Inadequate Glue Leaves Kitchen Components Maker in Sticky Situation
22nd November 2017Back to articles
Manufacturing supply chains can be lengthy and a flaw in a single link can lead to problems for more than one of those involved.
In one case, an adhesives company was left facing a substantial damages bill after supplying a glue that was not reliably up to the job of holding together thousands of kitchen unit doors.
The manufacturer of the doors had installed a new, robot-assisted production line and was prevailed upon by the company to use one of its products in gluing together their MDF and PVC layers.
About two years later, the manufacturer began to receive a stream of complaints from customers that the PVC layers were peeling away.
After the manufacturer stopped using the glue, it launched proceedings against the adhesives company alleging, amongst other things, breach of contract.
The company argued that the manufacturer had failed to use the glue properly and that it would have performed its task if applied correctly and in sufficient quantities.
In upholding the manufacturer's claim, the High Court found that the probable cause of the problem was that, over time, water and wax had migrated from the MDF layer, resulting in failure of the laminate.
That had happened to about 6 per cent of the manufacturer's doors, a rate which was inordinate and unacceptable.
The adhesives company had not taken adequate account of the presence of wax in the MDF layer and was thus in breach of an implied term of the contract that the glue would be suitable for the purpose for which it was intended.
The amount of compensation due to the manufacturer has yet to be calculated.
Giving an undertaking – explicitly or implicitly – that something you supply will do a particular job adequately makes it an implied contract term.
For advice on the negotiation of contracts which protect your commercial interests to the full, contact our commercial team.
If you wish to make a claim against one of your suppliers or contractors please contact a member of our litigation team.