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Dukane’s New NRG Laser Plastic Welding & Lightsync UI technology is increasing its application in other verticals, specifically the Automotive space.

Dukane’s New NRG Laser Plastic Welding & Lightsync UI technology

Plastic Laser Welding

In recent years, applications for unique laser plastic welding solutions have grown in the automotive sector. The need for newer plastic components and devices that are more economical and consistently assembled has increased interest in laser plastic welding.

Nearly two decades old, plastic laser welding is gradually gaining a foothold in the plastics joining universe. It started as a niche welding method providing specialized welds for cutting-edge applications that could not be joined by traditional methods. In the beginning, costs were high, and custom solutions didn’t exist.

Today, Dukane’s available technology in this field is becoming less expensive and more widely accepted as a viable solution that adds money to the bottom line.

Dukane has long been a global provider of plastic laser welding equipment designed to provide professionals in the automotive industry with robust, effective, and controllable welding equipment and solutions that meet stringent CAFE regulations while meeting and hopefully exceeding customers' expectations

Laser Plastic Welding Applications

The lower acquisition cost and higher demand for the systems themselves are driving the cost to adopt plastic laser welding down. In fact, the cost of a standard laser welding system is now on par with traditional methods such as ultrasonic and hot plate welding.

Currently, you can find the majority of applications in three major industries: automotive, medical, and consumer products. However, with the cost barrier alleviated, plastic laser welding is beginning to look more attractive to a broader range of applications and is growing its overall usage in the automotive vertical year over year.

The automotive industry created the foundation for plastic laser welding. The original use was welding housings for electronic components. It is a simple task, but as electronics become more prevalent in cars (approaching 35% of the total cost of a vehicle), protecting those electronics is becoming increasingly important.

A stress-free, reliable, and highly monitored process allows for tightly sealed plastic housings with no additional material costs and a near-perfect reject rate. The high-volume applications in the automotive industry clearly benefit from such a process. The flexibility of plastic laser welding does not stop there. Using robots, Dukane has expanded its abilities in the automotive industry to include instrument clusters, tail lights, and fluid reservoirs for power steering and brakes. Clean, strong joints have long been sought after for automotive lamp assembly ever since plastics replaced glass for exterior lighting. Laser welding is a stress-free process that creates less particulate and much cleaner, aesthetically appealing joints. Newer emerging applications for plastic laser welding have been for lighted brand emblems on exterior panels of vehicles. But looking further ahead, possibly even more important is its ability to work on large, free-form shapes with complex curves, a vice of most traditional welding methods. There has been a pronounced interest for usage in Electric vehicles as well. The possibilities are endless.

Dukane NRG Platform is an Automotive Industry Leader

The Dukane NRG platform is an industry leader in this area, with its new easy-to-use LightSync user interface allowing for the easy handling of small and large batches of automotive Parts. Lightsync’s plug-n-play compatibility will enable users to easily interface with Dukane’s NRG laser bonding systems from Machine to CAD to Diagnostics, consistent set-up, repeatability, and create genuinely custom process solutions that fit their monitoring and adjustment needs to a “T.” If you are looking for a platform that will address your needs specifically, look no more, NRG/Lightsync is the answer. It allows for incredible bonding solutions and the ability for users to endlessly adjust system parameters without requiring a programmer or even switching applications. Truly revolutionary.

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The NRG X Series comes with small, medium, and large footprints in order to accommodate any laser welding need, minimizing the use of valuable assembly line space. The entire NRG line has limitless options, and they all operate in a genuinely particulate-free welding environment that allows for infinite process control paths. This new technology also offers 1 or 2uM welding capabilities, allowing manufacturers to create incredible bonding outcomes on colored and non-colored plastics. The 1-micron configuration is used in the auto industry because it will enable the laser to go through the transparent top layer of plastic to heat the laser-absorbing lower layer and then conduct up to create a bond between the two. This configuration is readily accepted as the norm in the automotive vertical. 2uM welding capabilities have yet to be applied, but keep your eyes on the future.

The Future of Plastic Laser Welding

With so many potential uses and the ever-diminishing cost barrier, Dukane’s plastic laser welding adoption will likely increase in uses within the automotive industry while also expanding into new industries. The process allows for unprecedented flexibility in joint designs, precision, and materials, making it ideal for innovative welding applications. Its full potential is yet to be realized!

As the Automobile vertical continues its adoption of Plastic Laser Welding in its assembly processes, the industry is speculating that there will be a 10%-20% increase as more and more functional usages are defined and accepted in the ever-present search for better ROI in the industry. Can you say Hydrogen Fuel Cells?