In this two-part article, we take a look at some recent developments in the use of ultrasonics in plastics processing, where the technology can provide tantalizingly precise and cost-effective alternatives to more traditional welding, trimming and sealing techniques.
iQLogiX™ module simplifies work cells
Dukane Corporation has introduced iQLogiX™, an optional module available for its iQ Series of Ultrasonic Generators, to simplify the configuration of work cells in plastic welding processes.
Simply insert the iQLogiX module into the rear card slot of an iQ Series ultrasonic generator and the UMMA (Ultrasonic Module Menu Adapt) feature of the iQ Series generator populates the menu of the iQ Explorer II user interface with all the programmable options.
Expensive electrical hardware and PLC programming are no longer required to convert an ultrasonic welder from just a simple desktop machine to a sophisticated turnkey work cell.
Keeping trim with TELSONIC ultrasonics
Quality and consistency are essential within the automotive industry, particularly when it comes to cutting and trimming the highly aesthetic components used within the vehicle cabin. There are a number of techniques and processes capable of performing this task, but machine builder and system integrator TEC Systems Limited chose ultrasonic technology from TELSONIC AG to provide a clean, cost-effective and environmentally-friendly solution, within a multi-robot cell used to produce door-cap components for Jaguar cars.
The production cell incorporates four ABB robots, and each has a TELSONIC ultrasonic knife mounted to the robot wrist. The robots work in combination with a rotary indexing system, which enables precision fixturing and presents the component parts for processing.
The system produces the front, rear, left and right hand parts for the Jaguar XE model.
Matrix shows new ultrasonic welding option for VFFS machines
Matrix Packaging Machinery, powered by Pro Mach, showcased an ultrasonic welding option for its Mercury HS vertical form fill seal (VFFS) machines at Pack Expo Las Vegas (September 28-30). Since ultrasonic welding uses low, localized heat, it’s ideal for frozen foods, produce, candy, dairy products such as cheeses, and other heat-sensitive items.
Ultrasonic welding applies precise ultra-high-speed vibrations along a seam. Friction along the edges of the internal layers of a bag generates heat, which melts and bonds the innermost layers. Ultrasonic welding is quick and precise, forming a high quality seal with superior mechanical strength. It consumes less energy, for lower operating costs.
Ultrasonic welding as an alternative for bonding nonwovens
The Herrmann Ultrasonics company points out that ultrasonic welding can join nonwoven materials, even materials of a different kind, and thus replace hot melt stations and heat calenders. Ultrasonic welding is very energy-efficient and offers fast cycle times. A sophisticated control system within the ultrasonic module enables reproducible runs – even when requirements change quickly.
Applications with a grammage of 9 to 85 gsm (grams per square meter) are feasible as well as filtration applications with a much higher grammage of 100 to 800 gsm. Longitudinal seams, cross seams and laminations can be successfully bonded, even where these include modern materials such as foamed material and carbon fibers.
Mastering the weld gap
The patented Microgap Control system by Herrmann Ultrasonics controls the weld gap and ensures uniform weld quality based on a reliable and highly precise mechanical system – even if tools expand thermally or material densities vary. Process visualization and operation of the continuous joining process is controlled by the MICROBOND software via a 10-inch tablet. Web speeds of up to 800 meters/min can be realized – it is possible to extend the operating width by up to several meters. The goal is an economical process that avoids deficient products, reduces down times and raises Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE).
Image courtesy of Herrmann Ultrasonics
Ultrasonic lamination of technical textiles on test calender