What is Film & Fabric Processing?

Ultrasonic Fabric & film processing is the bonding, slitting, or sealing of fabrics and films containing thermoplastic material(s). Typical thermoplastic materials found in fabrics and films include acrylics, nylon, polyester, polyethylene, polypropylene, polyvinylchloride, and urethane. Products from the textile, apparel, nonwovens, packaging, medical and automotive industries all benefit from the fast, clean, and economical fabric & film processing techniques.

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Material Consideration

The fabrics and films best suited to ultrasonic processing contain thermoplastic materials with similar melting temperatures and compatible molecular structure. These materials have many of the following characteristics:

  • A broad melting range
  • Uniform thickness
  • A high coefficient of friction
  • 65% min. thermoplastic content
  • Sufficient rigidity and thickness to accept energy at the material interface
    (0.0005 inch/0.0127mm minimum)

Polyester is considered to be a good material for ultrasonic applications. However, ultrasonics can produce strong, neat stitches in both Nylon 6 and Nylon 6/6. Most polyolefins (Polypropylene and Polyethylene) also have good ultrasonic welding characteristics and are one of the lightest weight materials. Characteristics of the most common thermoplastics and their typical fabric and film uses are listed below in order of preference.

Fabric Types and Films

Fabrics are classified into five categories as listed here; Films however have only one category.

Fabrics-Woven
Construction
Formed by the regular interweaving of filaments or yarns, in two directions perpendicular to one another.

Factors Influencing Weldability
Thread density, tightness of weave and uniformity of material thickness. Weld strength may vary due to the perpendicular orientation of filaments or yarns.

Fabrics – Nonwovens
Construction
Formed by bonding and/or interlocking fibers, yarns or filaments by mechanical, thermal or solvent means.

Factors Influencing Weldability
Uniformity of material thickness and thermoplastic content. The random orientation of fibers gives nonwovens excellent strength.

Fabrics – Knits
Construction
Formed by interconnecting continuous loops of filaments or yarns.

Factors Influencing Weldability
Thermoplastic content, style of knit and elasticity of material. Elasticity of knits may affect the trueness of the weld in continuous

Fabrics – Coated Materials
Construction
Fabrics and films covered with a layer of thermoplastic such as polyethylene or urethane. The base material need not be thermoplastic (e.g. coated cardboard)

Factors Influencing Weldability
Coating material and its thickness

Fabrics – Laminates
Construction
Fabrics and films consisting of two or more dissimilar layers in a sandwich form.

Factors Influencing Weldability
The mating surface should have a lower melting temperature than the other layers.

Films
Construction
Formed from the thermoplastic material which has been cast, extruded or blown into a film, generally under 0.01 inch (0.25mm) thick.

Factors Influencing Weldability
Film thickness, density and thermoplastic material characteristics.

Weldability
Many factors influence the weldability of the various fabric and film types. Please send in your material to our laboratory for free feasibility testing.