Innovative Advances in RF Welding Medical Products

What is RF Welding? RF Welding refers to the process of bonding materials together through the use of electromagnetic energy. While RF does involve the heating up of molecules within materials, there is no external heat source applied topically to the material. Materials that are commonly RF welded include PET, PETG, PVC, Thermoplastic Polyurethanes, Open Celled Polyurethanes, and LDPE/EVA. Today there are only a handful of manufacturers based in the U.S., with JTE leading the way in providing advanced controls for all of its RF machines, with a specialization in automation and integrated cutting operations.

Many industries such as the medical industry are searching for more efficient ways to produce their products very quickly and precisely. With the built in PLC and HMI systems, JTE Machines are able to provide their customers with a more advanced system that continuously monitors the inputs and outputs of the operation. The PLC system keeps a memory of the weld cycles, settings and an errors that may occur during the welding process. With these features, the PLC is capable of detecting errors sooner rather than later, saving time and material waste while providing manufacturers with a way to validate the overall process. With the unique HMI system that JTE Machines provides, the HMI monitor is easily operated with its advanced color touch screen system, and accessible USB port.  JTE Machines provides the most advanced PLC and HMI controlled machines to the industry, as well as the most customized and innovative tools for perimeter, tube, chamber and two-stage welding.

These high tech features of the JTE Machines have recently been implemented into their most recent project. The newest machine is designed to enable multiple types of products with minimal change overtime; this minimizes the downtime on the machine. With the addition of a robotic off loader, the number of operators needed is reduced. This automated machine produces higher quality end products that are welded with high accuracy. Some additional components of the JTE Machines include

auto-tuning, pneumatic sliding tool holder, servo driven clamp index system, programmable index length, and two position automatic  mandrel loading system. JTE Machines takes the needs of the customer into consideration before designing the most efficient machine that will work best for their RF welding requirements.

Not only is JTE Machines adopting the most updated technologies in the industry, JTE Machines provides a very strong support system that is always ready to help with any needs. JTE is one of the few companies in the industry that offers dedicated 24/7 expert technical support. This support system specifically benefits its high volume automation solution customers. JTE offers a comprehensive Preventative Maintenance program that entails one visit per year for a full inspection, cleaning, and calibration of the system for optimized production. Also, there is a complimentary 24/7 over the phone service with extended warranty. JTE Machines is constantly looking to enforce the most updated technologies into their machines as well as providing their customers with the most reliable support system possible. To learn more about what JTE can do to improve your production, email sales@jtemachines.com

JTE prepares for the 2018 IFAI Expo

The annual IFAI Expo will take place on October 15th through October 18th at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, Texas. JTE will have a booth at the expo, where we will be showcasing our latest line of automated welding and cutting solutions. JTE is one of the few companies in the world that offers items like a fully integrated, material roll storage and delivery system, and multi-function static and conveyor cutting systems together with RF Welding and we are excited to bring these new innovations in automation to the Expo.

One of the machines that JTE will introduce is the multifunction cutter. Ours is one of the first solutions to showcase the marriage of automation and fabric RF welding, the multifunction cutter is an automatic flatbed or conveyor cutting machine that is specially designed for cutting and marking flexible materials. This machine can be used across multiple industries- including the awnings, inflatables, industrial doors, and tensile structures to name a few.  Adding automation to your current fabric welding lineup not only increases efficiency, but increases the life of the machine and decreases the cost of ownership. To learn more about adding automation, stop by our booth which is number #909.

In other exciting news, JTE will be hosting a giveaway throughout the duration of the Expo! Each day there will be an Amazon gift card up for grabs, with values ranging from 25$ all the way to 100$. Everyone who signs up for the giveaway has a chance to win all three prizes, unless you have already won a prize. Entry is easy- simply visit our website to fill out the form.

We know that the Expo is a crazy three days, which is why we are offering the option to schedule your demo ahead of time so that you can better maximize your time- and to make sure you get in to see us! Click here to schedule your demo.

We look forward to seeing everyone at the Expo!

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5 Signs That You May Be
Using the WRONG Fabric Welder

The Top 20 Products Made
with RF WELDERS

Have a question? Contact us!

What is RF Welding?

