Manufacturing throughout history has used many different combinations of attachment methods to keep parts together. Some may think of bolts, screws, and rivets as the best way to affix parts so that don’t come apart. While that may work well for some materials, it just adds complexity and cost for plastics parts. There is a better way: ultrasonic welding.
What is Ultrasonic Welding?
Ultrasonic welding is an assembly process that uses high-frequency ultrasonic acoustic vibrations to create a solid-state plastic weld. The parts are held together with pressure in a fixture or a holding jig while the vibrations melt the substrate to create a fixed connection. Ultrasonic welding is commonly used for plastics, and a great option for joining dissimilar materials.
How Does SEA-LECT Plastics Use Ultrasonic Welding?
Ultrasonic welding uses frictional heat generated from high-frequency mechanical motion to melt plastics. It’s commonly used in food and drink selections, electronic assemblies, medical devices, and automotive parts. If you look through our website, you will find many products we manufacture for our partners utilizing ultrasonic welding. Here is one example we use ultrasonic welding on:
SEA-LECT Plastics manufactures tumblers in a 16oz or 24oz utilizing an ultrasonic welded double shell to keep drinks well insulated. There is an option to add printed inserts, patches, stickers, and other option during the process to make them unique.
Why Does SEA-LECT Plastics Use Ultrasonic Welding?
Ultrasonic welding may seem like it can’t handle the stress and strain, or be as strong and durable as another fastener. Why we choose this assembly method in some cases is because it has proven to offer excellent reliability, long-term durability, and corrosion resistance in harsh environments. You don’t have to be concerned for stripped fasteners during initial or reassembly of components, corrosion due to dissimilar materials being used.
Here are other benefits and reasons we employ ultrasonic welding in our turnkey solutions:
- No extra materials are needed, such as solvents, adhesives, or mechanical fasteners. That can reduce the assembly line set-up time, minimize process costs, and contribute to a clean work area.
- The ultrasonic welding process will not contaminate the final product and leaves a clean assembly when finished.
- The ultrasonic welding equipment is easy to maintain and does not require an extensive maintenance program. Assembly personnel can use a simple TPM schedule to keep the process efficient and optimized.
- The ultrasonic welding process is done in seconds, not minutes.
- Beyond permanently connected components, the process offers additional flexibility, such as adding threaded inserts.
Is it Always the Best Process to Use?
While ultrasonic welding has many great applications, one area that it doesn’t offer a performance advantage in are for assembled components that may require disassembly in the future. A process using mechanical fasteners like screws may need to be disassembled. Ultrasonic welding offers a permanent attachment method. If your product needs to be disassembled for any reason, welding may not be the best choice for mechanical attachment.
We use many fastening methods for assembly, including ultrasonic welding. Our customer and in-house designed and assembled products range from military grade assemblies to the outdoor industry. Our experts can advise you on what may be the best option for your new product idea or how to change your current product to reduce cost, increase productivity, and also increase quality. Just keep in mind that ultrasonic welding should be designed in as the process for maximum durability. Adding it later may require design changes to the parts to make it an efficient and effective attachment method.