A powerful laser technology originally developed for the telecommunications industry is now targeting plastic welding, and has significant implications for medical markets because it eliminates use of dyes and other additive extractables. It may also expedite the welding of polyolefin elastomers that are bidding to replace polyvinyl chloride (PVC) for intravenous tubing and bags.
The technology, developed in Russia in the 1990s by academic researchers, was introduced at NPE2012 and discussed in a presentation at Antec by IPG Photonics (Oxford, MA), which had never exhibited at NPE before but now views nonmetallic welding as one of its biggest growth areas.
"One of the limitations of traditional laser welding is that you had to have a clear and a colored material for the laser to work," a processor told PlasticsToday after being asked what he thought was the most interesting new sealing technology he saw at the show. "IPG Photonics has figured out a way to seal clear materials."...