Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Intelligent Assembly Solutions for Medical Devices

Medical devices are complex by nature and designed to assist in healing the human body. Therefore, these devices have the highest quality standards and are subject to stringent regulations.   In addition, staying cost effective and employing sustainable manufacturing practices are emerging needs for Medical Device Manufacturers (MDM).  Dukane, as a provider of assembly solutions to MDM industry recognizes these requirements and provides its customers with the most advanced assembly solutions and plastic welding technology.   Dukane’s equipment options are designed to provide the best quality welds for the most complex of medical devices and components. Dukane’s welding systems are FDA compliant and offer advance process controls, which increase repeatability, deliver consistent part geometry, and reduce scrap rates. In addition, Dukane collaborates with MDM clients to provide technical expertise in assembly method selection, assistance in joint design, feasibility studies, welding systems validation and calibration.

Dukane’s iQ Series Servo Driven Ultrasonic Welder, with patented Melt-Match® technology, has a proven track-record of delivering quality results in welding medical parts like valves, ports, filters, surgical instruments and implant devices.  iQ Servo’s patented process control features like Melt-Detect™ confirms the presence of the molten material in the contact area before prompting the press to initiate downward movement. This is especially important in welding small parts and assemblies, which requires hermetic seal, as it eliminates the risk of deforming the energy director before melt is initiated, which could result in a leak path and “cold welds”.

View this video to understand Dukane's patented Melt-Detect™ feature of iQ Servo Ultrasonic Technology

The Melt-Detect™ also enables a user to accurately establish the necessary amplitude required by specific material properties and part configuration by using welder’s graphical output. This authentic approach for amplitude setting allows the user to apply just the right amount of ultrasonic energy that is needed to initiate the melt, avoiding excessive heating and material degradation in the weld. This is especially important for building filter assemblies, where excessive amplitude is associated with tiny pin-holes occurring in the filter media.

Medical Devices and Components Assembled using Dukane's Welding Technologies
In addition, iQ Servo technology eliminates the variability associated with pneumatic press components resulting in improved process repeatability and accuracy, which results in fewer rejects for manufacturers. The elimination of compressed air in Dukane’s ultrasonic welding systems significantly simplifies equipment installation and lowers manufacturing cost.

Watch Dukane's Laser Welder in action

Dukane’s Laser welding systems are capable to weld clear-to-clear and clear-to-colored parts, including typical tube-to-tube-and tube-to-port assemblies. In general, the laser welding technique is dependent on the upper component being transparent to the laser and having the presence of an absorbing agent in the lower component.  This configuration limits the process applicability for manufacturing medical devices when a "clear-to-clear" or a "clear-to-colored" assembly is required. Dukane engineers have successfully overcome this obstacle by integrating a recently developed 2-micron laser. This laser produces a beam which is greatly absorbed by clear polymers and enables a highly controlled melting through the thickness of optically clear parts. This has resulted in a greatly improved and simplified technique for laser welding of clear polymers for the medical device industry, which now can fully capitalize on benefits of this advanced Laser assembly process.

For more information on Dukane’s Welding technology and technical expertise call 630-797-4900 or visit http://www.dukane.com/us/AP_Med.htm

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Servo driven Ultrasonic Welding technology provides sophisticated results in assembling Mini Medical Device

A leading medical device manufacturer uses Dukane’s iQ Series Servo Ultrasonic Welding System to produce high-quality results in assembling small, delicate Test Strips.  These Test Strips are used to measure a person’s Total Cholesterol, HDL, Glucose and Triglycerides.  Assembling small medical devices, like these Test Strips, requires precise, repeatable and consistent process control.  The Test Strips are made of two thin layers of Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) film.  Between the two PET layers is a mesh membrane infused with the diagnostic chemical.  

Prior to investing in Dukane’s iQ Servo Ultrasonic Welder technology, the biggest challenge for this manufacturer was misalignment of the thin PET films during the assembly process.  Scrap rate was more than 30%.  The iQ Series Servo Ultrasonic Welding System with patented Melt-Match® technology solved the assembly alignment problems and provided accurate, repeatable and reliable process.  By using the digital process control from the iQ Series Servo Ultrasonic Welders, they have produced 20+ million Test Strip assemblies in less than three years while reducing their scrap rate to less than 5%.  

