Back in the 1960s, the first plastic car was created using ultrasonic welding. Its creators had hoped that plastic cars would replace metal cars. It didn’t happen. Plastic cars never caught on. But ultrasonic welding did, and in a big way. Today, several industries including packaging companies, computer conglomerates, electrical giants and automotive leaders rely on ultrasonic welding to fuse components together.

Wires, sheet metal, meshes and microcircuit connections are welded together with ultrasonic welding because of its fast turnaround time of less than one second. Ultrasonic welding also doesn’t require special ventilation systems to remove heat and exhaust materials. The reason is because ultrasonic welding relies on energy in the form of mechanical vibrations to do the job. How does this work? We’ll get to that later. But first, know that an ultrasonic welding machine consists of four key components. First, you have the power supply. Second, the converter, then an amplitude modifying device (also referred to as a booster) and finally, a sonotrode, or an acoustic horn tool. The sonotrode is placed on the plastic part that will be welded. The part to be welded onto the plastic part will remain static. To bond the parts together, the pieces are pressed together. Now, as one part vibrates, the other remains static, creating friction and fusing the parts together without the use of additional materials such as nails, screws, adhesives, tapes or soldering wires. The procedure is clean, fast and easy.

Its clean finish is why ultrasonic is favored by packaging companies. Ultrasonic welding is often used in packaging volatile materials and hazardous chemicals such as butane lighters. It’s also used to seal explosives and fireworks. In addition, a wide array of everyday goods are packaged using ultrasonic welding machines.

The food industry uses ultrasonic welding because it can produce hermetic (airtight) seals for such items as milk, whipping cream and orange juice containers.

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