Sonobond's SM86 SeamMaster High Profile
ultrasonic sewing machine.
When a U.S. company needed to ensure that its industrial grade fruit and vegetable juicers could achieve maximum extraction, it went to Great Lakes Filters for a liquid filter bag assembled using Sonobond® Ultrasonics' SM86 SeamMaster™ High Profile ultrasonic sewing machine.
“The bag has to capture the pulp from the juicing process and then withstand hydraulic pressing without splitting or fraying in order to obtain the utmost amount of nutrients,” explained Brian K. Balliet, CEO of Great Lakes Filters, in Hillsdale, Michigan. “Sonobond’s equipment allows us to produce a bag that can do that and meet the customer’s exacting standards.”
That’s just one example of how Sonobond Ultrasonics has helped Great Lakes Filters maintain its reputation as a customer-driven company with the flexibility and versatility to achieve product specifications and exceed customer expectations. From prototypes to major programs, the company performs a multitude of high quality converting and production jobs.
The Sonobond Advantage
Starting with assembly methods that included sewing, adhesives, and hot glue thermal bonding, in 1989 Great Lakes Filters began to investigate ultrasonic machinery.
“We looked at Sonobond’s SeamMaster because it’s similar in design and operation to a standard sewing machine. We also appreciated Sonobond’s willingness to work closely with us to determine what equipment we would require to assemble certain products,” said Mr. Balliet.
Great Lakes Filters uses Sonobond Ultrasonics’ SM86 ultrasonic sewing machine to assemble liquid filter bags that withstand hydraulic pressing.
Today, Great Lakes Filters uses three SeamMaster ultrasonic sewing machines to assemble its liquid filter bags – including custom and specialty bags – plus sleeves, pads, and other filtration products for the chemical/pharmaceutical, automotive, environmental, food/beverage and manufacturing industries.
“We use the SeamMasters with a variety of pattern wheels – including some custom ones – whenever sewn seams are simply not adequate or strong enough to hold up to a filter bag’s end use, to eliminate fraying, or in some cases, to provide an acceptable look for the finished product,” said Mr. Balliet.
Ultrasonic bonding occurs when high frequency electrical energy – converted to acoustical, mechanical vibrations and channeled through a horn – creates a rapid heat buildup at the material contact point, causing the fabric between the horn and anvil – or the rotating pattern wheel in the case of the SeamMaster – to soften and fuse. In one pass, the machine seals and trims without thread, glue or other consumables, as much as four times faster than conventional sewing machines and ten times faster than adhesive methods. Yet, the SeamMaster is easy to operate and requires only minimal training.
Flexible Ultrasonic Capability
In addition to its SeamMaster machines, Great Lakes Filters also employs a Sonobond Ultrasonics SureCut™ HC35 and four HG35 handheld devices.
“Sonobond’s equipment has allowed us to fabricate and attach materials that are difficult via traditional cut and sew methods, resulting in higher quality products at lower production cost,” said Mr. Balliet.
In one case, Sonobond equipment enabled Great Lakes Filters to keep production going for a firm on the brink of halting operations when an order for rolls of filter media didn’t arrive on time. Using Sonobond’s handheld ultrasonic devices, Great Lakes Filters spliced together production remnants into rolls wide and long enough so its customer could continue manufacturing.
Great Lakes Filters also shares its Sonobond equipment with its sister company Fairway Products, for ultrasonic assembly of automotive trim parts, door inserts and office furniture products.
Great Lakes Filters’ sister company, Fairway Products, uses Sonobond’s handheld ultrasonic equipment to finish the ends of a
synthetic seam tape that’s continuously sewn to the back of vehicle door inserts. After being cut apart between the inserts, the
ends of the tape are folded back onto themselves, ultrasonically sealed and then clipped, resulting in a clean and secure finish
that maintains the appearance of the lines being sewn into the door skin.
For example, Fairway Products uses the handheld units to finish the ends of a synthetic seam tape that’s continuously sewn to the back of vehicle door inserts and cut between the inserts. The ends of the tape are folded back onto themselves, ultrasonically sealed and then clipped, producing a clean and secure finish.
“Using the ultrasonic equipment eliminates the need for back tacks on sew lines and maintains the appearance of the lines being sewn into the panel insert, rather than being welded to a molded door skin,” explained Steve Firavich, CEO of Fairway Products.
Free Materials Bonding TEST
Recognizing that companies have unique manufacturing requirements, Sonobond offers a no-cost, no-obligation Ultrasonic Bonding Viability Test, producing sample assemblies with potential customers’ own nonwoven or synthetic fabrics to insure that Sonobond equipment is right for their applications. Also, Sonobond works closely with its customers, providing service and technical support before, during and after equipment delivery and installation.
DEVELOPING New Products
Great Lakes Filters is currently exploring high efficiency liquid filter bags made from proprietary nanofiltration media. The bags are designed to filter in the submicron range, handling flow rates with minimum pressure drop and 99+ percent efficiency – requirements that usually require costly multiple pleated cartridges instead of a single filter bag.
Once again, Sonobond is working with Great Lakes Filters to provide an ultrasonic assembly method for this innovative product.
“Sonobond has already assisted us in proving that their equipment can do the job, creating a side seam and securing a plastic top for this high efficiency liquid filter bag that’s totally recyclable,” said Mr. Balliet. “The Sonobond staff has been and continues to be extremely helpful with testing materials, making recommendations on what wheels and settings to use with the SeamMaster, and providing excellent customer service.”