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Jun 10, 2019

Emerging Technologies: An Introduction to Particulate Free Welding

Shivani Singh

Eliminate particulate from your welding process and produce cleaner plastic parts with stronger welds and better aesthetics by using technologies designed to heat plastic parts and create a molecular bond between two pieces without generating any particles during the process.

What do you get?

  • Stronger welds by using contact less and targeted heat sources to melt the weld seam without causing any mechanical stress on the parts.
  • No contamination from plastic particles from the welding process, because these technologies heat and melt the weld seam without any friction or impact between the two components.
  • Aesthetically superior components because of no particles and very low mechanical stress.

Why you need particulate free welding technologies?

  • Produce cleaner under the hood applications, which are sensitive functional devices with multiple welding operations on one part, where any particle contamination can cause loss of performance or function failure.
  • Design and assemble exquisite tail lights as the jewelry of the vehicle by using cleaner welding process.
  • Produce disposable medical devices, surgical devices, diagnostic devices, and other components on large scale in a clean room environment.
  • Assemble aesthetically pleasing, cost effective and durable products for electronics, home appliances and consumer goods industries.

Following we discuss three emerging technologies offering Particulate Free Welding for plastic parts.

Infrared Welding: Weld area is heated by direct infrared exposure using an infrared emitter for a sufficient length of time to produce a molten layer. Once the surface is melted the IR emitter is withdrawn, then the parts are pressed together, and the melt solidifies to form a bond.

Benefits:

  • Fast, non-contact, particulate free welding method which produces smooth flash fully attached to the part.
  • Easily joins the widest variety of plastic parts with different shapes and sizes
  • Strong welds, hermetic seal.
  • Ability to join different materials, e. g. TPE with PP (Glass Filled 30%)
  • Ability to join polyethylene, PVC, polypropylene, composite reinforced plastics, polyamides PC, PCABS.

Automotive, medical, consumer goods and many other industries uses this method to join plastic components. Material degradation and damaging internal components during the welding process are the two issues that manufacturers may face when using this process.

Hot Gas Welding: Heated nitrogen gas flows through custom-built nozzles to heat the weld seam without contacting them. The heat source is targeted and just like infrared or hot plate welding, once the plastic is molten the heat source is withdrawn, and parts are pressed together to form the bond.

Check out the video to learn more.

Benefits:

  • Heated nitrogen flowing through custom built nozzles of different heights heat complex 3D weld beads evenly.
  • Exceptional long-term weld strength and part performance under critical operational conditions like, high temperatures, pressure, pressure pulsation, and use of aggressive media like Ethylene glycol, because by using heated nitrogen (an inert gas) it eliminates oxidation in the welding seam.
  • No residue in the welding seam and no material degradation.
  • Tool design also allows precise adaption to potential warpage or shrinkage of the parts.
  • Repeatability of weld depths with an accuracy of less or equal to 1/10mm (injection part quality assumed)
  • Ability to join materials with high reinforcement contents (proven for up to 60% glass filled)
  • Possibility to combine multiple welding operations in one HGW tool / HGW machine

Well suited to join semi crystalline materials, especially PA6, PA6.6, PPS and PPA with or without reinforcements. Automotive parts (clean air ducts, intake manifolds, reservoir) transporting complex media, multi piece function-integrated parts (Oil mist separators, radar sensors, cylinder head covers) or large tail lights with complex weld beads have benefited the most by using this clean welding process. Rear lighting applications with internal components.

Laser Welding: Controlled amount of laser beam is passed through the transparent, or transmitting, part to the absorbing part. This absorption results in heating and melting of the interface and allows the parts to be welded.

Benefits:

  • Clean welds and no flash with localized heat input and highly controlled melting process.
  • Minimal mechanical stress and residues on inner components because of the non-contact process with no vibration or other damaging mechanical forces during the weld.
  • Consistent weld quality and a highly repeatable welding process is achieved by utilizing a controlled and consistent heat input, and precision clamping with no relative motion of parts during the cycle. 

Laser Welding process is best suited for joining medical devices, housings containing sensitive electronics and delicate parts because there is no risk of outgassing residue on the parts or damaging internal components. Initial investments for laser systems are typically higher, however when the whole production chain and cost of ownership is taken in consideration, this assembly process results in significant savings, as operations and maintenance costs are significantly lower than any other assembly techniques.

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