Certain plastics with chemical dipoles, such as PVC, polyamides (PA) and acetates can be heated with high frequency electromagnetic waves. High frequency welding uses this property to soften the plastics for joining. The heating can be localized, and the process can be continuous. Also known as Dielectric Sealing, R.F. (Radio Frequency) Heat Sealing.
Radio frequency welding is a very mature technology that has been around since the 1940s. Two pieces of material are placed on a table press that applies pressure to both surface areas. Dies are used to direct the welding process. When the press comes together, high frequency waves (usually 27.120 MHz) are passed through the small area between the die and the table where the weld takes place. This high frequency (radio frequency) field causes the molecules in certain materials to move and get hot, and the combination of this heat under pressure causes the weld to take the shape of the die. RF welding is fast. This type of welding is used to connect polymer films used in a variety of industries where a strong consistent leak-proof seal is required. In the fabrics industry, RF is most often used to weld PVC and polyurethane (PU) coated fabrics. This is a very consistent method of welding.
The most common materials used in RF welding are PVC and polyurethane. It is also possible to weld other polymers such as Nylon, PET, PEVA, EVA and some ABS plastics. Exercise caution when welding urethane as it has been known to give off cyanide gasses when melting.