Ultrasonic applications for cutting and welding operations
Ultrasonics is the name of the energy generated by acoustic waves that travel through solid or liquid objects at a frequency of 20 kHz or higher.
Ultrasonic vibrations oscillating between 20 and 100 kHz are used in industrial processes known as high power applications. Ultrasonic welding is one of these.
Over the last decade ultrasonic welding applications have gained relevance mostly due to their minimal energy consumption and the ease of installation in automated assembly lines.
The required energy in these applications is transmitted to the material that needs to be processed through one or more components fixed to a piezoelectric transducer that converts electrical energy into mechanical energy. The amplitude of the vibrations involved usually vary between 5 and 100 μm.
The parts of these welding machines are designed to have a particular vibrating motion, usually longitudinal, that resonates at the selected stress frequency. Their shape may vary depending of the applications and the objects that require soldering.
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Ever since the 1960s, high power applications with ultrasonics have been widely used in welding and molding plastics and metals. In addition to the cleaning of cutting surfaces, often replacing expensive and inaccurate traditional methods. Up to this day, high power ultrasonic applications can be divided in:
- ultrasonic welding of thermoplastics: it mostly employs vibrations between a 20 and 40 kHz range, plus it is fast, clean, efficient and convenient in terms of consumption.
- ultrasonic cutting of plastic materials and food products: in this case vibrations get accumulated within a blade or a sonotrode that guarantee results without friction that does not deform or damage the materials that need to be cut.
There is no need to heat or cool the materials before cutting. It is possible to get a clean cut that does not make any additional non-recoverable waste, plus it can be very fast on larger surfaces.
Any potential difficulties that can be found in the design of these machines are not just due to the physical design of mechanical joints that transport vibrations. There is a piezoelectric transducer within the system, powered by a controlled frequency generator: this electrical system that powers the transducer must be devised with full knowledge of the phenomena that interact with the mechanical part.
Visit our YouTube channel to watch Sonic Italia’s multiple ultrasonic applications.
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