Allflex UK Ltd based in County Durham, produce electronic identification (EID) tags that support the growing use of intelligence, data and technology as a key element in animal health and care. A recent increase in demand was the catalyst behind a recent investment in a suite of ultrasonic welding systems from Telsonic UK Limited.
Allflex Livestock Intelligence is the world leader in the design, development, manufacturing and delivery of solutions for animal identification, monitoring and traceability. The company’s products are used by farmers, companies and countries to manage millions of animals worldwide.
Electronic identification tags are manufactured in durable materials to withstand the arduous conditions, such as extremes of temperatures and abrasion that they encounter in use. They must also incorporate anti-tamper characteristics but exclude any sharp features which may have an adverse effect on the welfare of the livestock.
Telsonic’s ultrasonic welding process is used to weld a closure cap into the EID tag cavity, which effectively seals the tag data transponder within the tag. The ultrasonic welding process, which replaces the previous mechanical press solution, offers Allflex a fast, clean, precise and repeatable seal with superior durability and tamper-evidence of the cap assembly, when compared to the previous mechanical methods. The new solution also supports BSI PAS (Publicly Available Specification) official identification ear tag standardisation requirements which define good practice for the integrity of the tag product.
The product involves two injection moulded nylon parts, which when assembled encapsulate the data transponder. The ultrasonic weld joint was recommended by Telsonic, and involved a simple addition of an energy director at the cap base which required minimum moulding changes on the existing mechanically assembled cap. The ultrasonic weld process precisely collapses the cap energy director into a melt pool at the root of the cavities providing an instant and process controlled strong hermetic sealing bond.
The Allflex product is manufactured in multiples of 10 tags with snap off lug features between each tag. Trials at Telsonic proved that the tag assemblies could be welded ten at a time with the caps presented over the tag cavities whilst retained on their injection moulded sprue ladder.
The welding sequence joins the ten caps with equal strength and integrity whilst separating the caps from the sprue ladder in one movement. The snap-off lug features between the tags is retained to ensure that the set of 10 tags is maintained.
To achieve these criteria, the weld cycle is controlled by energy delivery mode to ensure that the cap is welded fully home across the injection moulded component tolerances and that the cap sprue ladder is separated. The transponder integrity is unaffected by the weld action and it is essential that the welding process does not produce any flash or disruption resulting in sharp edges or protrusions, to support the BSI PAS animal welfare requirement. To meet Allflex output capacity Telsonic UK have supplied three Telsonic Tex2000 20kHz -2.4kW MAG generator ultrasonic presses, complete with sonotrodes and component nests, which are now in full production and operating at a weld cycle time of 0.5 seconds. Importantly, productivity is enhanced by quick and ergonomic loading and unloading of parts through careful part nest design.
Telsonic UK’s reputation, experience in this type of application, together with their constructive design input were key factors in Allflex selecting Telsonic for this project. The ability to manufacture and proof test samples in Telsonic UK’s lab facility was also instrumental in proving the weld integrity, transponder performance and the ability of the systems to meet the assembly and PAS requirements.
Telsonic UK offers a comprehensive range of ultrasonic modules and systems for a variety of plastic welding, cutting, sealing, cut’n’seal, food cutting, metal welding, packaging, sieving, and cleaning applications within a wide range of industries.