Many people may be familiar with the phrase “RF Welding” but are unsure as to what it really means. RF (radio frequency) welding, also known as HF or high-frequency welding, refers to the process of bonding materials together through the use of electromagnetic energy. This process creates an oscillating electric field that shifts and moves polar molecules within the materials between a tool and the platen. When these molecules move, they release energy in the form of heat. When enough of this energy is applied, the molecules begin to melt and bond to one another. The weld is completed by applying pressure to the bonded area, ensuring a successful seal without any external heat.

What Factors Influence a Good Weld?

There are many factors that affect the strength and quality of a seal in RF welding. Some of the most important factors in creating a good seal include tooling layout, weld thickness, and machine control. All RF welds require adjustments in the power level, pressure level, and time for both weld and cooling settings. The best RF weld results from machines that control the power, pressure, and time precisely throughout the welding cycle. The appeal of RF welding lies in the completeness of the weld that it provides. When you choose RF welding as your method, you can create very robust hermetic seals. These seals are airtight, as many welds are subject to peel tests, leak tests, and optical tests to determine whether or not the correct conditions have been achieved.

What Materials Can Be Welded?

Here is a list of the most common materials the RF welding is performed on:

  • PET
  • PETG
  • PVC
  • Thermoplastic Polyurethanes
  • Open Celled Polyurethanes
  • LDPE/EVA

Is RF the same as Heat Sealing?

While many people, including some RF machine manufacturers, refer to their RF machines as “Heat Sealers”, the term is inaccurate when explaining RF technology. Heat sealing is the process of sealing one thermoplastic to another similar thermoplastic using heat and pressure. The direct contact method of heat sealing utilizes a constantly heated die or sealing bar to apply heat to a specific contact area or path to seal or weld the thermoplastics together. While RF does involve the heating up of molecules within materials, there is no external heat source applied topically to the material. In fact, the RF tool is usually regulated to maintain the same temperature as the ambient temperature or just slightly warmer to produce the most efficient RF weld.

History of RF Welding for Plastic Materials

RF (HF) welding can also be referred to as dielectric welding, and is a relatively mature technology with regard to welding plastics. It has been around for over 50 years, starting in Europe, as a result of theoretical knowledge of the first radar systems and post-war experience accrued in the field of inductive and capacitive heating of materials. Today there are only a handful of manufacturers based in the U.S., with JTE leading the way in providing advanced controls for all of its RF machines, with a specialization in automation and conversion of existing sewing operations.

If your machine is not as efficient as you would like, your welder may not be the right machine for the job. Our eBook 5 Signs That You May Be Using the Wrong Fabric Welder can help you figure out the answer to this question, and help you find the machine that fits your welding needs. 

Download our FREE ebooks!

5 Signs That You May Be
Using the WRONG Fabric Welder

The Top 20 Products Made
with RF WELDERS

Have a question? Contact us!

JTE and Big Top Fabric Structures

We have been supplying Big Top Fabric Structures in Perry FL with traveling RF Welders for over 15 years, helping them to grow to become one of the most innovative fabric building manufacturers in the U.S. At the end of 2017, we completed the installation of one of our largest traveling FIAB RF welders in the country!

 

Below are two images of the machine, which is made up of a 6ft plus “throat” (the space behind the welding tool), and an almost 6ft length welding tool with an integrated material pulling system for the world’s most efficient way to RF weld large panels of PVC or PU coated material.

 

For more information, contact Traci Evling at tevling@jtemachines.com

 

 

What Safety Factors Should you Consider when Choosing an RF Welder?

With the many things to consider when choosing the right RF welder, safety is often overlooked when it should be at the top of the list. Safety is very important to JTE, which is why we created this guide that outlines which safety features you should consider when you are in the process of choosing an RF welder.

Are you trained on the machine?

In order to operate high powered machines such as RF welders safely, you must receive the appropriate level of training. This training should be conducted by someone who is experienced on the machine, or by representatives from the manufacturer. When looking around for a new welder, look for a company that provides in-depth training both on-site and after installation. All personnel who are going to operate the machine or be responsible for any maintenance should be familiar with the basics of RF welding, equipment features, fault diagnostics, lockout and safety procedures, troubleshooting options and preventive maintenance. Also, make sure the company offers follow up training sessions to ensure that your employees are knowledgeable throughout the life of owning the equipment which most often exceeds 10 years.

