These days when most people think of technology, they think of IT, information technology, which is basically the type of technology that allows us to email each other and perform other computer-related tasks. But there is also mechanical technology, which has to do with the way things are manufactured and built.
One advancement in mechanical technology has to do with the application of heat in manufacturing and construction. The technology is known as heat staking, and it’s vitally important to several industries.
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What Is Heat Staking Technology
Heat staking, or thermoplastic staking, simply refers to the process of using heat to fuse materials—one of which should be thermoplastic—together. One benefit of heat staking is that only one machine is required to complete the process, making the use of heat staking in manufacturing more efficient than having to use fasteners.
The automotive industry has come a long way from the days when parts were mostly held together using nuts and bolts. The complexity of cars today with their onboard computers and advanced materials requires advanced production methods.
This is where heat staking comes in. Through heat staking, for example, automotive manufacturers are able to produce taillight assemblies that are bonded securely.
Automation in the automotive industry has lent itself to the use of heat staking. Whereas in the past human beings were required to run certain heat staking machines and operations, computers and robots are able to run them today. Of course, the human element hasn’t been removed entirely.
The use of electronic products has revolutionized the ways in which we live and work. And heat staking technology has played a big role in the production of our electronics.
The key to every electronic device is the circuit board, a typically flat, green material on which components are placed. One of the ways in which the components are ultimately placed on the board is through heat staking.
If you’ve ever seen a circuit board, you know that there are many different components and types of components connected to the board.
Now imagine how tedious and time-consuming it would be for a human being to connect all of those tiny parts without automated assistance. So heat staking has been a boon to the electronics industry in terms of increased efficiency.
Home Goods Industry
It’s easy to see the uses of heat staking in things like the automotive and electronics industries, but its use in consumer appliances might not be so easy to see. Still, thermoplastic staking plays a part in producing every consumer appliance from your electric razor to your coffee maker.
You may have wondered why it is your cell phone doesn’t break apart completely to the point of being unusable when you drop it or why certain parts of your coffee maker are able to stand up to everyday use year after year.
Part of the answer lies in the manufacturing of the product using heat staking, which is known to strengthen the bonding process.
The medical industry has also taken advantage of heat staking technology in ways resulting in improvements in equipment quality and patient care. In the old days, diabetics weren’t able to test their glucose levels from the comfort of their own homes.
But the introduction of home glucose monitoring machines and wearable devices changed this. Today’s wearable glucometers are made using heat staking technology.
Wearable medical devices that monitor vital signs and even distribute medication are becoming more popular with patients. Interestingly, patients have said that wearables made through the use of heat staking are preferred to those made through other types of manufacturing processes because they’re more comfortable.
Manufacturing technology may not be discussed as much as information technology, but it’s advancing every day and providing benefits to several industries. The automotive, electronics, home goods, and medical industries are just a few of the industries where heat staking technology is making inroads and benefitting businesses and consumers. Chances are you’re reading this article on a device made possible by head staking technology.