Ultrasonic welding is a manufacturing technique used to secure two materials together. The first patent for welding metal objects using this process was awarded in 1960. Five years later, engineers discovered that sound waves could weld non-metal materials as well. The ultrasonic welding process uses ultrasonic, high-frequency acoustic waves instead of heat or electricity. As two components are secured under pressure, the ultrasonic welder emits sound waves that travel through the materials. When the waves locate the contact point, they cause the materials to vibrate, which generates friction, creating the heat that makes the components melt. After the waves are finished, the parts form a resilient bond as they cool and harden. The ultrasonic welding process does not require soldering or the use of metal fasteners, adhesives or other binding materials, such as thread.
Ultrasonic welding is an eco-friendly process that takes seconds, consumes very little energy and reduces costs while maintaining a high degree of quality. The ultrasonic welding equipment fuses contact points on cell phones and other consumer electronics that are generally inaccessible with other welding methods. These techniques can be adapted to a wide range of commercial and industrial applications. In the food industry, the process is used to create a hermetic seal. An ultrasonic welder can fasten blister packs and facilitate the manufacturing of a variety of products, including toys, disposable lighters, pipettes and intravenous catheters.
Ultrasonic welding is commonly used in the plastics, aerospace and automotive industries to join similar materials. It is particularly useful in the production of medical products. Since the ultrasonic welding process does not introduce exhaust or other contaminants and the welds do not degrade, the manufacturing equipment can be used in a clean-room environment.
Welding hook and loop fasteners together is another common application of ultrasonic welding. The ultrasonic welder creates a bond that is stronger than that achieved by sewing. As a result, the hook and loop straps have the strength equivalent of one solid piece of material, creating a reliable bond. Ultrasonic welding is an efficient method for securing both the hook to the loop, and the ring to the strap itself.