High-tech industries adopt ultrasonic welding and cutting
Because many high-tech tools and gadgets have a relatively short lifespan before being superseded by the next model, speed to market—and agility in the production process—provides an edge for manufacturers. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the high-tech manufacturing techniques used for tricky processes such as zero-heat welding of delicate metal electronic components and sensors to plastic mounts, for example—or cutting, bonding and sealing multiple layers of disparate materials.
Ultrasonic welding and cutting has been around since the 1940s, and it was first used on an industrial scale in the plastic toy industry. Nowadays, the use of integrated computer processors and control systems means the range of applications has rocketed in tandem with extremely high accuracy and reliability.
Rinco Ultrasonics has been at the forefront of advanced developments for more than 30 years and has expertise in ultrasonic welding and ultrasonic cutting technology. This is useful in ensuring continuous R&D of new tools and applications—and enables the company to supply a range of modular tools and workstations that can be integrated into special purpose machines or developed into an automation line. They deliver consistently accurate and durable welding results, which can be reproduced ad infinitum. This predictable performance and quality means reliability, especially when considering that a component could have several hundred ultrasonic welds.
Typically, innovation in industrial engineering can be held back by high costs of prototyping. Ultrasonic technology can greatly help by presenting agile, rapid and low-cost alternatives to conventional machining. It represents a very quick joining technology. High-tech industries turn to ultrasonic welding and cutting because it is especially effective with thermoplastics, simplifies injection molding procedures and also does not require pre-heating of metal components. The application is not damaged. The average smartphone, tablet or laptop has very likely been through a manufacturing process where some components were fabricated or assembled using ultrasonic cutting and welding. The automotive and aerospace industry supply chains increasing deploy ultrasonic technology for everything from batteries to satellite navigation devices.
Ultrasonic technology even has applications in the electronics manufacturing industry for applying, or welding, layers to semiconductors, capacitors and other sub-assembly components. The flexibility, speed and accuracy of ultrasonic welding and cutting technology means that new industries are finding applications for it, to boost the performance and efficiency of their existing processes, as well as realizing it as a tool and enabler for low-cost innovation and experimentation.