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Managing Editor  | October 2017

Researchers create flexible joining machine to combine plastic welding processes


German plastics joining equipment supplier Fischer Kunststoff-Schweibtechnik GmbH approached researchers at the Institute for Materials and Plastics Technology at the University of Kassel (Germany) to investigate the possibility of building a modular, flexible, plastics joining center with interchangeable plastics welding modules.

 

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Researchers are looking to combine plastic welding processes into a single machine. (Wikimedia Commons)

 

As an article by the University of Kassel researchers published in Assembly Magazine outlined, “The goal was to create a machine that required minimal human intervention and that produced assemblies at a level of quality and reproducibility on par with dedicated, standalone welding machines.”

 

The researchers used a CNC machining center from Fischer as the base on which it built its prototype. It had basic functionality and included three or four controllers for up to eight friction welding modules - spin welding, linear vibration welding, orbital friction welding, and radian friction welding – with options for different materials and part sizes.

 

Researchers tested the prototype by building two cylindrical parts using the circular vibration welding process and examining tensile strength and burst pressure under standard climate conditions.

 

“Our tests indicated that weld seam quality levels were comparable to those of conventional machines,” the researchers wrote. “The weld factors for the polypropylene specimens, in particular, were on par with values we obtained previously with conventional welding equipment.”

 

Although the process was not optimized, since the goal of the experiments was to prove the feasibility of this equipment, the tests for tensile strength demonstrated that reproducible welding results were attainable. They found standard deviations within a narrow tolerance range that compared favorably to conventional machines.

 

The article concluded, “In the future, we plan to include process parameter optimization for all welding modules, conduct reproducibility testing for the actuated X and Y axes using a defined group of specimens distributed over the whole machine table, and add frequency and velocity sensors for greater precision and on-line quality control.”

 

Read the full article at https://www.assemblymag.com/articles/93981-flexible-assembly-machine-combines-multiple-plastics-joining-processes?

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