Ultrasonic Welding 101

When you’re looking into bringing a textile product to life, you hear a lot of different terms thrown around. One of those terms is probably “ultrasonic welding.”

What is ultrasonic welding? How does it work? Why would you use it? Find out answers to these questions and more by reading our beginner’s guide to ultrasonic welding below!

What is Ultrasonic Welding?

Ultrasonic welding uses mechanical vibrations to fasten different pieces of material together. These mechanical vibrations are much higher than what humans can hear, so don’t worry about blasting anyone’s eardrums. 

It works by using a sonotrode (also known as a horn) to soften and melt materials so they can be formed together under pressure. 

In the textile industry, ultrasonic welding is used to fuse together fabrics without the need for sewing. 

The Ultrasonic Welding Process 

In order to carry out ultrasonic welding, you need materials and equipment with the right design and mechanical properties. 

Your manufacturing partner will be able to educate you and let you know if your product’s materials are a good fit. 

Here’s how ultrasonic welding works, step-by-step. 

  1. The parts are set in the machine
  2. The sonotrode (horn) is placed against the parts to be welded
  3. The materials are squeezed together under pressure to hold them against each other 
  4. The sonotrode sends ultrasonic vibrations through the materials, heating them up
  5. The materials start to bond as they’re heated and pressed together, creating a weld
  6. After the materials have finished welding together, the sonotrode and pressure are removed

There are a few different factors in the ultrasonic welding process that will yield different results. These are:

  • The frequency of the sound waves (20-40 kHz)
  • Time duration of the sound waves and pressure
  • The amount of force used to hold the materials together

Once again, these different aspects create different results, so how is ultrasonic welding monitored and carried out accurately?

Here’s how: a computer within the machine controls the temperature, duration, and pressure of the operation in order to produce the desired results every time. 

The actual bonding process between the welded materials varies due to their chemical makeup and physical properties. In general, the heat from the vibrations melts them just to the point where they can be pushed together and cooled to create a clean, easy connection. 

Metallic materials are heated just enough to remove metal oxides and films so that the two surfaces can form atomic bonds that don’t require incredibly high temperatures or molten metal.

Plastic materials melt a lot more than metallic ones, due to their chemical makeup and physical properties. The vibrations cause the materials to intermix with one another, creating a heat-sealed weld in under a second.

Ultrasonic Welding Applications 

Computer and Electrical Industries

In computer and electrical industries, ultrasonic welding is used to join wires and create detailed connections for circuit boards. 

Aerospace and Automotive Industry

In automotive industries, ultrasonic welding is used to assemble a wide range of car components such as door panels, instrument panels, air ducts, lamps, steering wheels, upholstery, and engine components.

In aerospace industries, it’s used to fuse together thin sheet metals like aluminum quickly and consistently while reducing waste.

Medical Industry

Since ultrasonic welding involves no additional materials besides the ones being fused together, it eliminates the chance of unknown or contaminant materials being present in the end-products. 

Medical equipment like filters, tubes, pipettes, reservoirs, and other materials are often assembled using ultrasonic welding.

Packaging Industry

Similar to the medical industry, packaging operations often need to eliminate the possibility of contaminants and unwanted materials for safety reasons. 

So, ultrasonic welding is used to create packaging materials for dangerous materials like chemicals and explosive agents. 

Textile Industries

Textile manufacturers often use ultrasonic welding to create seams (instead of sewing) when working with thermoplastic materials. This is cost-effective and helps flexible materials keep their elasticity even after being bonded together. 

Why Use Ultrasonic Welding? 

Ultrasonic welding is especially useful when it’s used in place of sewing. It saves lots of time, materials, and labor. 

Plus, ultrasonic welding is incredibly fast. It only takes a fraction of a second to seal fabrics, plastics, or other materials together with a bond that’s incredibly strong and long-lasting. 

Ultrasonic welding can be used to fuse together a wide variety of materials, especially in the textiles industry. For example, Fairway Products can use ultrasonic welding on nylon, vinyl, polyester, polypropylene, rayon, thermoplastic rubber, plastic, adhesives, and grommets to create durable seams efficiently. 

Fairway Products Will Help with Ultrasonic Welding for Your Textiles. 

When bringing your textile products to life, it’s important to work with a manufacturer that can deliver exactly what you need. You have a specific vision for your product, so you need a manufacturing partner that can make it happen. That’s where we can step in. 

Fairway Products is a cut and sew full-service manufacturer that provides cutting, sewing, and fabric welding service, providing our customers with the tools they need to bring their product to life.

We’ll use our expertise to make sure your products are created on time, on budget, while utilizing the best methods. 

Plus, we have the capacity to meet your needs with rapid shipping and delivery. 

Along with our ultrasonic fabric welding services, we provide product development and engineering consultations to ensure that your entire process is providing you with great ROI. 

Have a project in mind or need help getting started? Request a Quote from Fairway Products today!

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