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Ultrasonic insertion adds up for Money Controls

27 June 2011

The use of metal inserts in thermoplastic components provides a strong, reliable and consistent method of assembly, especially in applications where components may have to be subsequently removed for maintenance or replacement. In an ideal world, these inserts would be always be encapsulated within the component at the injection moulding stage, however this is not always economically or technically feasible

Traditional methods used to assemble metal inserts into thermoplastic materials, post moulding, include mechanical pressing. And depending upon the insert type and thermoplastic used, this assembly process may be performed with or without the use of heat. Although widely used, mechanical insertion methods can sometimes be slow and may also induce stresses within the moulded part if the process - particularly if it involves the application of heat - is not correctly controlled.

Another technique is to use ultrasonics, which is not only fast, but also consistent and measurable. Ultrasonics also offers a high degree of flexibility in the way in which the technology is applied, from manual operation to fully automated assembly.

Take the example of Money Controls, a company based in Oldham that produces a variety of payment systems and associated products for the gaming, amusement, transport, ticketing, retail and kiosk markets. This successful 50 year-old company has offices serving markets across the world, including the USA, Germany, Italy, Spain, South Africa, Australia, Singapore, Argentina and Brazil. Several products manufactured by Money Controls, including its Universal Hopper and the Ardac Elite bill acceptor, have set the benchmark for such systems across the industry.

Threaded brass and steel inserts feature prominently in the thermoplastic components that are assembled into the company’s products, and with consistent high quality high on the agenda for this volume manufacturer, Money Controls turned to ultrasonic technology for fast and trouble-free insertion. Three semi-automatic Telsonic systems are used to assemble both male and female insert types with M3 to M8 thread sizes, to a wide range of component parts, with multiple inserts being attached to most items.

Each system is based on a stand-alone USP2500 unit operating at 20kHz and delivering 1,000W via an SG22 generator. The machines incorporate a fixture arrangement that is capable of locating either the inserts or the moulded parts, as required, while the predictable and controllable nature of the technique ensures that each insert is assembled to the part to a pre-defined and measurable tolerance.

Money Controls has taken full advantage of the flexibility of the ultrasonic process, capitalising on the quick cycle time and achieving energy savings thanks to the ‘on demand’ nature of the technique.

Safety guarding is provided by a pneumatic folding concertina-style, semi automatic guard system in the loading area, which provides fast, ergonomic operator access for the vast number of processed parts and multiple set-ups that pass through Money Controls’ dedicated ‘ultrasonic inserting’ room.

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