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About Hot Plate Welding

Hot Plate Welding is a thermal welding technique capable of producing strong, air-tight welds in thermoplastic
parts. When using thermal energy in a tightly controlled manner, thermoplastic parts can be heated to molten
temperatures very quickly and then joined together.
Thermal heat is introduced to the interface of each part half by a precision temperature controlled platen consisting
of multiple uniform temperature distribution cartridge heaters.

Hot Plate Welding Process:

Step One
Part halves are placed into and securely gripped by precision holding fixtures which insure adequate support and
accurate alignment of the part halves throughout the hot plate welding process.

Step Two
To heat the part joint area, a thermally heated platen is placed between the part halves. The holding fixtures close
to compress and melt the part halves to be welded against the platen, displacing material at the joint area only

Step Three
Compression and material displacement continue until precision hard-stops built into the tooling are met. Thermal
heat continues to conduct into the material even though compression and displacement have stopped.

Step Four
After the joint area reaches molten temperature, the holding fixtures open and the heat platen is withdrawn.

Step Five
The holding fixtures then close, forcing the two parts together until hard-stops on the holding fixtures come into
contact with one another.

Step Six
When cooling is complete, the gripping mechanism in one of the holding fixtures releases the part, the holding
fixtures open and the finished part may be removed.
Our existing line of hot plate welders is extensive. Vertical or horizontal platen welder configurations are available
(see below). From manually loaded and unloaded machines to semi and fully automated in-line systems, each of
our hot plate welders is designed to accommodate a specific range of application requirements.

Vertical vs. Horizontal Platen Systems:



Easy to manually load both part halves positively

into the tooling, ensuring precise, repeatable
alignment during welding.

More difficult to manually load both part halves positively as

access to upper tool can be ergonomically challenging.

Not ideal when internal componentry is loose inside

the part halves prior to welding.

Ideal system for part designs where internal components are

loose inside the lower part half prior to welding.

No simple option for operator to load part halves

outside the machine.

Allows option of manually loading part halves outside the

machine (requires drawer load and automatic top-half part

No special location features need be designed into

the part halves or tooling for accurate alignment.

Requires special location features be designed into molded

parts themselves or the tooling (increases tooling
cost/complexity) when using automatic top-half parts pickup.

Faster tool changeover than most horizontal

machines offered today.

Slower tooling changeover typically.

More complex to automate (often requires


Very easy to automate when optional drawer load and

automatic part drop to conveyor belt is used.

Not ideal for automatic part drop (onto conveyor

belt) after welding.

Allows easy automatic part drop onto conveyor belt after

welding (when equipped with optional drawer load).

Twin motion (left and right) fixturing allows

independent control of force/speed on each part

Single motion (upper only) fixturing allows independent

control of force/speed of upper part half only.

half, both against heat platen and against each


Critical Hot Plate Welder Parameters:

Melt Time (parts against heated platen)
Transition (aka: Open) Time between Melt and Weld/Seal Steps
Weld/Seal Time (parts clamped together)
Melt Depth (controlled by stops)
Weld/Seal Depth (controlled by stops)
Melt Force
Weld/Seal Force

Time and Temperature:

The platen temperature to melt the part interface depends on the type of plastic being joined. Each thermoplastic
has a characteristic melt time/temperature curve, and a weld can be produced at any temperature on the curve.
Typically the highest possible temperature at the shortest time is selected to minimize cycle times.The typical hot
plate temperature range is 300 to 950F.

Types of Hot Plate Welds:

Low Temperature

Temperatures less than 500F

Low temperature tools require Teflon coated heat platen inserts or Teflon cloth.
Typically coating/cloth needs replacement every 1500-8000 cycles.
Used on Medical Applications even with High Temp materials to eliminate contamination / discoloration / maximize
weld strength.
Typical cycle time is 20-40seconds.

High Temperature

Temperatures higher than 500F

High temperature tools are typically manufactured using P-20 tool steel.
No melt release coatings typically required
Melt residue smokes away or requires brush cleaning(Nylon)
Smoke/Fumes present: requires exhaust/smoke removal or aircleaning
Typical cycle time is 10-30 seconds.


Typically temperatures higher than 900F

No residue on platen.
No material discoloration.
Precise molding tolerances required.
Not limited to flat mating surfaces.
Typical cycle time exceeds 40 seconds.
Technique is most complicated and least often used in production hot plate welding.

High Temp vs. Low Temp Hot Plate Welding:



(above 500F)

(500F or less)

Faster cycle times:

15 to 45 seconds typical

Slower cycle times:

30 to 60 seconds typical

No coating required. Residue smokes off through

Exhaust Fan. Lower maintenance.

Teflon coating or Teflon Coated Fiberglass Cloth

required on heat platen or insert surface. Higher

Process works well for a variety of materials (some


Process works well for a variety of materials (some


Process can join certain dissimilar materials (wider


Process can join certain dissimilar materials

(limited number).

Not ideal for welding Polyethylene (material excessively

sticks to the heat platen core).

Ideal for welding Polyethylene.

Easy welding of Polypropylene.

Can weld Polypropylene (low temp required in

Medical Cleanroom environment).

Highest strength when welding Nylon. Involves

ultra high-temperature heat platen cores which must be
scrubbed with metal brushes every cycle to clean off
build-up of residual material.

Lower strength when welding Nylon (temperature

too low).

Fillers in the material can build up on the heat

platen requiring periodic cleaning (automatic
cleaning systems are available on several models).

Fillers in the material seldom cause need for

increased cleaning as buildup only occurs when
Teflon coating/cloth needs to be changed.

Smoke and fumes are common as residue is burned

on heat platen core between cycles (ventilation may be

Virtually no smoke or fumes during welding process

at low temp.

Contact vs. Non-Contact Hot Plate Welding:



(High or Low Temp)

(Very High Temp above 900F)

Faster cycle times:

15 to 60 seconds typical

Slower cycle times:

30 to 90 seconds typical

Higher Maintenance. Teflon coating or Teflon Coated

Fiberglass Cloth required on heat platen or insert
surface with some materials. Some fillers in high temp
materials leave residue on platen which must be
brushed/wiped several times per day.

Lower Maintenance. No coating required regardless

of the material to be welded.

Parts can be welded without absolute precision

as joint surfaces will be made parallel to one another
during melt phase when polymer is making contact with
heat platen.

Parts must be molded more precisely as there is no

contact based melt step to flatten/parallel joint surfaces.

Flash traps may be required for cosmetic

applications when welding with contact.

Due to limited displaced material, flash traps are

often not required.

Temperatures typically below 900F. Limited risk of

thermal damage to non-joint areas of parts in
close proximity to heat source.

Temperatures often in excess of 900F. High risk of

thermal damage to non-joint areas of parts in
close proximity to heat source