bielomatik Leuze GmbH & Co.KG

Flexible machine technology for precision welding of high-performance plastics

Welding the airbag shot channel on an instrument cluster in a vehicle / K 2750 infrared welding machine with metal foil radiators (photo from bielomatik)

New materials for plastics welding applications (thermoplastic fibre composites or high-temperature materials, for example) require special welding and machine technologies. Rising to this challenge, bielomatik is presenting a new generation of infrared welding technologies and all-electric vibration welding systems. An inline quality control process complete with camera has been developed specifically for the infrared welding process. The exhibits to be showcased at K are completed by an incredibly compact laser module system.

At bielomatik, development work is currently focussing on improving quality and process reliability for cost-effective, energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly operation. At stand G 60 in hall 11, the internationally acclaimed manufacturer of welding systems for joining plastic parts in series production will be presenting a number of innovations:

  • All-electric welding machine series for hot plate and infrared welding

  • All-electric vibration welding machine

  • Reliable monitoring of weld seam preheating with infrared camera and operator and evaluation software developed in-house at bielomatik

  • 800 x 800 laser compact module with standard laser integration module

Variable machine concept

The vertical modular design universal welding machines in the K 225X series are available in three sizes with table dimensions from 800 x 500 up to 1800 x 800 mm. They are powered entirely by all-electric drives (servomotors). As options, the machines can be equipped with short-wave glass tube or medium-wave metal foil radiators for infrared welding and, for hot plate welding, with hot plates for contact heating for normal and high temperatures. In the basic design, the tools can be changed quickly and easily from the front. Changer systems with varying degrees of automation are available, with changing from the rear also being possible as an option. The machine control cabinet contains the components for a preheating station for hot plates as standard. Programming and operation are particularly convenient and user-friendly thanks to a combination of Siemens S7 PLC and Siemens operator panel with touch-sensitive colour screen (touch screen, 8" screen diagonal). The machine operator sets parameters that are relevant to the process in a clear dialog with graphics support. All relevant interfaces for documenting the process parameters or backing up data to appropriate storage media are of course also available if required.

Environmentally-friendly drive concept

The lift drive (servomotor) for vibration welding machines supplements the existing portfolio of machines equipped with hydraulic actuators and has a number of special features compared with these hydraulic solutions. The movements of the lifting table are much faster and, thanks to the electric servo drives, positions can be changed easily and approached with precision. This results in both economical and technical benefits in applications involving infrared preheating in particular. The electric drive meets current requirements for a sustainable and energy-efficient drive for production machines which is kind to both the environment and resources. As oil changes are no longer necessary, for example, the scope of maintenance work is also reduced. Furthermore, the latest K3233 welding machine boasts optimum spring stiffness and the vibration drive is able to ramp up and down extremely quick. The modular concept supports numerous options. Welding machines can be designed, for example, with high-frequency or low-frequency vibrating heads working at various rates, with variable opening widths and also two different controllers (Siemens S7 or Industry PC). Additional infrared preheating can be built in as an option.

New process monitoring

Inline process monitoring with infrared camera - a new development - safeguards increased process reliability when welding large sections of plastic. Areas that are critical to the quality of the weld are measured and evaluated specifically after heating and prior to joining. The system being presented by bielomatik at K in conjunction with an infrared welding machine is particularly convenient and user-friendly to work with. The programmer only has to set a small number of parameters in the dialog in order to take reference images. In series production, the system takes measurements automatically. With image dimensions of 382 x 288 pixels per camera, individual areas can be enlarged (zoomed). The evaluation software, which has been customised by bielomatik to meet the specific needs of welding technology applications, analyses the measured data from the camera, compares it with the programmable reference values (tolerances) and assesses the weld seam temperatures. This has crucial advantages, not least where the welding of containers which must be relied upon not to leak or parts that are critical to safety (airbag shot channels, for example) are concerned, because they have to be joined with reproducible and high strength.

Compact integration

The 800 x 800 laser compact system with standard laser integration module delivers high cyclic output whilst taking up minimum space. It is designed for welding small sections of plastic such as those found in electrical and medical engineering. Loading and unloading can be set up in a variety of ways, either manually or semi-automatically via rotary indexing tables or fully automated via belt feeds. This makes the system ideal universally not only for component parts, prototypes and small production runs in laboratory conditions but also for medium and large production series and integration into complete production lines.

One company - All technologies …

... this is the trade fair motto at bielomatik. Based in Neuffen, Germany, this machine builder supports the widest possible range of welding procedures and is thus able to offer the ideal solutions for virtually all plastics used in technical applications. In the context of scientific projects and in-house R&D, bielomatik develops solutions and concepts for the high-performance plastics that are increasingly coming to dominate the "welding market", including fibre-reinforced lightweight materials (organic sheet) and high-temperature plastics (PPA, PPS, etc.). The range includes contact hot plates, non-contact short and medium wavelength infrared radiators, low-frequency and high-frequency vibration welding systems, laser welding modules and systems for hot gas, heat contact and high-frequency procedures. Ultrasonic applications can be configured and integrated in special applications. Drawing on their comprehensive know-how accumulated over several decades, the specialists in Neuffen are able to provide users with personalised and reliable advice, select the suitable procedure and create the ideal configuration. From a compact laser integration module to comprehensively automated systems for large parts combining multiple welding procedures, production facilities can thus be sure of getting a joining technology that has been meticulously tailored to meet their needs.

Photo: Welding the airbag shot channel on an instrument cluster in a vehicle / K 2750 infrared welding machine with metal foil radiators (bielomatik)