Welding and joining technologies for plastics

Welding and joining technologies for plastics

Complex plastic parts can often only be produced through the use of an application-related welding or joining process. The key to successful development and production of a plastic component is therefore the correct choice, design and handling of the joining process, taking into account the varied requirements and boundary conditions.

We carry out research in the field of welding technology with the focus on the following aspects:

  • Influence of the material
  • Designing the joint to suit the product and the process
  • Process analysis, process development and process optimisation

In addition to our excellently equipped welding laboratory, our experienced experts also have access to numerous processes for testing joints and seams.

Ongoing research projects in the field of joining technology

Since the 1950s, IKV's research activities in the field of joining technology have covered the entire spectrum, from basic research to application-related projects. Our current research projects include the following topics:

  • Determination of material properties for simulating the ultrasonic welding process
  • Welding of highly filled plastic compounds for use in fuel cells, redox flow batteries and heat exchangers
  • Influence of the moisture content in polyamide on the ultrasonic welding process
  • Welding of injection-mouldable, bio-based plastics
  • Thermal simulation of laser transmission welding for process and part design
  • Simulation of internal stresses in the seams of laser-welded parts
  • Laser welding of foamed thermoplastic parts
  • Joining of dissimilar material composites, e.g. plastic/metal hybrids
  • Joining of incompatible thermoplastics in the interlayer film metthod
  • Joining of thermoplastic fibre composites
  • Integrative calculation of the weld strength in plastic parts, taking the example of laser transmission welding

Dr.-Ing. Suveni Kreimeier

Head of departement Part Design and Materials Technology +49 241 80-28359 suveni.kreimeier@ikv.rwth-aachen.de

We develop solutions for the plastics industry

The various joining processes constitute a key technology in all areas of the plastics industry, whereby both users and suppliers benefit particularly from an exchange of experience and information across different industries. Plastics joining technologies are nowadays deployed, for example, in microelectronics, in the welding and sealing of packaging film, for producing optically attractive seams in automotive rear lamps, and for creating highly stressed joins in fibre-reinforced structural parts and medical applications, where maximum demands are made on cleanliness. Apart from that, welding plays a vital role in the manufacture of domestic appliances, electronic devices and sports equipment.

IKV's application-related research and development projects study the entire product creation process, because success can only be guaranteed if any subsequent welding and joining processes are taken into account at an early stage of the process.

Frequently asked questions

Cooperation projects with our partners from industry often deal with several of the following subjects, for which we draw up customised solutions that can be directly implemented:

  • Part design and material selection, taking subsequent welding or joining operations into account
  • Part and process design by means of simulation
  • Influence of the production process on joint-related properties (e.g. dimensional stability and internal structure of the injection-moulded parts)
  • Feasibility studies and evaluation of the suitability for welding with the aid of samples
  • Identification of processing properties
  • Process development and analysis
  • Parameter studies and optimisation
  • Fault analysis on pilot and production plants
  • Testing of joints and seams (destructive and non-destructive)
  • Influence of mechanical stresses and ambient media (ageing of seams)
  • Process selection

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Technology transfer in industry and the skilled crafts

Our claim is to make innovations from research available for use in industrial applications within the shortest possible time. For this, we encourage the transfer of research results to the trade in industry-related development projects, active involvement in the DVS, and regular national and international publications. Furthermore, we invite companies along the value chain and across all industries to accompany our research projects.

For many years now, we have been working with the committees of the DVS (German Welding Society). There, we initiate publicly funded research projects via the "Technical Committee 11" (welding of plastics), and participate in compiling guidelines in which current research results are made available to industry and the skilled trades, for example:

  • AG W 4.11 (Mechanical joining of plastics)
  • AG W 4.12 (Laser transmission welding of plastics)
  • AG W 4.13 (Infrared welding in series production)
  • AG W 4.14 (Joining of continuous fibre-reinforced plastics)
  • AG W4. 1d (Ultrasonic welding)