In-Line Ultrasonic Welding for the Manufacture of Toner Cartridges

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In-Line Ultrasonic Welding for the Manufacture of Toner Cartridges

 user 2014-06-05 at 11:10:31 am Views: 314
  • #3022

    In-Line Ultrasonic Welding for the Manufacture of Toner Cartridges
    By Staff Writers


    OKI Printing Solutions Cumbernauld was founded in 1987 and is involved in the configuration of OKI printers and faxes as well as the manufacture of ribbons and toner cartridges.

    The company has increased from strength to strength and has achieved an outstanding reputation for quality and performance within the global electronics industry.

    The company constantly evaluates its manufacturing processes and systems on a regular basis ensuring that product quality and performance continue to be enhanced whilst at the same time output is increased to meet the growing demand for the products manufactured at the Scottish factory.

    One example of this is the collaboration between OKI and Telsonic UK to evaluate and subsequently introduce ultrasonic welding to the plant's toner cartridge assembly lines.

    Application Development and Collaboration Ensures Success

    Telsonic is well-versed in welding and joining applications and offer valuable advice and recommendations on material match and joint design which are essential elements of any successful project.

    After initial discussions between the two companies, Telsonic performed a series of development trials at their applications laboratory in Poole. These were instrumental in evaluating materials, cycle times, process parameters and weld strength with a view to eliminate application risk and building customer confidence in the process. As a newcomer to ultrasonic welding, OKI had to be sure that consistent quality and weld strength could be achieved.

    The process also needs to be tolerant of the environment in which the welding process would operate, as following the filling and dispensing process toner material can be present on the joint faces of the part prior to welding.

    After extensive trials using each of the different toner powders, Telsonic were able to demonstrate the suitability of the process with its unique ability to effectively “push” any trapped toner material out of the joint area ensuring predictable welding results. Figure 1 shows the OKI mono toner cartridge cap welded using a Telsonic ultrasonic system.

    Figure 1. OKI mono toner cartridge – cap welded using Telsonic ultrasonic system

    After the online introduction of the first ultrasonically welded product, a further nine product variants were subsequently targeted for ultrasonic welding.

    The next Telsonic challenge was how to bring the benefits of the process to each of the product types with the absolute minimum of changes to the existing clip and gasket toner cartridge  assemblies.

    Another important consideration was how the ultrasonic welding systems would integrate into OKI’s automated toner cartridge manufacturing lines and operator assembly stations. To extend the introduction of the technology.

    Telsonic engineers along with the suppliers of the component mouldings, OKI quality engineers and operators, with data obtained from the collaboration of the various parties were able to propose modifications and a suitable Ultrasonic weld joint design to suit moulding , automation and  product quality constraints and improvements.

    The configuration of this joint design required only minor changes to the existing toner cartridge body and cap designs, resulting in minimal impact on the injection mould tooling and most importantly, costs.

    Figure 2. Only minor changes were made to cap design for ultrasonic welding

    In-Line and Free Standing Solutions

    The statistics and results obtained from extensive application development trials combined with the minor moulding design changes needed to realise the benefits which would be obtained from the ultrasonic welding process, caused OKI to introduce the technology to their fully automated Mono cartridge production lines.

    These systems are “puck” based conveyor lines which transport individual toner cartridges through a series of assembly, filling, capping and laser etching stations. These systems are configured to produce two different mono cartridge types and proved to be an ideal platform to show the capabilities of ultrasonic welding technology within a full production environment within OKI.

    The Telsonic ultrasonic welding system housed in its own enclosure, was integrated adjacent to the existing laser etching station. The ultrasonic horn or head is a duplex design enabling the system to process either of the two variants produced on the line with a minimum of changeover time and the weld programme data is easily selected from the menu options on the HMI.

    An electronic proportional control valve is used to achieve the weld pressure and the fully electronic weld program sequence ensures that weld parameters, limits, pressure and time are all monitored for each welding cycle providing predictable and consistent weld quality. With the system in full production and by realizing the benefits of the technology OKI’s confidence in the Telsonic solution was such that the company started to progressively introduce ultrasonic welding across a series of free-standing filling and assembly stations used to produce Colour toner cartridges.

    Figure 3. OKI Colour Toner Cartridge – cap welded using Telsonic Ultrasonic System


    With the process control concepts and same hardware configuration as the in-line automated systems these stand alone stations also incorporate additional features including a single component nest design which will accommodate all of the relevant colour product variants, sensing to verify that the toner has been dosed correctly, and clamping the cartridge body before initiating the welding sequence with a pull down, power up safety guarding system.

    Presently OKI has a total of 12 free-standing systems producing Colour cartridges, a testament to the quality and reliability of the ultrasonic welding process. The involvement of Telsonic with OKI and this project did not end with supply of the ultrasonic welding systems.

    A number of structured training courses were conducted by Telsonic engineers over a 2-day period for OKI personnel across manufacturing, technical, engineering and quality departments, enabling the company to fully support the systems using their own in house resource.

    This introduction of ultrasonic welding at the Cumbernauld site is an excellent example of the proactive and partnership approach of OKI engineers in seeking out new lean manufacturing processes and systems which will enhance the quality and reliability of the products which they produce, with the added benefit of reducing manufacturing costs.

    About Telsonic

    Telsonic offers a full design facility using an FEA tooling package and joint design recommendations as part of our service. FAT, SAT, URS FMEA’s, etc. compliant.

    Our range of plastic welding equipment includes hand-held units, bench top systems and bespoke welding systems.

    We have a range of equipment aimed at the OEM market to which we supply actuators, generators, ultrasonic stacks (converters and boosters) including tooling for specialist machine builders to integrate into fully automated assembly systems.