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Sonics & Materials targets medical market

By: Roger Renstrom

April 16, 2012

ORLANDO, FLA.(April 16, 1:30 p.m. ET) — Ultrasonic welding technology pioneer Sonics & Materials Inc. introduced an all-digital pneumatic SmartSystem ultrasonic welder with a color touch screen control interface. A SmartSystem consists of a bench-top SmartPress and a SmartControl power supply.

As displayed at NPE2012, the 20-kilohertz ultrasonic plastics welding system is an outgrowth of the firm’s 2010 development work on a smart controller for metal welding systems. That technology went into the commercial market in mid-2011.

Sonics & Materials began development of the plastics welding version around October. Projections call for initial deliveries of the plastics’ SmartSystem units in October with the medical market as a key target, said Mark Caldwell, national sales manager.

Sonics & Materials will make the system available in 40-, 20- and 15-kHz versions.

Caldwell estimated the system would sell for about $1,000 more than standard Sonics & Materials welders with traditional two-line-display keypad non-pneumatic technology.

Independently, “we can increase the hold pressure and time control after the ultrasonic weld cycle is complete,” Caldwell said. Earlier systems lack that feature.

The microprocessor-driven system offers the opportunity easily set up welding parameters, has a graph trace of time, distance and power elements and does not use pneumatic valves or flow controls.

The SmartSystem panel has an improved viewing angle and will come with automatically available language menu options, initially for English, Spanish and Chinese.

The power supply is available at power levels of 400-4,500 watts depending on system frequency and configuration.

Sonics & Materials of Newtown, Conn., employs about 70, occupies 45,000 square feet and continues to draw on the talents of Robert S. Soloff, the company’s founder and chief executive officer.

Soloff discovered the process of welding rigid plastics with ultrasonic technology while working in a laboratory in 1963 and was awarded a patent on the method in 1965. He established Sonics & Materials in 1969 and, subsequently, has obtained 11 more patents on his inventions.

Sonics & Materials withholds financial details, but, for its plastics welding equipment line, about 60 percent of sales occur to customers within the United States.