NPE2012 Launch Pad for New Assembly Products

by Dianna Brodine

In the first five days of April, NPE2012 enjoyed the sunny skies of Orlando, FL, with attendees streaming into town from all corners of the globe. With more than 1,900 exhibitors covering nearly one million square feet of floor space (a 23 percent increase from 2009) and over 55,000 attendees from more than 19,000 companies, moving NPE to Orlando proved to be a solid bet.

“There was far more plastics processing equipment operating on the exhibit floor than in 2009, much greater attendance at the co-located conferences and a larger and more exciting program of special events,””said William R. (Bill) Carteaux, president and CEO of SPI. “In addition, both exhibitors and visitors gave SPI overwhelmingly positive feedback on the new venue in Orlando, supporting our decision to schedule both the 2012 and 2015 NPEs there.”

Equipment and process launches were the talk of the show. This article discusses new technology in plastics assembly.

Sonics & Materials, Inc., Newtown, CT, introduced its new SmartSystem ultrasonic welder with touch-panel technology, bringing user-friendly navigation and intuitive command flow to the welding process. The microprocessor-driven SmartSystem is available for 40, 20 and 15 kHz ultrasonic welding systems and includes digital time-, energy- and distance-based welding modes. The SmartSystem consists of a SmartPress and a SmartControl power supply featuring full-color touchscreen menus designed for maximum weld control, monitoring and versatility.

The SmartControl power supply is available at power levels ranging from 400 to 4500 watts, depending upon system frequency and configuration. Standard features include automatic frequency tuning; digital amplitude, pressure and flow control; digital force triggering; digital stack wattage and frequency displays; good part/bad part output signal; upper and lower weld mode limit settings; power output display; and weld cycle graph chart screen. The SmartPress is a pneumatic benchtop press with a single piece rigid cast aluminum machine base and hub with direct in-line air cylinder. Additional features include single rail linear motion slide, adjustable fine thread positive stop and rigid mount high efficiency converter.

Brian Gourley, technical services manager for Sonics & Materials, was pleased with both the product launch and the NPE show: “To my mind, this show was better attended and more productive than the last couple of NPEs, perhaps due to a few factors, including the new April date instead of June, which is traditionally a busier month; curiosity about the new location and facilities; and an improving economy. We had a good number of leads generated and already have a couple of jobs in process from the show.””

Branson Ultrasonics Corp., a subsidiary of Emerson, Danbury, CT, introduced its new Clean Vibration Technology (CVT) to the North American and Asian markets, enabling product designers and engineers in automotive, medical and other industries to make parts that are virtually particulate-free with aesthetically clean weld lines. Responding to the latest industry trends that have raised the standards for plastic weld joints, Branson developed the new CVT technology that adds infrared (IR) preheating to the familiar clean vibration technology to produce welds that are free of dust particulates or “angel hair,” stringy excess plastic left on a part.

Branson’s CVT clean-joining technology avoids particulates and contaminants in air, fuel, oil and water reservoirs and conduits. It is ideally suited for clean, precision joining of automobile taillights, fluid reservoirs, medical and consumer filtration products, and other parts and products requiring a clean weld that maximizes aesthetics, integrity or functionality. The CVT uses medium-wave metal foil IR emitters that are closely matched to the absorption characteristics of most plastic resins. This produces a more efficient melt process, saving both time and energy. The reduction in plastic dust particulates of this process also benefits the environment.

“The move to Orlando for NPE 2012 allowed Branson to use our resources, typically reserved for auxiliary costs, in other areas,””explained Crystal Rumph, manager, marketing communications for Branson Ultrasonics. “This offered us the ability to create a booth space that was illustrative of the approach that we take with our customers – to really understand their needs and requirements, presenting them with a process neutral solution, and thereby enabling them to get new products to market quickly and with less expense.”

Dukane Intelligent Assembly Solutions, St. Charles, IL, focused on the new Ultrasonic Servo welder product with patented Melt-Match® technology. The iQ Advanced Servo Welder is the next step in the evolution of ultrasonic welding technology, combining the efficiency and reliability of a 100-percent digitally controlled Multi-Core iQ Series power supply with the precision of an advanced servo press. The Dukane Advanced iQ Servo Welder delivers repeatability, accuracy and reliability to the ultrasonic bonding process with dynamic servo motion control, robust rigid mount construction, reliable validation and calibration and superior data acquisition.

In addition, Dukane launched a free thermo­­plastic welding processing guide app for mobile devices. Currently available on Google Play and coming soon in Apple’s IOS App Store, the app features a booster ratio calculator, allowing users to enter frequency, amplitude and gain factor to calculate the booster ratio required for an application. In addition, users can view the properties, amplitude and compatitbility of resins, as well as get guidelines and initial starting points for force and trigger settings.

The Orange County Convention Center will host NPE2015 from March 22 to 26, 2015.