Plastic Welders Information
Image Credit: Leister | U.S. Plastic Corp
Plastic welders consist of torches, ultrasonic welding equipment, heat guns, hot rod welders, RF or dielectric welders, and hot plate welders used to join thermoplastic materials. They use either single-phase or three-phase power. Single-phase plastic welders are used in commercial and residential applications. The term "single-phase" means one sinusoidal or other alternating-voltage pattern. By contrast, three-phase power has three simultaneous, sinusoidal or other alternating-voltage patterns, typically 120° out of phase with each other. Higher power efficiency and smoothness of operation are possible with three-phase operation. Three-phase power welders are most often in industrial or high-power applications.
Types of Plastic Welders
There are several types of plastic welders. Examples include complete plastic welding systems and power sources for plastic welding. Complete plastic welding systems include brazing, cutting, soldering and/or surfacing subsystems. They also include a power source or station; a torch, iron or gun; cables, feeders, and positioners; robots; and other required components. Power sources or power stations for plastic welders are power supplies with a soldering iron, tungsten inert gas (TIG) gun, metal inert gas (MIG) gun, laser, electrode holder, electron beam gun, or other joining unit. The required output power is enough to melt the material. Welding power supplies for plastic welding systems are sometimes called welding power sources. Soldering power supplies are called soldering stations.
Plastic welders include guns or irons and monitors or controllers. Irons, torches, or plastic welder guns provide a point-source of heat for melting solder or filler alloys at a joint or interface. Typically, soldering irons are heated using electrical resistance. Gas torch or hot air-heated irons are also available, and are useful in plumbing or field applications where an electrical power source is not available. Gas burning, oxyfuel, and plasma torches are also used in brazing and welding applications. Monitor / controller equipment is used for sensing joint quality (size or integrity), gap, position, or output power supply variations. Controllers for plastic welders are also used to adjust parameters in order compensate for variations in joint quality or output power.
Plastic welders provide frictional or specialty processes such as friction welding, ultrasonic welding, gas torch brazing, hot rod or iron welding, and laser welding. In friction welding, workpieces are heated by the relative motion between the surfaces. In ultrasonic welding or linear friction welding, the workpieces are heated by the ultrasonic vibration or reciprocating linear-motion between the surfaces. Gas torch brazing uses a combustible fuel gas such as propane and air or oxygen to heat the workpiece and melt the braze filler alloy. Other brazing and soldering processes use a heated rod or iron to heat the work surface and melt the solder filler-alloy. Laser welding uses a laser beam to melt the workpiece. The welds can be made without filler metals or consumable electrodes. Other types of plastic welders are also available.