iQ Series Servo Ultrasonic Welding System
Multiple parameters are available for defining the weld cycle sequence for iQ Servo systems.  For this application, the iQ Servo system is programmed to trigger the weld cycle using minimal force.  As each weld cycle is initiated, the ultrasonic horn descends towards the assembly at a fast rate of speed.  Then, approximately 1.0 mm above the assembly, the horn slows down to a programmed, controlled speed prior to coming in contact with the Test Strip.  This is when the iQ Series Servo Melt-Match® feature is initiated.  This is best described as when the system reaches the programmed trigger force value on the Test Strip, the horn’s downward movement stops and the ultrasonics start vibrating the horn to soften the PET material.  Next, the system’s load cell detects a programmed drop in force, indicating that parts have begun to melt.  At that point the weld cycle downward motion re-initiates to further compress the parts.  Part welding continues for a programmed distance or energy value at a determined collapse speed.  With the weld speed precisely controlled in addition to using Melt-Detect™, unnecessary force is reduced on the thin film that would otherwise distort it.  This, in turn, results in improved weld quality.

In the final stage of the weld cycle, the iQ Servo system also gives the flexibility to program Dynamic and/or Static Hold.  Dynamic Hold will have the horn further compress the parts after the ultrasonics has been turned off.  Static Hold has the weld horn hold its final end-of-weld position for a given amount of time.  In this application, Static Hold has been programmed.  This gives the materials enough time to solidify without misalignment.  Once the Static Hold time has been completed, the horn then returns to its home (or Top of Stroke) position ready for the next weld cycle. This was the most helpful feature for these thin PET Test Strips.

Another major advantage of using iQ Servo system is the ability to duplicate a known process on multiple iQ Servo Systems without any variation in weld results. In this application, this feature was of major benefit for the manufacturing company. They were able to install multiple iQ Servo Systems for their growing need without investing extra time or effort in fine-tuning the process for each welder.

Dukane’s extensive product line of servo-driven technology and our professional sales and engineering team will collaboratively work with customers to provide the best solution for their given application. For more information on iQ Series Servo Ultrasonic Welder and other Ultrasonic Welding products visit http://www.dukane.com/us/ or call 630-797-4900.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Dukane’s Technical Seminars_ a great opportunity to sharpen your saw and get better results

Have you heard the story of the man who is working feverishly to cut down a tree? He has been working hard for hours when a passerby suggests that his work might go faster if he would take a short break to sharpen the saw. “I don’t have time to sharpen the saw,” the man says. I’m too busy sawing!”

Unfortunately, this is often the most prevalent attitude towards training. We are so busy trying to meet production demands, cost targets and quality standards that we simply do not stop and sharpen our saw. With this in mind, Dukane's technical team designed two comprehensive technical seminars to help plastic part manufacturers learn and sharpen their Ultrasonic and Vibration welding skills.
Ultrasonic Technical Seminar_conducted by Ken Holt
The Introduction to Ultrasonic Plastics Assembly seminar is a comprehensive two-day technical forum designed to provide a general understanding of ultrasonic plastics assembly and its capabilities. Participants learn practical theory, principles, and benefits of ultrasonic assembly and how to incorporate ultrasonic welding into their manufacturing processes. The workshops are designed to be very interactive and participatory. Participants are encouraged to bring their specific questions, concerns, and applications for discussion and analysis.
Vibration Welding Seminar_conducted by Ray LaFlamme
The second program Introduction to Vibration Welding is a one-day technical forum designed to provide basics of vibration welding. It also gives an opportunity to understand frequency and amplitude of different machines, part design requirement for the process and typical applications for vibration welding.

Classes are small and interactive; Dukane encourages participants to bring in their specific questions and applications for group discussion. These technical seminars are great opportunities for professionals to learn and catch up on advanced Assembly Technologies, network with industry peers and share mutual experiences to articulate better solutions.

Dukane conducts two In-House Technical Seminars annually in St. Charles, IL and multiple regional seminars to provide local opportunities to customers worldwide. For more information on all Technical Seminars and workshops provided by Dukane, visit this Training page or call training hotline (630) 797-4929.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by author Stephen R. Covey

Friday, February 27, 2015

Ultrasonic Cutting - Various Food Products

Dukane offers high quality ultrasonic food processing and cutting equipment including generators, converters, cutting blades, guillotines and slitters. Over the years Dukane’s Ultrasonic food cutting technology has given the best precision and uniformity to the food industry, worldwide. Dukane offers technology and equipment that is reliable and controllable - and backs it up with unparallel service and support. This video demonstrates Dukane’s Ultrasonic food cutting technology and highlights several benefits in using this technology for food processing and packaging. 

