Glossary of Terms for RF Welding

Radio Frequency Welding is a popular solution for creating strong, resistant products for a variety of industries. RF welding fuses layers of thermoplastic natures to create a seal in vinyl, polyurethane, coated and laminated vinyl and other materials. You will find RF frequency used to make products ranging from medical plasma bags to signage and banners and from industrial curtain walls to automotive upholstery.

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Radio Frequency Welding Glossary:

Amperes: A measurement of the flow of electrons. The higher the amperes, or Amps, the higher the power consumption.

Arc: An undesirable condition where intense electrical current jumps, or arcs, between the upper and lower plates of your RF welder. Carbon buildup and deposits are a common cause of arcing.

Bakelite (or Phenolic): A synthetic thermoplastic material that is used as an insulator as well as a buffer material in RF welding.

Balanced material: A material that has been coated or laminated on both sides. The thickness and coverage is identical on both sides.

Bar: A component used on a bar sealer, a common RF welding design. The bar replaces a die and allows for a flexible sealing solution. It can be straight or curved, depending on your welding needs.

Bead seal: A type of seal that is present around an edge or contour, creating a raised “bead.”

Buffer: A material used during the RF welding process as an insulator to electrical current flow. The buffer separates upper and lower dies and reduces arcing for better sealing and appearance.

Cold crack: A crack that can occur in vinyl at low temperatures. Vinyl materials for packaging and transportation need to be rated for cold temperatures to avoid cracking and failure.

Dies: A set of mating plates (usually steel or brass) that come together to provide pressure during RF welding.

Elasticity: A material property commonly used to compare the springiness or resilience of plastic materials.

Full stamp: A decorative stamping technique for covering an entire surface with a foil layer for creating images, logos, patterns or text.

Gauge: A reference of the thickness of a thin material. Expressed in mils or thousandths of an inch.

Hot stamping: A manufacturing process that uses heated dies to stamp thin materials on a roll.

Insulator: A non-conductive material used to separate components (such as dies or supports) that require electrical and thermal insulation.

Nylon: A common synthetic material that serves as a substrate for many RF-welded vinyl products.

Ohms: A measurement of resistance in electrical circuits.

Plasticizer: A chemical additive included in plastic production to create specific physical properties including elasticity, temperature resistance, formability and more.

Platen: A part of a die. Generally, the upper portion to which the die itself is attached and heated for thermoplastic sealing.

Polyester: A common synthetic material that serves as a substrate for many RF-welded vinyl products.

Poly vinyl chloride (PVC): A synthetic thermoplastic material commonly used with RF welding to create binders and document sleeves.

Press: An industrial device that compresses the top and bottom plates of a die in sealing operations. Usually powered by hydraulics or pneumatics to ensure adequate compression and contact during welding.

Radio frequency (RF): A frequency of radio wave that exists between 10,000 and 1,000,000,000 hertz (cycles per second); this value is set depending on the nature and fusing temperatures of the materials you are RF welding.

Resistance: A measurement of the tendency of a material to resist electrical current flow. Highly resistant materials hinder current flow and the resultant increase in temperature can cause the material to melt and fuse.

Substrate: A cloth or material that is used as a base for coating or laminating plastics.

Supported vinyl: A vinyl material with a stiffer cloth backing for increased strength and wear resistance.

Thermoplastic: A plastic material that can be modified (formed, fused, sealed, etc.) when heated and compressed.

Unbalanced material: A material that has been coated or laminated on both sides. The thickness and coverage is different on both sides.

Unsupported vinyl: A vinyl without a backing layer or additional support material.

Vinyl: A common name for PVC material (poly vinyl chloride).

Understanding these common RF welding-related terms can help you better understand this advanced technology. Let our team know if you have any questions or are curious about any other terms we use in our Radio Frequency Welding documents or pages.


*Updated October 19, 2017