Plastic welding is the repair of broken plastic items, such as industrial equipment, furniture, toys, and automobile parts. Plastic does have a limited lifecycle, and the longevity of a plastic item can be impacted by several factors, such as weather, UV ray exposure, and chemicals. Plastic welding repairs are best done when the broken parts are worth the replacement and when it would be more cost effective to repair rather than replace.
Utilizing the right welding equipment makes a huge impact on the quality and appearance of the repaired plastic section. Typically, plastic repairs are performed using hot air welders and injection welders. The hot air welding units are typically more cost-efficient, but they require a higher skill level in order to perform a strong weld.
Below are examples of best practices when performing plastic welding repairs.
Clean The Part Before Welding
The first step in making a plastic welding repair is to clean the part thoroughly with soap and water. It sounds like a no brainer, but skipping this step can absolutely impact the efficiency of the weld. Welders should also make sure the part is completely dry before beginning their repairs. Most manufacturers provide recommendations on the best cleaning products for the specific piece of plastic, so welders should consult the user guide before beginning the repair.
Work Out Deformations in The Plastic
Many plastic welding repairs are done on automobile parts, such as bumpers. In these cases, it is important to work out any deformations in the plastic using a heat gun and reworking the piece back to its original shape. This can be a tedious process, so it’s important that welders are patient. It is also important to keep the heat gun moving as they work out the shape until all deformations are repaired. They can also sand to reveal any remaining deformities and repeat the process until they are satisfied with the result.
Create a Strong Bond
Not only is it important to prep by cleaning, but also to create a strong bond between the plastic using a plastic welding rod. Welders can use aluminum tape on the backside of a plastic piece in order to help keep the shape of the plastic in place while working. This also helps prevent welding materials from pushing through the weld itself. As always, consulting the manufacturer’s recommendations for welding the specific type of plastic will help to minimize errors or deformities.