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Laser welding of textiles: Prototype parameters determined

Welding fabrics has a number of advantages over conventional sewing: welded seams have no visible start and end points; and they are flexible and watertight.

In addition to that, they have great pressure resistance and tensile strength. What is more, the opportunity for 3-D shaping opens the possibility of creating completely new types of products.

Scientists at the textile research centre of the Hohenstein Institute in Boennigheim, have worked out key process parameters for the prototype of a laser sewing machine, the TexWeld 140 made by the Prolas company.

In conjunction with his Bachelor's thesis, Philipp Kirst of Albstadt-Sigmaringen University, worked with the project leader, Dr. Edith Claßen and her team in defining threshold values for temperature, speed and conveyor roll intervals as well as the use of absorbers while welding different textile materials.

In order to assess the quality of the seams beyond inspecting them visually, a comprehensive series of tests of the fusion zones were carried out with the help of a scanning electron microscope. Textile technology tests were also required primarily to test tear and water resistance.

A final showpiece was used to demonstrate the diverse possibilities opened by the laser welding of thermoplastic textiles of synthetic fibres or laminated materials. A surgical smock made of three-layered, laminated fabric featuring different straight and round seam structures revealed the full design spectrum of modern laser welding technology.

Dr. Claßen's team ( will be investigating the possibilities of welding fabric blends in the coming months.

Rose-Marie Riedl | idw
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