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Ultrasonic welding of thermoplastic materials is a weld technology utilizing mechanical vibrations to generate heat due to molecular friction. These vibrations excite the molecules in the plastic so that they start moving. The plastic becomes soft and starts melting. The components are bonded by cohesive or form-fit joints After a short hold time under pressure, they are firmly joined molecularly.
Ultrasonic weld technology
Ultrasonic joining technology has been established as joining method for technical thermoplastic materials in a large variety of applications throughout the plastic-processing industry.
- high process speeds
- repeatable weld results
the technology is preferred for high-volume production in the automotive, electrical, medical, packaging, hygiene, and filter industry.
Good bonding quality in terms of strength, tightness and visual appearance are particularly achieved if the part material and design is suited for the ultrasonic process. This means that from the beginning they must be designed such that ultrasonic waves are focused in the weld zone.
The secret of ultrasonic welding is focusing the ultrasound with an energy director. In this way, it is possible to generate heat and subsequently melt, restricted to a locally defined area, while using only little energy. Large-area contact surfaces are counterproductive; they require high power and only achieve undefined joining areas with poor strength.
Energy focusing is achieved by:
- the energy director (ED)
- sonotrode design
- contouring of the anvil profile
Possibilities of energy focusing due to variations in the joint design
Focusing by weld geometry of the plastic part. Thus, injection molded, thermoformed, or blow-molded parts often have specially shaped zones within the joining area. This is referred to as joint design, e.g. in the form of a tip or an edge. These special geometric features are the energy directors (ED). With the help of these defined, small contact surfaces, it is possible to apply the ultrasonic energy into the joining area in a targeted and locally defined manner.
Possibilities of energy focusing due to variations in sonotrode design
Focusing by the sonotrode shape (weld tool); e.g. during the ultrasonic staking process, the sonotrode assumes the task of energy concentration.
The centering tip serves as melting initiation aid.
Possibilities of energy focusing due to variations in anvil structures
Focusing by means of contouring of the anvil structure for web materials such as film, cardboard, and nonwovens. Local deformation is achieved by anvil or sonotrode