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The demand for plastic welding services grows along with the white-hot demand for semiconductor manufacturing. Plastic welding is a specialty of Axenics’ welding experts, and their techniques are profiled in a new article in the March 2021 issue of Welding Journal...
What is Plastics Welding?
Plastics welding is a means to create a molecular bond between two compatible thermoplastics. Plastics welding provides first-rate strength and finished welds are long-lasting, meaning any required replacements and/or repairs will occur way down the line. One way plastic welds prove superior to steel weldments is that chemicals can corrode and contaminate metal, severely decreasing its usefulness in certain applications.
Many industries currently require the use of volatile chemicals, including alternative energy, chemical manufacturing, life science, semiconductor and medical device manufacturers. One of the biggest challenges they face is creating complex components with miniature segments through which liquids and gases can easily pass. For example, plastics welding is used to construct patient-monitoring devices, diagnostic instruments and machinery used in life-saving operations. Plastics welding is a top solution for manufacturing those components for safety purposes and to ensure a longer lifespan of the product.
Plastics Welding Process
There are three main steps to producing plastic weldments:
First, a technician will examine each plastic component for defects. The plastic components are cleaned, and/or abraded in order to assist in the welding process. This can be a time-consuming task, thought it is highly recommended to ensure the welded plastic is top quality. plastic welding. Performing surface preparation thoroughly will reduce oxidation of the plastic and will also help eliminate potential contaminants like dirt. Any contaminants can have a negative effect on the final quality of the product.
Plastics welding can be performed in several ways, and at Axenics, we generally do it via the use of heat. Welding can also be completed through use of a chemical solvent, depending on the type of plastics being melded together.
Plastic can be softened by using heat to make it easier to manage. Heat is applied by using steam, hot gas, a welding rod, a laser or a hot plate. We generally use hot gas welding a.k.a heat fusion or butt welding.
While the plastic components are pliable, they are put in a vise, where pressure is applied to the pieces, causing the edges of the plastic to bond together. Consistent pressure must be applied to ensure the quality and integrity of a weld.
Axenics’ thermoplastic welding process uses Nitrogen and heat to join two polymer-based products, resulting in a weldment with stability and strength.
Once the heating step is complete, the new weldment is given time to cool. Cooling is a necessary step in the effort to solidify the bond that has been created. How this step is performed can have a significant effect on the strength of your finished weld. For example, pressure can still be applied during the cooling step, to assist in shape retention. If pressure is not applied during cooling, the material may shrink and alter the shape of the product, negatively affecting the results.
Plastics Welding Benefits
Plastics welding can be a faster and simpler fabrication process than welding with metals because plastics are generally lighter in weight than many metals. Plastics are also a wise choice for maintaining the safety and reliability of your end product as they are more chemically-resistant than most metals, as stated above.
Other benefits for plastics welding in manufacturing include:
- Plastic weldments also have a strong resistance to acids, alkalis, greases and solvents, hydrogen peroxide, demineralised water and hot steam.
- Plastic welds offer a minimal release of gas under vacuum, which helps maintain a sterile environment.
- Plastic weldments have a strong plasma resistance that reduces the possibility of corrosion.
- Plastic weldments are able to resist thermal degradation and maintain a high operating strength and rigidity in high temperatures.
- Plastic weldments also offer the benefits of good creep and chemical resistance, minimal thermal expansion and good wear resistance.
Plastics welding can provide you with a simplified system that delivers a consistent, highly-repeatable performance. There is also the flexibility of adding sub-systems that can provide multiple flow rates and pressures.
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