Throughout the process, food manufacturers find consistent quality, clean cuts and significantly reduce rejects. It also reduces down time for clean up and increases cutting speed, substantially. For more information on your next food, cutting project visit our webpage http://www.dukane.com/us/PFO_food.htm or call 630-797-4900.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Plastic Welding Technical Tip - Weld them while they are hot

Molded parts welded hot off the press will weld differently than if they are allowed to cool. Since these parts are not fully cured, their size and shape can change significantly in the first few minutes out of the molding machine.

Freshly molded parts may also retain quite a bit of heat, which can be beneficial in some welding processes. It’s important to realize that the set up for welding warm parts must be different than that for cold parts. Finished part consistency will suffer otherwise. For instance, polycarbonate is one material which reacts well when warm, for two reasons. First polycarbonate is one of the most thermally conductive of the common thermoplastics. Welding warm polycarbonate eliminates one of the problems in welding this material cold. It is often difficult to retain heat in the joint long enough to accomplish the desired weld. Second, since polycarbonate requires a relatively high temperature to flow, less energy will be required to make it flow if the part is already warm. Stress in the joint area may also be reduced by having the surrounding material somewhat warmer, allowing the weld to cool more slowly.

Of course, not everything behaves like polycarbonates. Materials such as olefins (polypropylene and polyethylene), which are not very stiff and have relatively low thermal conductivity, usually weld better when allowed to cool. On the other hand, hygroscopic materials should almost always be welded while they are still warm to reduce absorption of moisture.

Many factors must be considered in determining whether welding hot off the press is appropriate for a particular assembly. Therefore, it is important to process sample parts using this method to define as many parameters as possible before going into full production.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Dukane’s Contribution in Advance Research and Education to strengthen New Talent in plastic technology:

In recent years, reshoring and the resulting skill gap are the two most distinct trends in US manufacturing sector. Some of the cost related reasons pointed by industry experts for reshoring are, increased ocean freight cost, increment in manufacturing wages overseas or changes in exchange rate. Experts also reason that companies want to produce close to demand. Whatever the reason is reshoring is very much the new trend. However, on the other end the problem surfacing and hindering reshoring is lack of skilled workforce in manufacturing industry. In May of 2014, The National Press Club hosted an event entitled “The Manufacturing Skills Gap: How a Shortage of Skilled Workers and Needed Education is Affecting the Economic Recovery,” where speakers cited two worrisome figures: There are approximately 600,000 skilled manufacturing jobs that are currently unfilled in the U.S., and 2.7 million manufacturing workers are expected to retire in the next 10 years. Part of the gap is explained by the overall decline in manufacturing over the last three decades or so. Some blame a shift in educational priorities. To rectify this situation, manufacturers are rolling up their sleeves and contributing to initiatives like education in the area of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Some manufacturers are conducting onsite or offsite training to interest local high school students in manufacturing sector.

Dukane Corporation is also proud to contribute its own share to fill the skill gap by providing upcoming talents with resources that can enhance their education and research activities related to plastic technology. Recently, Dukane’s Intelligent Assembly Solutions division facilitated the donation of iQ Series Pneumatic Ultrasonic Welding Press System to the Department of Technology’s Engineering Technology plastics laboratory at Illinois State University (ISU). This device is an Ultrasonic Press System from Dukane’s iQ Series. Features of this equipment as 100% digitally controlled generator, ultra-rigid press, coupled with the iQ Explorer user-interface provides superior accuracy and ease of use. The generators have new multi-core processor technology that allows them to operate at a processing rate of .5 milliseconds. iQ Explorer’s intuitive touch-screen graphical menu structure incorporates a one-page setup screen that makes welder operation easy to learn and program. Ethernet Connectivity and multiple USB ports are all options for weld and graph data storage. Over 25 programmable upper and lower process limits along with reference, weld graph logic are available for weld diagnostics and process consistency. Future Engineers and researchers at ISU will have this unique opportunity to interact and learn from this technically advanced equipment. Dukane and ISU are hoping to strengthen their relationship further through the development of student and faculty research projects.

Reshoring is not just a buzzword, it’s an economically driven correction to a supply chain that had become unbalanced. http://www.ptonline.com/articles/the-truth-about-reshoring
What Processors are doing to Bridge the Skill Gap, Plastics Technology September 2014 http://www.ptonline.com/articles/what-processors-are-doing-to-bridge-the-skills-gap
Ten for STEM – Ten developments promoting science & technology learning, Machine Design June 2014 http://machinedesign.com/blog/ten-stem-ten-developments-promoting-science-technology-learning