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Thermoplastic Welding

The Problem: Thermoplastic composite materials are becoming ever more prevalent across all industry, however, joining these composites has its problems. Adhesives are not as robust as parent materials with incorrect cure can lead to weakened joints and the bond quality depends on a number of outside factors. In addition, ribs, spars, multi-thickness areas make heat activated/cured adhesives difficult, if not impossible. Surface preparation steps are added operations to the process.

Mechanical fastening increase weight, cost, and part count and may require regular maintenance (loosening, corrosion, etc.). In addition, mechanical fastening can create failure points due to fatigue and stress concentrations.

The Solution:

The solution is to accomplish the bonding at the joint interface using Smart Susceptor technology that directly welds the two parts to be joined.

A Smart Susceptor heats rapidly and efficiently to a target temperature, ±5 °F, and automatically shuts off. No overshoot on temperature regardless of power input and ramp rate.

The Smart Susceptor wire is embedded in part resin and placed between two thermoplastic parts to be joined. Then with light pressure the area to be bonded is subjected to a induction heating field that quickly heats the smart susceptor wire and bonds the two parts together at the bond line interface. That’s it.

Because the weld happens so quickly, heat from the weld wires at the interface does not have time to “heat through”, the parts being welded act as their own weld jigs and therefore the process does not need large expensive tool holding fixtures

Figure 1: Thermoplastic welding of two components together using Smart Susceptor wires 

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