A Beginner’s Guide To The World Of Plastic Welding

Plastic welding may well not be a term you’re particularly familiar with, but the chances are high that in your daily life you use a wide range of equipment and tools that rely on the technology – in particular, in the automotive and medical industries as well as general consumer manufacturing. 

Plastic welding is widely used in manufacturing and production – and the technique is growing in popularity due to its versatility, aesthetics, cost-effectiveness and the resulting strength of the final materials it can produce.

What is plastic welding?

Before discussing the various uses of plastic welding in manufacturing, it might first be a good idea to define exactly what the term means.

There are three main phases to the plastic welding process – namely the pressing stage, heating process and cooling down phase. 

In the process of plastic welding, two thermoplastics that share similar characteristics and compatibilities are bonded molecularly through a form of heating process, very often using hot air tools. The primary differences in the types of plastic welding production are in the type of heating that is performed and the equipment that’s used.

What determines the type of plastic welding used in production?

In a plastic welding production job, a skilled technician will determine the best process to use based on several different factors, including:

Size and shape of the final object: One of the main defining factors when choosing which plastic welding production system to use is the desired size and shape of the final product.

The type of plastic being used in the production process: Different plastics act in different ways and, as such, there is no such thing as a one size fits all approach to plastic welding manufacturing. Rather, plastic welding specialists will use different production methods based on the plastic materials that are being used in the manufacturing process.

Cool-down cycle time: In larger or more complex plastic welding production jobs, the cool-down phase of a job (i.e. the time it takes for the equipment to cool down between stages of production) can often be a determining factor. 

What are the main types of plastic welding?

It’s generally accepted there are six main types of plastic welding production, each with its own advantages and disadvantages:

  • Laser welding: Highly efficient and results in a very clean weld. However, due to the dangers of radiation from using lasers, this process needs a highly skilled technician so tends to be less common.
  • Hot plate welding: Can often result in high production costs but this method is particularly good for complex weld projects. As the name suggests, this method uses a hot plate to apply heat.
  • Spin welding: Spin welding uses the heat caused by friction to make the weld.
  • Ultrasonic welding: As this name suggests, ultrasonic welding uses the power created from energy transmissions to create the weld.
  • Linear vibration welding: Uses the heat created by friction between two plastics as one moves against the other, after which pressure is applied to create the bond.
  • Orbital vibration welding: Another technique that uses friction to generate heat before the pressing stage.


Ramone

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