Plastic Assembly Blog
Design engineers often ask us, “How strong will my staked joint be?” Usually, they’re designing a plastic assembly that needs to be staked, and they need to know how to design the part so that it will be strong enough for their application. They just want a number, like 450 N. If they know how strong one stake point will be, they can plan how many stake points they need and where to locate them. The good news is that we can estimate the answer…
We are doing it again… We are redesigning nanoSTAKE. What? Why?!
Well, this is what we do. Rather than wasting a lot of time trying to develop the perfect product and coming up short or missing the mark entirely, we work hard to get a viable product in your hands fast. We want you to see it, touch it, play with it, and tell us what should improve. That way we can make it better.
So, you’ve seen the new revolutionary nanoSTAKE technology and you are wondering how you can get it on your next plastic staking application. There are two great ways to do that. You can purchase a turnkey nanoSTAKE machine directly from Extol, or you can purchase nanoSTAKE through your preferred integrator. Either way, you get expert technology service from our knowledgeable team. Let’s talk more about what is included in a nanoSTAKE integration package and how they work.
If you do any hot-plate welding, you should start monitoring melt force to improve your weld consistency and quality. Extol’s Rapid Conductor hot-plate welder is equipped standard with three servo-driven platens: the upper and lower press platens, and the heated platen. Servo control eliminates the need for hard stops and ensures that all the pressure applied by the welder goes directly into the components being welded. It also allows the machine to control and monitor the forces throughout the process. Being able to measure the melt and seal forces means you can quickly detect and correct issues.
Extol has recently introduced a new lamp for the ISM20 InfraStake module. This lamp is 35 W, like its predecessor, but the output is enhanced to provide shorter heat times for a faster InfraStake process. Comparison testing of the new lamp showed a notable reduction in the heat time required to stake a variety of plastic materials and colors.
Spin welding is a pretty straightforward process. You spin one plastic component against another and the friction between them causes the material in the weld joint to melt. Even with a welding process this simple, it’s easy to make design mistakes that will cause headaches later. Here are three common mistakes that you should always avoid.
About two years ago, Mark, a manufacturing engineer at AutoTrim, was researching equipment to assemble a new, high-volume door panel they were hoping to win from an OEM. Mark recalled seeing a demo of Extol’s InfraStake technology a few months prior and was drawn to InfraStake’s built-in clamping feature that ensures tight stakes. Mark was hopeful that InfraStake would be a good fit for the door panel line, but wanted confirmation that the technology could meet the cycle time, strength, and assembly tightness requirements. That’s when our Applications Lab, the first of Extol’s wide array of customer-supporting service groups, stepped in to help.
How many times have you stared at a plastic staking machine and wondered how long of a cool time is necessary to prevent the material from sticking to the forming tool when it retracts? Will the settings need to be adjusted after the machine has been running for a while? You need to make good parts, but you also want to optimize the machine cycle time. And naturally, the staking modules need to be small enough to fit your application. Automotive lighting and electronics manufacturers especially need a staking process that fits in tight spaces, keeps up with production, and is simple to set up and operate. Enter nanoSTAKE®, a patent-pending, revolutionary new staking technology that fits the bill.
What if I told you that you can reduce weight and space of a headliner assembly while attaching B-side headliner components? It must be expensive, right? Wrong. In one application, cost was reduced by $3.27 while saving 1.46 lbs and 1 mm stack height per vehicle. Most automakers look for ways to save a few ounces per vehicle, let alone almost a pound and a half! These savings were achieved using a process called InfraWeld®, which uses zero consumables and can change the way you manufacture headliner assemblies.
Several months ago, while spending some time in our Innovation Group, one of our company’s founders (or I can say engineers) asked me to come and take a look at something. Standing in our innovation area, Chip walks me over to a workbench where I see an unassuming setup with a small pneumatic cylinder which holds a pencil-shaped device, only shorter. It’s small with what appears to be undersized wires and a hose coming out of the top. It’s hovering over one of Extol’s plastic test coupons which I’ve staked or riveted using ultrasonic and InfraStake modules hundreds, if not thousands of times. Nearby there is a start button waiting to be pushed.