Plastics' fastening isn't always the most glamorous technology discussion, but it can sure stand in the way of innovative designs. Example: Automotive engineers recently designed a complex-geometry, under-the-hood enclosure that could not be assembled with conventional ultrasonic welders. Custom compounder Techmer Lehvoss of Clinton, TN developed a proprietary pigment formulation for 15 percent glass reinforced nylon 6 that allowed the material to be laser welded. The new compounds produce a pair of materials, one on the top (black in this case) that is laser transmissive, and the other laser absorbing. The laser passes through the top section to the absorbing material underneath, which heats up and forms a tight weld. Techmer Lehvoss is also developing a laser-weldable PBT and then will move on to amorphous materials such as polycarbonate. Meanwhile, new plastics' joining equipment is also creating new opportunities in plastics' design.
Digital Ultrasonic Boosts Power
Expanded capabilities in the new 2000X ultrasonic plastics' assembly systems will create more opportunities for complex engineering design. The units are available with four levels of control: time, energy/amplitude, distance and force. All systems are totally digital and data can be managed through a USB port. Performance is enhanced through increased power levels (400-4,000W). Process control features include closed-loop amplitude control, real-time graphing, primary and secondary control modes and horn comparability. The unit allows Ethernet communications via a remote setup. Diagnostics are possible through X-net software. Other features include a single-board computer, full VGA color touch screen, intuitive parameter entry menus and multiple languages (English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, traditional and simplified Chinese) for global production facilities. Setup parameter storage enables ease of setup and changeover of applications.
Converter Rotates 360 degrees
To further simplify radial horn alignment in a new integrated ultrasonic welder, a high-efficiency snap-in converter rotates 360 degrees. A threaded positive stop provides for fine adjustment and limits the downward travel of the horn. The features are part of a newly launched unit from Sonics & Materials Inc. of Newtown, CT, called the X-Press 20 kHz integrated welder. It's described as an all-in-one welding press with a built-in microprocessor. It has a single-piece rigid cast aluminum machine base and column hub along with front panel pneumatic and microprocessor controls. It is available in 1,200W (Model XP-1200) and 2,200W (Model XP-
2200) and welds in digital time and/or constant energy modes. Other features are digital amplitude control, ultrasonic horn/stack frequency display and timers (for weld, hold, delay and afterburst), with a heavy-duty 3.75-inch steel column diameter (0.50-inch wall thickness), direct in-line air cylinder and a single rail linear slide.
Ideal for Instrument Panels
Bigger parts can be joined in the new Dukane Corp. 3900 Advanced Linear Vibration Welder, which has a a 72-inch wide and 24-inch deep hydraulic lift table. The table structure is guided by four dovetail slides and eight reciprocating bearings. The 3900 can swing an upper tool mass of 250 lb while maintaining a frequency above 200-Hz utilizing a 30-hp digital drive. With these features, Dukane can weld instrument panels, bumpers, large appliance housings and other large plastic assemblies. Large structural parts that have critical surface finishes are ideal applications for the 3900 series welder. With data tracking the quality of these assemblies can be monitored with the Dukane Advanced Control System.