Are your employees following the maintenance procedures recommended by the manufacturer and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)?

The most important component of any maintenance program is a lockout/tag-out procedure that is approved by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and is documented. Ensuring this procedure is approved is especially crucial, because locking out and tagging out the power source means that no available voltage will be present on the line side of the welder’s main circuit breaker. During any maintenance, it only makes sense from a safety standpoint that the complete welding system is disconnected from the power source. In addition, RF machines are very sensitive to environmental moisture, dirt, and metal particles.  Make sure the provider of your equipment gives you daily, weekly, and monthly Preventative Maintenance procedures to follow, in addition to offering an annual PM Service and Extended Warranty programs.

Is the equipment properly shielded?

When purchasing new RF machinery, doing a quick check in key areas to make sure all critical components of the equipment contain the industry’s most advanced shielding for the lowest RF emissions is essential. Here are the 5 items that are most important to look for when considering RF shielding:

  1. Is the generator housed within a separate thick wall box with proper insulators and capacitors to help direct the RF into the feed strip?
  2. Is there a ground foot or ground fingers to ensure a proper return of the RF circuit back to the generator?
  3. Is the tool holder shielded?
  4. Is there a PLC integrated within the control system of the machine?  (Usually, this is an indication that there is adequate shielding so that the PLC can coexist with the RF while functioning).
  5. Is the maximum weld area output of the RF generator at least 6 sq. inches per kW? This type of output is not possible without a well-shielded RF machine.

Does the welder come with the built-in safety features?

Below are the safety features that all RF welders should have built in. If the machines that you are looking at do not come with these safety features, it should be a major red flag.

  • All doors and panels should be interlocked. In the event they unexpectedly open up during operation, the welder will shut down automatically.
  • Grounding devices should be installed on the oscillator and DC power supply. These will discharge any capacitors automatically to ground. (These are not needed for solid-state welders.)
  • There should be externally mounted, hand-resettable emergency stop button(s) on the machine that are accessible at all times.
  • The press should have a finger safety design that allows the press to move down under low pressure.

Working around and operating RF welders could be dangerous. One small mistake could have catastrophic results. Knowing this, JTE goes above and beyond when it comes to implementing safety measures on our machines. We have taken the time to add extra precautions on all of our machines, and to create a training program that is thorough.

Does the provider of your machine provide a 24/7 help support access for safety questions?

If you are experiencing major safety issues with your current machine, your welder may not be the right machine for the job. Our eBook 5 Signs That You May Be Using the Wrong Fabric Welder can help you figure out the answer to this question, and help you find the machine that fits your welding and safety needs.

Download our FREE ebooks!

5 Signs That You May Be
Using the WRONG Fabric Welder

The Top 20 Products Made
with RF WELDERS

JTE exhibits at the NIBA 2017 NIBA/PTDA Joint Industry Summit

For the second year in a row, JTE showcased its innovative technology at the NIBA Expo, NIBA/PTDA Joint Summit held at the Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, FL on Sept. 27-30.  As the leading designer and fabricator of 3-D tooling and High Frequency (RF) Welding machines for the Lightweight Belting industry, JTE has set new standards for safety, quality, efficiency, and ease of use in the high frequency (RF) welding of PVC and PU cleats, sidewalls, edge caps, finger splices, and v-guides on PVC and PU coated and homogenous belts.

At the show, JTE featured its new sectional cleat tool which is the first commercially available tool to weld cleats up to and within the inside edge of sidewalls. It consists of multiple one inch segments with custom end pieces that are available to adjust to exact belt width. This tool, like other JTE modular tools is adjustable to allow for variations in length, height, and thickness of cleat.

In addition to RF Welders, Tooling, V-guide Notching and V-guide welding solutions, JTE continues to add new solutions to its Belting machine portfolio, and plans to introduce at least one new machine in the next 6 months. In an effort to share its expertise of RF welding technology,  JTE is currently scheduling training seminars specifically for belting applications and will be announcing the 2018 Training schedule soon – stay tuned for updates!

The Expo and Conference was a great way for JTE to connect with current customers and many new companies who desire to improve the quality and efficiency of their lightweight belt manufacturing. Call 800-355-4JTE or email tevling@jtemachines.com for more information or to schedule a site visit.

