Hero image of a person attaching vhb tape to frame for subsequent attachment to panel

Panel-to-Frame and Stiffener-to-Panel Assemblies

Permanently bond panels to rigid frames or add rigid stiffeners to support large panels.


3M Panel Attachment Solutions for Lasting Strength

  • Closeup image of 3M™ VHB™ Tape applied to a metal frame before the liner is removed and the panel attached

    Panel-to-Frame Assemblies

    Panel-to-frame assemblies occur when decorative or load-bearing panels are applied to a rigid frame for support. Some common examples include construction facades, trailer panels, elevator walls and sign boxes.​

  • Still frame of an animation showing stiffeners being added to the wall panel of a server rack

    Stiffener-to-Panel Assemblies

    Stiffeners are applied to panels to give extra support and rigidity. These are commonly seen in trailer panels, traffic signs and large metal enclosures. The brief animated video shows stiffeners being added to the wall panel, then tape being applied and the liner removed before the assembly is attached to the server rack.​

mage of VHB GPH tape
High Temperature Bonding with 3M™ VHB™ Tape GPH

The high temperature resistance of 3M™ VHB™ Tape GPH allows panels to be bonded to frames before exposure to the high heat of powder coat or liquid painting processes. This reduces the number of “touches” for a more streamlined manufacturing process.


Common Joint Types and Stresses in Panel Assemblies

Both panel-to-frame and stiffener-to-panel face similar stresses with a few exceptions. Generally a panel-to-frame or stiffener-to-panel assembly will exist vertically or horizontally in the form of an overlap joint. A stiffener is also bonded with an overlap style joint where the adhesive spans the length of the stiffener.

  • Gif of a Lapjoint shear
  • Shear Stress in Panel-to-Frame
    In vertical panel-to-frame applications, the force of gravity produces a shear stress as the dead load weight of the panel is exerted onto the bond. Some peel or cleavage may be present, but those peel and cleavage forces are mitigated by having a long lineal length through which to disperse the load.​​
  • Gif of a stiffner to panel
  • Compression and Tension in Stiffener-to-Panel

    In stiffener-to-panel applications, the weight of the stiffener is often not so large as to contribute to dead load shear. Instead, for these assemblies, the stiffener is often experiencing tension and compression as load is applied to the panel, such as wind loads on sign faces. Again, some cleavage and peel forces may be present, but long lineal lengths and the hat-channel design disperse these loads.​​​

Performance Factors for Panel Applications

3M tapes, adhesives, sealers and fasteners offer a range of options for panel-to-frame and stiffener-to-panel applications. These choices can maintain elasticity for dynamic loads or allow for expansion differences when temperatures change. Use this list as a relative comparison of product performance.

  • + = Good ++ = Better +++ = Best

Customer Testimonial

  • Still shot of workers at a production line machine control panel at WS Steel

    WS Steel Customer Testimonial (2:18)

    WS Steel replaced spot welds with 3M™ VHB™ Tape to simplify their panel and stiffener attachment processes, saving time and achieving a 20% drop in manufacturing costs.

We're here to help.

Need help finding the right product for your project? Contact us if you need product, technical or application advice or want to collaborate with a 3M technical specialist, or give us a call at 1-800-831-0658.

Need help finding the right product for your project? Contact us if you need product, technical or application advice or want to collaborate with a 3M technical specialist, or give us a call at 1-800-831-0658.

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