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  1. ULTRASONIC WELDING Ultrasonic welding is an industrial technique whereby two pieces of plastic or metal are joined together seamlessly through high-frequency acoustic vibrations. One component to be welded is placed upon a fixed anvil, with the second component being placed on top. An extension ("horn") connected to a transducer is lowered down onto the top component, and a very rapid (~20,000 Hz), low-amplitude acoustic vibration is applied to a small welding zone. The acoustic energy is converted into heat energy by friction, and the parts are welded together in less than a second

  2. Unique - no connective bolts, nails, soldering materials, or adhesives are necessary to bind the two parts together. • Thus, saves on manufacturing costs and creates unnoticeable seams in products where appearance is important. • A largely automated process • But, it is only applied to small components - watches, cassettes, plastic products, toys, medical tools, and packaging. • For example, the chassis of an automobile cannot be assembled with ultrasonic welding because the energies involved in welding larger components would be prohibitive.

  3. In 1960 Sonobond Ultrasonics, originally known as Aeroprojects Incorporated, developed the first metal ultrasonic welding machine to be awarded a United States Patent • Since early 90s, rapid developments occured • The range of materials that can be joined together using this technique is increasing

  4. Earlier, only non-flexible plastics could be welded because their material properties allowed the efficient transmission of acoustic energy from part to part. • Nowadays, less rigid plastics such as semicrystalline plastics can be welded because large amounts of acoustic energy can be applied to the welding zone. • As the technology matures and becomes more versatile, it is likely to obsolete large classes of historical techniques for joining materials together.

  5. Ultrasonic welding. When bonding material through ultrasonic welding, the energy required comes in the form of mechanical vibrations. The welding tool (sonotrode) couples to the part to be welded and moves it in longitudinal direction. The part to be welded on remains static. Now the parts to be bonded are simultaneously pressed together. The simultaneous action of static and dynamic forces causes fusion of the parts without having to use additional material. This procedure is used on an industrial scale for linking both plastics and metals • Anvil • Parts to be welded • Sonotrode • Ultrasonic oscillation Differences in the process for welding plastics and metals with ultrasonics

  6. Systems are composed of the same basic elements: • A press to put the 2 parts to be assembled under pressure • A nest or anvil where the parts are placed, allowing the high frequency vibration to be directed to the interfaces • An ultrasonic stack composed of a converter or piezoelectrictransducer, • An optional booster and a sonotrode (Horn). All three elements of the stack are specifically tuned to resonate at the same exact ultrasonic frequency (Typically 20, 30, 35 or 40 kHz) • Converter: Converts the electrical signal into a mechanical vibration • Booster: Modifies the amplitude of the vibration. It is also used in standard systems to clamp the stack in the press. • Sonotrode: Applies the mechanical vibration to the parts to be welded. An electronic ultrasonic generator (US: Power supply) delivering a high power AC signal with frequency matching the resonance frequency of the stack. A controller controlling the movement of the press and the delivery of the ultrasonic energy

  7. The mechanisms during ultrasonic metal welding • Principle of ultrasonic metal welding • 1. Sonotrode • 2, 3 Parts to be joined • 4. Anvil • 5. Welding area

  8. Applications • The applications are extensive and are in many industries including electrical and computer, automotive and aerospace, medical, and packaging. • Too thick pieces cannot be joined. This is the main obstacle in the welding of metals. • However, wires, microcircuit connections, sheet metal, foils, ribbons and meshes are often joined using ultrasonic welding. • Ultrasonic welding is a very popular technique for bonding thermoplastics. It is fast and easily automated with weld times often below one second and there is no ventilation system required to remove heat or exhaust. • This type of welding is often used to build assemblies that are too small, too complex, or too delicate for more common welding techniques

  9. Computer & electrical industries • Used to join wired connections and to create connections in small, delicate circuits. Junctions of wire harnesses are often joined using ultrasonic welding • Wire harnesses are large groupings of wires used to distribute electrical signals and power. • Electric motors, field coils, transformers and capacitors may also be assembled with ultrasonic welding. • It is also often preferred in the assembly of storage media such as flash drives and computer disks because of the high volumes required. Ultrasonic welding of computer disks has been found to have cycle times of less than 300 ms. • Mostly used in microcircuits, since it creates reliable bonds without introducing impurities or thermal distortion into components. Semiconductor devices, transistors and diodes are often connected by thin aluminum and gold wires using ultrasonic welding.It is also used for bonding wiring and ribbons as well as entire chips to microcircuits. An example: in medical sensors used to monitor the human heart in bypass patients. • Has the ability to join dissimilar materials. Example: The assembly of battery components. When creating battery and fuel cell components, thin gauge copper, nickel and aluminum connections, foil layers and metal meshes are often ultrasonically welded together. Multiple layers of foil or mesh can often be applied in a single weld eliminating steps and cost.

  10. Aerospace & automotive industries • Used in the assembly of large plastic components and electrical components such as instrument panels, door panels, lamps, air ducts, steering wheels, upholstery and engine components. As plastics are replacing other materials in the design and manufacture of automobiles, the assembly and joining of plastic components has increasingly become a critical issue. Some of the advantages for ultrasonic welding are low cycle times, automation, low capital costs, and flexibility. Also, ultrasonic welding does not damage surface finish, which is a crucial consideration for many car manufacturers, because the high-frequency vibrations prevent marks from being generated. • Used in the aerospace industry when joining thin sheet gauge metals and other lightweight materials. Aluminum which is a difficult metal to weld using traditional techniques because of its high thermal conductivity, is one of the easier materials to weld using ultrasonic welding because it is a softer alloy metal and thus a solid-state weld is simple to achieve. • Also, with the advent of new composite materials, ultrasonic welding is becoming even more prevalent. It has been used in the bonding of the popular composite material carbon fiber. Numerous studies have been done to find the optimum parameters that will produce quality welds for this material.

