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Solving Complex Problems with Plastic Tube Welding and Bending

by Last updated Apr 18, 2024 | Published on Sep 27, 2017Pipe & Tube Bending

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Plastic components are frequently used in applications where metal components could corrode or decay due to the gas or liquids being transported. We see this often in the medical device, chemical manufacturing, semiconductor, and life sciences industries. Companies in each of these industries face complex challenges that can be solved by plastic tube bending and welding.

Perhaps even more so than fabricating with metals, plastic manufacturing requires a high level of skill and expertise to ensure the integrity of the bends and welds. Our qualified technicians can weld and bend plastics to fit almost any shape and/or space requirements, without the need for adding multiple joints and fixtures.

Plastic Welding

Plastics, and more specifically, thermoplastics, are extremely versatile, and therefore can be used to create a variety of designs.  Plastic tube welding, when done with precision, can be used to produce strong and complex systems that meet our customers’ exacting project requirements. 

How It’s Done

Plastic tube welding describes the process that is used to join two plastic components together. There are three main steps to plastic welding:

1. Surface Preparation

First, the technician will check each plastic component for defects. The plastic components are often cleaned, and/or abraded in order to aid in the welding process. 

2. Welding Applications

Plastic tube welding can be performed in several ways. It is often performed with the use of heat, though it can also be done through use of a chemical solvent, depending on the type of plastics being joined. PVC, for example, is sometimes welded with the use of dichloromethane. This chemical temporarily dissolves the chemical bond in PVC, which allows the plastic component to be changed before the bond is restored.

Using heat, the plastic can be softened to make it easier to work with. Heat can be applied by using steam, hot gas, a welding rod, a laser, or a hot plate. While the plastic components are soft, they are put in a vise, where pressure is applied to the pieces, causing the edges to bond together. Consistent pressure must be applied to ensure the quality and integrity of the weld.

Axenics performs plastic welding by using a process called hot gas welding. This process is also known as heat fusion or butt welding. Our thermoplastic tube welding process involves using Nitrogen gas and heat to join two polymer-based products, resulting in the creation of a strong and stable bond.

3. Cooling 

Once the welding process is complete, the newly formed product is left to cool. Pressure may continue to be applied during the cooling process, to help the product retain its shape. If pressure is not applied during cooling, the shape of the product is sometimes altered from the material shrinking.

Plastic Tube Bending

Plastic tube bending is another good solution for building systems where space is limited or a specific shape is required. It can also be a good alternative to welding, as it reduces the need for joints and fittings within the overall assembly. The benefits of plastic tube bending include savings in cost, space and time.

When performing plastic tube bending, it’s crucial that the correct amount of heat is applied in a consistent manner to the tube being bent. This helps to avoid the development of kinks, which can cause restrictions in liquid or chemical flow, and ultimately disrupt the entire system. 

Axenics Plastic Tube Bending and Welding

Axenics is capable of bending and welding the following polymer-based materials:

  • Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE/FPA)
  • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
  • Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride (CPVC)
  • Polypropylene (PP)
  • High density polyethylene (HDPE)
  • Polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF)

When performing plastic tube welding, Axenics uses our N2S100 Nitrogen Saver, which allows us to minimize Nitrogen waste, resulting in a significant cost savings for us and our customers. The Nitrogen Saver eliminates Nitrogen waste by automatically switching to compressed air when the heating torch is not being used. Additionally, Axenics tests all of our welds to ensure the integrity and strength of the welds meets or exceeds customer expectations before the final product is delivered.

With more than 30 years of experience, our certified technicians are highly skilled at the welding, joining and bending of plastic tubing for simple and complex assembly systems. There aren’t many organizations that have the skills necessary to bend and weld Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). Along with traditional tube bending and welding, Axenics also performs custom tube bending, as well as developing specialty piping kits to meet a variety of business challenges for our customers.

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