by Priyank Kishor, global product manager, PulseStaking, Branson Welding and Assembly at Emerson
PulseStaking technology from Emerson™ Branson not only performs all the same staking and swaging tasks as existing heated-tip and ultrasonic swaging/staking technology, but it also handles more diverse and complex product designs and a wider range of plastics, is gentle to electronics and circuitry, and offers better finish aesthetics.
PulseStaking technology uses innovative tips (often custom-shaped to an application) that combine an electrical heating element with a compressed-air cooling system. Used in a multistep, programmable cycle, these tips apply instant, localized “pulses” of heating or cooling that precisely manage the temperature of the tip and the plastic at all times as it is formed. Instant, localized temperature control is an advantage over conventional heated tips that operate at only one temperature because it prevents the plastic from overheating and burning during forming and accelerates and controls cooling.
The key to PulseStaking technology is that it applies heating and cooling instantly – more precisely and selectively than conventional heated tips. In addition, PulseStaking tips are gentle on sensitive electronics because they do not require vibratory motion like an ultrasonic swaging process.
Since PulseStaking tips heat and cool instantly and are precisely and individually controlled, they can be maneuvered and used in much closer proximity to heat-sensitive components (nontarget plastics, printed circuit boards [PCBs], electrical components and wiring) than conventional heated tips, which constantly radiate heat in all directions while in motion or in use.
A single piece of tooling can accommodate multiple PulseStaking tips, enabling them to perform multiple swages or stakes on parts or assemblies (using different temperatures and cooling rates, if needed) at the same time. A single PulseStaking machine can support the operation of up to 60 different tips.
PulseStaker can be used with crystalline plastics and plastics with glass fill levels exceeding 30%. Unlike conventional heated tips, which tend to stick to glass fibers when being removed, PulseStaking tips can first melt/form/cool a finished stake, then pulse a different, lower temperature to release the tip without sticking.
PulseStaking is ideally suited for complex, high-value and aesthetically sensitive application in medical, automotive and electronics manufacturing. Key attributes for PulseStaker technology include:
complex device designs that incorporate plastic parts that require swaging or staking on varied surface contours or on multiple, closely aligned post or flap features;
devices that require parts made with any of a growing number of advanced, blended, glass-reinforced or chromed/metallicized plastics;
devices that contain parts that must capture and support delicate, heat-sensitive materials or assemblies made from plastics, films or fabrics, ceramics or metals; and
parts that must capture and hold delicate, heat- or vibration-sensitive electronic components such as PCBs, soldered components or sensors.
PulseStaking technology offers maximum value to those who are unable to achieve desired results (production volume, bond quality, range of materials, aesthetic appearance and bonding of heat-sensitive items) with conventional heated-tip or ultrasonic swaging/staking processes.
Compared to previous technology, PulseStaking technology can join a wider variety of different materials to plastic components or housings, including metal shims; plastic keys or buttons; filters, fibrous cloth or insulating materials; printed circuit boards, electronics or sensors; and fragile glass or ceramic elements.
PulseStaking equipment is available in handheld units, desktop units or in three sizes of stand-alone machines (GPX-100, GPX-150 and GPX-200). The stand-alone machines allow for the use of interchangeable tooling of up to 200 kg in weight and can support the operation of up to 24, 48 or 60 PulseStaking tips, respectively.