  11. Medical industry • USW does not introduce contaminants or degradation into the weld and the machines can be specialized for use in clean rooms. • The process can also be highly automated, provides strict control over dimensional tolerances and does not interfere with the biocompatibility of parts. • Thus increases part quality and decreases production costs. • Items such as arterial filters, anesthesia filters, blood filters, IV catheters, dialysis tubes, pipettes, cardiometry reservoirs, blood/gas filters, face masks and IV spike/filters can all be made using ultrasonic welding. • Another important application is in textiles. Items like hospital gowns, sterile garments, masks, transdermal patches and textiles for clean rooms can be sealed and sewn using ultrasonic welding. This prevents contamination and dust production and reduces the risk of infection.

  12. Packaging industry • Many everyday items are either created or packaged using ultrasonic welding techniques. • Eg: Sealing containers, tubes and blister packs .Also in the packaging of dangerous materials such as explosives, fireworks and other reactive chemicals. These items tend to require hermetic sealing but cannot be subjected to high temperatures. • One example of this application is the container for a butane lighter. This container weld must be able to withstand high pressure and stress and must be airtight to contain the butane. • Another example is the packaging of ammunition and propellants- which must be able to withstand high pressure and stresses in order to protect the consumer from the contents. When sealing hazardous materials safety is a primary concern. Thus, the reliability and automation of this process are strong benefits for companies. • It is fast, sanitary and can produce hermetic seals. Milk and juice containers are examples of some products that are often sealed using ultrasonic welding. • The paper parts to be sealed are coated with plastic, generally polypropylene or polyethylene, and then welded together to create an airtight seal. The main obstacle to overcome in this process is the setting of the parameters. If over-welding occurs then the concentration of plastic in the weld zone may be too low and cause the seal to break. If it is under-welded the seal is incomplete. Also, variations in the thicknesses of materials can cause variations in weld quality. Therefore, the preparation is extremely important. Other food items that are sealed include candy bar wrappers, frozen food packages and beverage containers.

  13. In summary, It is increasing in popularity throughout many of the industries because of low cycle times, automation, low capital costs, flexibility, cleanliness, dimensional reliability and the bonding of dissimilar materials. • Some of the drawbacks of ultrasonic welding are that its use is limited by the thickness of the materials, it may require expensive specialized tooling and it may generate noise. As these drawbacks are overcome by continually developing technologies, it will be interesting to see how this unique welding technique continues to be utilized.

  14. Safety There are risk of some hazards: exposure to high heat levels and voltages. This equipment to be operated using the safety guidelines provided by the manufacturer in order to avoid injury. Must never place hands or arms near the welding tip when the machine is activated. Also, operators should be provided with hearing protection and safety glasses. Operators should be informed of the OSHA regulations for the ultrasonic welding equipment and these regulations should be enforced. • Machines must receive routine maintenance and inspection. Panel doors, housing covers and protective guards need to be removed for maintenance with the power to the equipment off and only by the trained professional who is servicing the machine. • Sub-harmonic vibrations may create annoying audible noise, may be in larger parts near the machine due to the ultrasonic welding frequency. This noise can be dampened by clamping these large parts at one or more locations. Also, high-powered welders with frequencies of 15 kHz and 20 kHz typically emit a potentially damaging high-pitched squeal in the range of human hearing. Shielding this radiating sound can be done using an acoustic enclosure. • In short, there are hearing and safety concerns with ultrasonic welding that are important to consider, but generally they are comparable to those of other welding techniques.

  15. Bibliography • Assembly Magazine (2007). Welding Still Ensures High-Strength Joints, Ultrasonic Welding Retrieved on 2008-03-13. • American Welding Society (1997). Jefferson’s Welding Encyclodpedia. USA: American Welding Society. ISBN 0-87171-506-6. • American Welding Society (2001). Welding Handbook: Welding Science and Technology. USA: American Welding Society. ISBN 0-87171-657-7. • Ahmed, Nasir (Ed.), (2005). New Developments in Advanced Welding. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press LLC. ISBN-10: 0-8493-3469-1. • Grewell, David A.; Benatar, Avraham; & Park, Joon B. (Eds), (2003). Plastics and Composites Welding Handbook. Cincinnati, Ohio: Hanser Gardner Publications, Inc. ISBN 1-56990-313-1. • Harras, B.; Cole, K. C.; & Vu-Khanh, T. (1996) Optimization of the Ultrasonic Welding of PEEK-Carbon Composites. Retrieved on 2008-02-24. • Plastics Design Library (1997). Handbook of Plastics Joining: A Practical Guide. Norwich, New York: Plastics Design Library. ISBN 1-884207-17-0. • Plastics Technology (2008). Close Up on Technology: Top 50 Update - Who Was First In Hot Runners, Ultrasonic Welding & PET? Retrieved on 2008-03-13. • The Welding Institute (2007). Ultrasonic Welding Technique. Retrieved on 2008-02-24.