonding Expo, on 6 December in Stuttgart, Robin Szymanski joins a panel on technical solutions to make foams and adhesives more sustainable.


How are you involved in the debonding issue? 
My principal activity focused on the formulation of the primer that you apply between the adhesive and the substrate. The final goal is to reach the same property compared to the standard product, but you will have the extra functionality of debonding on demand, which means that at the end of life of the product, you will be able to dismantle both substrates thanks to the primer layer by applying heat between 130 degree and 180 degrees. We have different versions of the primer. My role was to improve the formulation and also to make them compatible with different kinds of adhesives, substrates, and applications. Also, work on the scale-up of the debonding primer. 

Were customers asking for this and involved in the research?
We developed this technology in our company. Maxime has been working on it for twenty years now. I joined to help develop the product. We work for different applications. We have different customers in a range of different industries, including the shoe industry, the electronics industry, and the automotive industry. We also work with multi-partner projects, which means that this project is a European project involved in different thematics. There are more and more projects involved with debonding on demand. It enables us to improve our product. 

Your debonding solution is primarily aimed at consumer products, right? Is it not for structural adhesives and industrial applications?
Yes, but we also work on structural adhesives. We have done some structural bonding tests with for example 1K or 2K epoxy adhesives with aluminum or steel substrates. It works pretty well. We still have to improve the performance, but we are working on that as well. We want to make our primer compatible with different kinds of applications, ranging from non-structural and structural to pressure-sensitive adhesives. We developed different kinds of formulations suitable for every kind of application. That is the idea, to create a lot of possibilities for debonding on demand.

How would debonding work from the production perspective and at recycling centers?
We only develop the formulation. When a customer puts the formulation in their product, they decide how to manage it. We can advise them on how to heat the layer for debonding. We work on different ways to heat because we cannot put an entire product in an oven. Our customers will manage how to get to the circular economy. In France, you can put your shoes in a box and the company will take the shoes back to recycle them. It also creates possibilities for maintenance, for example for a damaged, scratched foam dashboard, you can just remove the foam with the debonding on demand and replace it, instead of replacing the entire dashboard. 

How do you make sure that things don’t spontaneously debond on a hot day?
That is the most difficult thing in our work, to ensure that the debonding won’t occur while the product is in service. We manage it, because we do some climate aging, with high temperatures and high humidity, tests with solvents, to make sure it can resist those conditions. We have a secure range of 50 degrees between the maximum temperature range and the minimum debonding temperatures. Our first question, when we have an application, is always, what is your maximum service range temperature? Which temperatures will your product be exposed to during its life?