Laser Welding for Bonding technical Polymers and Wood Materials
01/23/2009

Fig. 1: Laser bonding von Acrylnitril-Butadien-Styrol (ABS) to chipboard (left) und Polypropylen (PP) to wood fiber composite material (right).

Using laser welding for joining thermoplastics is an industrially established process. The advantages of this process are, among other things, high automation and flexibility, no sputtering from melt ejection and vibration-free production. At the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH), this technology has been further developed to join thermoplastic polymers to wood materials. Applications include, for example, for bonding inner door panels in the automotive industry, or for bonding veneer to edges in the furniture industry.

This process can be used for joining common thermoplastics such as PP, PA and ABS to wood materials, such as fibreboard (MDF, HDF), chipboard or solid wood boarding. Bonding to wood fibreboards and natural fiber composite material boards was also investigated, for applications in the automotive industry. Depending on the materials to be joined, different joining mechanisms were investigated, in which the natural thermoplastic lignin, a main element of wood, appears to play an important role.

Apart from the advantages mentioned above, laser welding can also be used to join wood materials without using glues. Costs related to the glue itself, and to maintenance and cleaning costs connected to glue application are no longer applicable.

Tensile shear tests and impermeability tests have shown that laser bonding is qualitatively good, and on approximately the same level as competitive bonding processes.

The LZH can transfer experimental results from plastic-wood bonding to real workpieces. Also, further development of the process is possible, for example for adaptation to customer-specific materials and peripheral conditions.

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Business Development & Communications Department
Michael Botts
Public Relations
Tel.: +49 511 2788-151
Fax: +49 511 2788-100
The Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) carries out research and development in the field of laser technology and is supported by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Transport of the State of Lower Saxony (Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Wirtschaft, Arbeit und Verkehr).