Vibration Welding was developed by Sonobond Ultrasonics, an American company in 1960. Vibration welding, also referred to as linear vibration welding, is a process where the surfaces that are to be joined with each other are rubbed against one another in an oscillatory mode under pressure. This causes very high friction between the surfaces which results in generation of tremendous heat between them.
This heat causes the melting of the interfacial material and the molten film is allowed to cool down under pressure. This completes the vibration welding process. It is also called as linear friction welding. Weld frequency, weld pressure, vibratory motion and its amplitude and weld timing are the important parameters involved in the process.
Generally, the machines operate at a pre-determined fixed weld frequencies (120 Hz and 240 Hz) with amplitude of vibration being 5mm and weld time of 10 seconds (which could vary, generally from 1 – 10 seconds). This technology is used in the automotive industry where it is used in welding of taillights, head lights and other assemblies; it is also used in the appliance industry and the aerospace industry.
Vibration Welding Technology Market: Growth Fuelling Aspects
Vibration welding can be used on almost all thermoplastic materials. As compared to ultrasonic welding, it can handle medium and large sized pieces (example: automobile bumpers). They can weld with higher moisture content than the ultrasonic welding. Surface contaminants do not affect the weld when done by vibration welding process. Moreover, the area which melts between the two pieces is not exposed to air which eliminates the occurrence of thermo-oxidative degeneration, this being a critical aspect.
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Other benefits impacting the growth of the vibration welding technology market are fast cycle time, ability to weld bigger parts, less power consumption, no fumes or harmful emissions, higher strength, easy automation is possible, capability to weld different and dissimilar materials, ideally used to weld PA materials, compatible with thermoplastics, welding of several parts per cycle is possible, low costs involved and low maintenance needed.
Since no outside component is involved in the process, the weld interface is the same as the materials being involved in the process of vibration welding. This eliminates the chances of quality degradation. It also does not cause any degradation of material due to heat generated as the process is easier to control.
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Vibration Welding Technology Market: Growth Challenges
Along with the plusses there are certain limitations that hinder the growth of the vibration welding technology market. The main limitation of the technology is that it can be used on material which are nearly flat. This technology is not applicable in case of low modulus thermoplastics (thermoplastic elastomers). Moreover, if the parameters such as weld time, pressure, amplitude and weld frequency are not controlled, this could result in uneven, irregular or poor quality welding. These are the challenges that lie in the growth path of the market.
Vibration Welding Technology Market: Companies
The companies that deal with vibration welding technology are Emerson, Forward Technology (a Crest Group company), Dukane, Bonal Technologies Inc. and NTF Pvt. Ltd.