Plastic welding or joining unfinished pieces of plastic together in the manufacturing, automotive, and hobby craft industry is a process that has long been used. It is also used for repairs and repurposing of plastic. It is a process that is worth examining in greater detail as we move into an era of more environmental responsibility and awareness.
How and if plastics are used is important. As such, the technology for reuse, repair, and recycling are also important and should be seen as economic and technological development opportunities.
The uses for plastic welding
The uses for the right plastics are innumerable, and thermoplastic is still the one material that is used consistently in most tech hardware manufacture.
As such, the way plastics can be reused, repaired, and reengineered is becoming critical. Whether these plastics are in aerospace or aquariums and chemical holding tanks, plastic welds are used to keep things together, stop leaks and ensure product longevity.
There are a number of plastic welding techniques depending on what is being welded and the use of the product. However, the most cutting edge of these that are worth keeping an eye on for tech improvements are the following.
- Hot gas welding – This uses the steam of a gas such as air to heat and melt the thermoplastic substrate material and the thermoplastic welding rod. While the equipment is portable, the process can be slow.
- Laser welding – This uses laser radiation to generate heat and melt the plastic. It requires extensive training but is a fast and incredibly accurate weld process.
Both of these welding types have been automated and, as such, can be performed in the production process as accurately and as neatly as possible. With the improvement of AI, the expectation is for these techniques to be further improved.
For professional work, the right welding machines will be needed for the job at hand; these are readily available and well-priced. Many different types of welding processes use different machines to fabricate and sculpt different kinds of plastics.
All of these have many different types of processes with unique advantages and disadvantages, so before you start looking for the right machine, be sure of what method you want to use and what exactly you are using it for.
The smaller the parts, the more precise the required weld, and the more likely you will need an automated process, while outdoor roofing and repairing of water pipes and tanks will require a manual weld unless the seam is generic and is part of the manufacturing process.
You should ensure that you are clear as to the materials you aim to weld together, as this will affect their weldability and the temperature you can use.
With this information, you will also be able to purchase a specific welding kit suited to this purpose with all the components you need to complete the job at hand.
Plastic welding has many and varied uses and is a great way to either do your own repairs, be they roofing, canoes, and kayaks, or automotive grills and bumpers.
Whether it is for your business or home DIY projects, plumbing, and water tanks, as long as it is a thermoplastic, you will be able to use a plastic welding kit to repair or repurpose.