Joining Technologies


Laser microwelding

A contract manufacturer specializes in laser microwelding operations for joining small metal parts. A clean process that does not require material preparation, additive materials, or postprocess curing or cleaning, laser microwelding facilitates the manufacture of complex designs and geometries while delivering precision seam welds. The process can provide welds on angles, tilts, and circumferences, while joining multiple components on multiple axes. In addition, the company can integrate different types of welds, including seam, spot, and butt welds. It employs laser, mechanical, and organizational energy—combined with automation—to prototype, plan, and manufacture medical products and components from a range of materials.
Avicenna Technology Inc.
Montevideo, MN
www.avicennatech.com


LED-curable adhesive for high-speed assembly


A fast, tack-free, LED-curable adhesive is designed for joining a variety of plastics used in the manufacture of medical products. Applications include reservoirs, tube sets, port fittings, drug-delivery devices, pumps, and heat-sensitive substrates. Visible and UV light–curable Ultra-Red 1120-M-UR adhesives fluoresce bright red under low-intensity 365-nm black light. The bright-red fluorescence contrasts well on plastics that naturally fluoresce blue in color, such as PVC, and assists with visual inspection of the bond-line area. Free of nonreactive solvents, these adhesive materials cure in seconds. Bondable substrates include ABS, CAP, PA, PC, PI, PS, PU, PVC, and SAN.
Dymax Corp.
Torrington, CT
www.dymax.com


Staking and joining technologies

Using precisely focused infrared-light energy, staking equipment is used to join medical device components. InfraStake uniformly heats molded plastic; then, an integrated low-force punch forms the material into a permanent shape. The process uses less energy than other staking and joining technologies and provides more-precise control than other joining methods, according to the manufacturer. In addition to this staking technology, the company offers the Rapid Conductor, a high-speed, precision-controlled hot-plate welder that yields fast cycle times while ensuring process control and consistency. The system’s force, distance, and velocity-control capability allows for the processing of difficult-to-weld materials and complex geometries, which have traditionally been assembled using vibration welding. Featuring an intuitive and easy-to-use operator interface, this welder can simplify process adjustments and result in precision welds.
Extol Inc.
Zeeland, MI
www.extolinc.com


Thermal and high-frequency welding equipment


High-frequency (HF) and thermal welding equipment are suitable for the manufacture of an array of medical device applications. Capable of processing a variety of materials—including PVC, PU, EVA, and fabrics—HF technology is used to fabricate disposable blood, feeding, drainage, ostomy, and IV medical bags; pneumatic compression devices for deep-vein thrombosis; and filters for blood bags. Thermal welding is employed in the manufacture of catheters and disposable feeding and IV bags made from PVC-free materials such as PP, PE, and multilayer films. These welding technologies enable the production of single- and multiple-chamber bags, and they also join multiple tubes and a variety of molded ports and components to various films. The company provides equipment with different levels of automation, from fully automatic in-line machines to stand-alone press machines with little or no automation.
Geaf North America
Brighton, MI
www.geaf.it


Ultrasonic welding of thermoplastics


A 20-, 30-, and 35-kHz ultrasonic system for welding thermoplastics features a freely programmable effective stroke and automatic start activation. Providing high generator output of 1200 to 6000 W, the HiQ evolution offers an effective stroke feature that allows for optimized sonotrode motion, which can save pneumatic energy and time. Upon completion of a weld, the sonotrode retracts just far enough to remove a processed part and load a new one. This feature reduces the consumption of compressed air by up to 80%, depending on the topology of the assembled parts, according to the manufacturer. The system’s closed-loop, high-motion-control pneumatic module regulates pneumatic pressure. Based on electronic differential pressure control of the pneumatic cylinder, the module is active along the complete stroke range. The machine’s sonotrode-stack exchange system features a quick-release fastener that allows indexed changes of the preset sonotrode stacks without the need for time-consuming adjustments or tools.
Herrmann Ultrasonics Inc.
Bartlett, IL
www.herrmannultrasonics.com

Published in MPMN, April 2010, Volume 26, No. 3