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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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Fabric & Film Processing Techniques

Ultrasonic Plunge Bonding used to join a wide variety of materials such as woven, nonwovens, knit and films. The material is held stationary while the horn descends to make contact. Typical plunge applications include filters, facemasks, straps, belts, and clamshell packages. This process is ideal for hook & loop straps applications.

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Ultrasonic Slitting is a preferred process of Cutting and Sealing various fabrics and films. It can be used in Web Direction and Cross Web applications. Many versions and frequency of Ultrasonic Slitting are available to meet different application requirements and cost. Dukane’s Slitting systems are designed to provide maximum tooling life of both the Horn and Anvil. It also provides the traditional Ultrasonic Sealed edges on Fabrics and Films.

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Narrow Gauge Slitting is the process that uses multiple slitting anvils under one horn to achieve multiple Ultrasonic Slits. it is commonly used in web direction. Slitting anvil positions can be adjusted under the Ultrasonic horn for wider range of product sizes. Film & Fabric edges are ultrasonically sealed during the process. This process can significantly reduce cost by using single station to ultrasonically Slit & seal multiple widths/tapes at one time.

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Traverse Slitting is a Cross Web process used for Ultrasonically Cutting and Sealing film and fabric materials. It is used for cut to length application and is often combined with Narrow Gauge Slitting and Ultrasonic Slitting methods. This process splices materials together and provides a workable seam, saving material cost. Traverse Slitting can be used as a simple single system or incorporated into a fully automated line.

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Material Considerations

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.


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

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

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

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

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.


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.


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