Since plastic is a large part of modern life, the techniques and processes used to make those items are of great interest such as extrusion molding and plastic welding. In general, extrusion molding is used to make many of the smaller or single piece plastics available to the general public while plastic welding is used to fuse together semi-finished plastics into larger or more complex items.
Who Uses It?
Plastic welding is used to manufacture items used to make other products such as plating tanks or in industrial processes like ducting and drip pans. It is common to outsource your plastic welding needs to companies and individuals who have the skills and tools to make the things that you need. For instance, it is a lot easier for metal plating companies to source their tanks from a specialty company than to set up an area dedicated to making them, buy the equipment and hire welders.
What Is It?
The welding of plastic is like the welding of metals in that it uses softened materials to fuse together pieces in an air-tight seam. This allows the product in question, from tanks to boats, to not leak and is incredibly important when working with hazardous materials. There are two types of welding techniques which can be used, applied heat and solvents. Solvents are more often used in plastics and applied heat is more often used in metals, but the method used depends on the properties of the materials and the specifications of the finished product.
How Is It Done?
Welding, in general, requires the right location, it needs to be done in a well-ventilated area with access to everything you need to clean and weld the surfaces. Safety equipment for plastic welding includes heat or solvent resistant gloves and clothing, a mask to filter dust and fumes and eye protection. Since plastic does not require the same amount of heat that metal does to melt, you only need a soldering iron instead of a welding torch, and your eye protection does not need to filter harmful light. Once the items are cleaned and held in place, heat or solvent is applied to both the seam and to the rod of material used to fill any gaps and the weld is made.
Plastic welding can be done on an individual basis at home to repair products or on an industrial scale to make items like plating and storage tanks, drip pans and ducting. Many manufacturers will get their plastic items from a welding company to make their lines run more smoothly and even work with these businesses for custom items.