Unique Ultrasonic Welding for High Voltage

For more information, go to the TECH-SONIC website here.

TECH-SONIC has been at the forefront of the ultrasonic welding technology since 1996. They have devoted themselves exclusively towards the manufacture of welding equipment and associated tooling on a global basis. More recently, the company has focused development and manufacturing efforts into what they refer to as Closed-Loop Control CLC) and they claim it’s the “Holy Grail” of ultrasonic welding technology. As the pioneer in this technology, TECH-SONIC has integrated the latest electronics, hardware, force sensors and control software in new and unique ways to improve the welding process.

We sat down with John Hall, Marketing Director at TECH-SONIC to discuss what differentiates their technology from their competitors. “Our overall approach with CLC is what makes our equipment different. Our competitors operate on a pneumatic cylinder, whereas our equipment is servo controlled.” John began. “With that, you get total control of the welding process. It’s going to be much more reliable, more repeatable and perform welds with greater precision.”

An important part of TECH-SONIC’s CLC technology is the ability to pre-heat and pre-clean the material before they do the weld. “It’s all part of our multi-step process and it happens in milliseconds as the welder makes contact with the material,” John described.

In step one, the horn proceeds from the starting position towards the wire. Once in contact, the system compresses the material in order to measure the height prior to welding. At step two, the horn applies a lower “scrubbing” amplitude that softens the material. Step three provides for a new force and amplitude. In the final step, the equipment sets the final weld condition and reports the after-weld height providing a weld quality test prior to the horn release. He maintains the CLC approach to controlling specific parameters like amplitude, time, energy and force through these steps is what produces more precise welds on a repeatable basis. John provided a great graphical representation in figure 1 of exactly what is happening during a weld.

Figure 1. TECH-SONIC’s ultrasonic step process.

In addition to the increased control aspect of the servo-controlled process, John mentioned the overall reduction in tooling cost. “Our tooling lasts at least two to three times longer than our competitors because, as noted, we are softening the material before the weld. Also, the servo technology preforms a gentler landing on the weld material. With pneumatic you are coming down on the weld with more force whereas ours is a very controlled movement.”

With all these things combined, there is much less wear and tear on the actual tooling, and that difference in terms of cost can be substantial. “On some applications we work with, our competitors tooling was lasting 200k to 300k welds where ours was lasting over 1M cycles.”

As John noted, TECH-SONIC’s equipment is fully programable throughout these steps with unique force and amplitude parameters. You can actually adjust the force and amplitude during the weld cycle for each specific wire application while keeping the energy and frequency constant.

John stressed that another major benefit of their unique approach is that the machines use less energy. “So, for a high voltage cable of 95 mm², it only takes us 6 kW of power compared to our competitors who may be using 9 – 14 kW.”

John was particularly eager to mention that the CLC technology allows their equipment to comply with USCAR 38 and detects 5% of missing strands for large cables. “We are the only company today that complies with USCAR 38, and it’s something we are proud to talk about. The 5% missing strand detection rate is especially important when it comes to welding high-voltage cables in electric vehicles. The USCAR 38 compliance is a game changer for the automotive realm, and a great area of focus for them presently.

Right now, John and the team at TECH-SONIC are very excited to promote CLC technology as it pertains to high-voltage and bus bar welding. John and the team at TECH-SONIC will be on hand at booth # 1227 at the EWPT Expo in Milwaukee this May. He encouraged folks to stop by for a demonstration. In the meantime, you can search TECH-SONIC on YouTube to see the technology in action.

For more information, go to the TECH-SONIC website here.