InfraStake Power Levels

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InfraStake Power Levels: When and Why?

Power levels are used to control the rate at which the plastic boss is heated during the InfraStake process.  In many cases, power levels are not needed. But some applications require a slower rate of heating in order to reach the appropriate staking temperature without smoking or degrading the material.

InfraStake uses IR radiation that is focused on the outer surface of the boss. The energy is absorbed and conducts inward toward the center of the boss. To form a good stake, both the outer surface and the center of the boss need to reach a semi-molten state. In most applications, both areas of the boss become molten enough to be formed without the exterior of the boss smoking. However, some materials do not conduct heat efficiently and the rate of heating needs to be slowed down. Multiple heat times and power levels accomplish this while minimizing the impact on cycle time.

The first heat time, or Ramp Time, uses full power to quickly heat the outer surface of the boss. Before the outer surface gets too hot, the InfraStake process switches to the second heat time, or Soak Time, with a lower power level. Using an algorithm, the InfraStake process rapidly flickers the lamp on and off to effectively reduce the IR energy output. This allows the heat to conduct to the center of the plastic boss without overheating the outer surface. Once the entire boss is up to temperature, the lamp turns off, the plastic is formed, and the InfraStake process continues as usual.

In most applications, the center of the of the boss reaches the staking threshold before the outer surface of the boss reaches the smoking threshold and multiple heat times with power levels are not needed.

In more challenging applications, the outer surface of the boss reaches the smoking threshold before the center of the boss is hot enough to be staked. Without multiple heat times and power levels, this application would cause smoking.

By activating a lower power level part way through the InfraStake heat cycle, the rate of heating is decreased and both the center of the boss and the outer surface of the boss reach the staking threshold without smoking.