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Telsonic UK Collaborates On Ultrasonic Welding Trials With 3D Printed Parts


Ultrasonic welding technology has become the mainstay of multiple applications for both plastics and metals across a wide range of industry sectors. The flexibility of the process is such that it continues to find its way into new and innovative areas, supporting emerging manufacturing processes and new materials through developmental and investigative collaboration with a number of industrial partners.

Stratasys develops industrial grade additive solutions to help solve critical design and manufacturing challenges, at all stages of the production cycle. The company offers a comprehensive range of 3D printing technologies and materials, including SAF technology, an industrial-grade polymer Powder Bed Fusion technology that delivers production-level throughput for end-use parts. This is achieved by selectively jetting High Absorption Fluid (HAF) with industrial piezoelectric print heads onto a thin layer of powder, subsequent irradiation with infra-red causes the printed areas to melt and fuse together, the unprinted areas remain as powder.

Telsonic UK has been working in close collaboration with the Stratasys Nottingham office performing  a series of interesting 3D printed PP (polypropylene) ultrasonic weld trials, as part of their machine process and material marketing promotional activity. Having undertaken similar exercises in the past with a number of different design houses, it’s clear that 3D technology is now becoming a vital part of product development and part production. The emergence of different core polymer 3D printing technologies is such that high integrity printed structures, combined with new printing thermoplastic materials, are now able to mimic material physical characteristics achieved through traditional manufacturing.

The flexibility and controllability of ultrasonic welding makes it the ideal process to evaluate and develop precision joining techniques on 3D printed models, fast-tracking the design and product testing phases of a project. The result of these trial leads to improvements in production predictability, compressing development time and importantly saving costs.

The Stratasys H350™powered by SAFTM technology, used to manufacture the components for the welding trials, offers best-in-class performance for scalable higher-volume 3D printing production. Higher nesting densities compared to other powder bed solutions increase productivity and reduce cost per part.

The initial abstract trials were very simply conducted with Telsonic’s 35kHz Handystar Energy handgun system to check the ultrasonic weldability of the material with various ultrasonic weld techniques from simple surface spotwelding to Energy Director, which involves ultrasonic energy  transmission through the material. To facilitate this, Stratasys produced simple printed Plaques which Telsonic welded to prove weld strength across the different techniques.

The success of the initial trials led to further investigation involving the modelling, design, and 3D printing by Stratasys, once again of abstract parts, guided this time by Telsonic UK, with the parts now having features which reflected real world application shapes and weld preparation features for automotive ultrasonic welded joints. As an example, polypropylene (PP) is used in automotive applications, typically in the manufacture of bumper and external trim components. The second phase trials were conducted at the Telsonic Laboratory within the company’s Poole facility, using both manual handguns and ultrasonic presses, which provided more welding data using existing typical polypropylene bumper parts, to which typical parking sensor type 3D printed parts were ultrasonically welded. These new trials showcased the capability of the 3D printing process with Stratasys new printable polypropylene (PP) materials, and how that can play a part in the progression of rapid prototyping and testing, ultimately aiding quick development, and reducing the time to get parts to market for both manufacturers and design houses. 

Telsonic UK offer a comprehensive range of ultrasonic modules and systems for a variety of food cutting, plastic welding, cutting, sealing, cut’n’seal, metal welding, packaging, sieving, and cleaning applications within a wide range of industries. More information on Telsonic products and systems for plastic welding can be found HERE.

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