Laser welding for joining thermoplastics
Using laser welding for joining thermoplastics is an industrially established process. The advantages of this process are, among other things, high automation and flexibility, no sputtering from melt ejection and vibration-free production. At the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH), this technology has been further developed to join thermoplastic polymers to wood materials. Applications include, for example, for bonding inner door panels in the automotive industry, or for bonding veneer to edges in the furniture industry.
This process can be used for joining common thermoplastics such as PP, PA and ABS to wood materials, such as fibreboard (MDF, HDF), chipboard or solid wood boarding. Bonding to wood fibreboards and natural fiber composite material boards was also investigated, for applications in the automotive industry. Depending on the materials to be joined, different joining mechanisms were investigated, in which the natural thermoplastic lignin, a main element of wood, appears to play an important role.
Apart from the advantages mentioned above, laser welding can also be used to join wood materials without using glues. Costs related to the glue itself, and to maintenance and cleaning costs connected to glue application are no longer applicable.
Tensile shear tests and impermeability tests have shown that laser bonding is qualitatively good, and on approximately the same level as competitive bonding processes.
Source: laser-zentrum-hannover.deAdded: 24 August 2009