 

 

JTE Has Another Successful IFAI Expo!

JTE Machines participated in the annual IFAI Expo which ran from September 26-29th in New Orleans, LA. The IFAI Expo which offers industry members the opportunity to interact with one another amongst product demonstrations and educational panels, offered something new this year: the opportunity for all manufacturers to come together for charity.

The IFAI introduced as a new addition to the expo this year, Manufacturing for Good, which is a live manufacturing experience that demonstrates the making of a duffel bag from start to finish. These duffel bags had a special final destination: Raintree Children & Family Services, which is a nonprofit organization that assists at-risk children and youth in New Orleans and its surrounding areas.

This event, which acted as a pop-up factory, highlighted machines from nine different manufacturers who all played a part in the construction of the duffel bags. JTE Machines was able to showcase their tabletop automatic PVC grommet punch and weld machine as they were in charge of installing the grommets on the duffel bags allowing for colorful name tags to be attached. While live demonstrations occur at every trade show, the products typically created are discarded at the end of the show. Not this time. 70 duffel bags were created as a result of the efforts of JTE and the other manufacturers. These duffel bags will be put to good use by the youth at Raintree Children & Family Services!

 

                                     

The rest of the Expo was just as exciting. Over the next four days JTE met with hundreds of companies in need of fabric welding, cutting, and automation solutions to increase productivity within their shops. These solutions often enable them to replace their scarce resource sewing operations with easy to use RF and Ultrasonic welding machines that can be operated by anyone. JTE also participated as a panelist in the “Choosing a Welder” seminar and conducted a “Welding Machine Safety and Maintenance” workshop which took place on the show floor! Traci Evling, (Managing Director of JTE Machines) commented, “Thank you to all of the visitors who stopped by the booth and attended these seminars- we look forward to seeing you again in Dallas next year or sooner at your own facility!”

To learn more, visit the JTE Machines website which has just been re-designed, and was debuted at the Expo!

 

 

 

 

President & CEO Traci Evling interviewed by Digital Output

 Digital Output looks at textile finishing for the wide format printing industry. Main article on sewing options for digital print providers; sidebar on welding and seaming options.

When would it be better to utilize welding or seaming, rather than a sewing machine—what scenarios or conditions would make these better alternatives?

Anytime you are working with a PVC or PU coated material (Vinyl Banner Material), welding will provide a higher quality and watertight seam rather than sewing. If you use RF welding (radio frequency), the molecules of the plastic fuse together, and do not affect the thread inside, so the end result is the highest quality, most reliable seam you can achieve. Ascetically, the seam is smooth, and virtually invisible, with limited or no puckering and shrinkage of the material. This process is also excellent for multiple layer welding. For example, reinforcement webbing with a top and bottom layer of vinyl can all be welded at once.  In general, RF welding is less operator dependent than sewing, especially with traveling head machines that require the operator to simply line up the material on the table, and the machine does the rest of the work.  Other applications for RF welding include: weldable hook and loop and weldable PVC (plastic) grommets. For example, JTE just introduced a high speed punch and weld RF grommet machine for this application. Plastic grommets on banners are stronger, weather durable, and only require one for reinforcement, so they can be completely hidden, or clear, and not interfere with the image. There is no puncturing of the material, as needed with metal grommets.

Hot air or hot wedge welding is good for repetitive seams, and can minimize operator dependence in the traveling head format. Since this is not a molecular fusion, the reliability depends a bit more on the settings and operator, and this type of weld cannot be re-welded for repairs. It does not work with more than two layers, unless you have a custom setup up.

Ultrasonic welding is an alternative to sewing polyester fabrics and most thermal plastic material used in tradeshow graphics, flags and banners that are non-PVC coated.  JTE offers a sewing style version with a rotary horn, that can weld curves and shapes that normally would be sewn. Pure nylon material is not usually a good fit for ultrasonic, as it is too slippery and usually too thin. Automatic Rotary adhesive glue machines can also bond polyesters, acrylics and many other materials, without the need for seaming tape.

Please send responses to Lisa Guerriero, lguerriero@rockportpubs.com, and contact 978-921-7850 x12 with any questions or concerns.