Technical Overview

 Overview
  •   FastFuse™ is a 1 to 5 minute process
  •   Autoclaving is a 1 to 6 hour process
  •   FastFuse™ uses existing industrial RF equipment
  •   95% energy savings
  •   RF energy penetrates low dielectric materials
    •   Glass, ceramics, polycarbonate, acrylic
  •   RF absorbed by higher dielectric interlayers
    •   Vinyl (PVB, EVA, PVC) & polyurethane (TPU)
  •   RF transmitted across conductive materials
  •   Possible to embed materials:
    •   Solar cells, metallized glass, and LEDs

 

Lamination typically involves bonding two or more structural layers (glass, plastic, ceramic) with interlayers (EVA, PVB, TPU), see Figure above. FastFuse™ technology uses radio frequency (RF) energy to selectively heat and soften the interlayer, while simultaneously applying pressure to bond the interlayer to the structural layer, see Figure below.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The selective heating is due to direct dielectric heating of the interlayer material, and transparency (non-heating) of the structural layers. The interlayer is heated between 70 ºC and 100 ºC while pressure from the RF platens is applied.  The processing time for a 4” x 4” square is 30 seconds. The process time for a 6 ft2 laminate is 3 minutes. A typical autoclave process will run two to six hours.
 
Ceralink has tested over 20 different interlayer materials (EVA, PVB, TPU), and found that they can all be successfully heated and bonded to the structural layers using FastFuse™. Likewise, a variety of structural layers have been used to make laminates, including glass, ceramic, polycarbonate, acrylic, and specialty items such as low e glass (metalized coating), solar cells, and decorative inserts. The flexibility of FastFuse™ makes it an important tool for manufacturing of laminates.  
The current commercial technologies used for lamination are autoclaving and vacuum lamination. Both methods are time and energy intensive, have high capital equipment costs, and are run in a batch.  Most of the energy used in these systems is wasted in heating the structural layers of the laminate and the system container.  FastFuse™ uses a radio frequency (RF) press to selectively heat the bonding interlayer material in the laminate structure.  This results in energy savings on the order of 90%, and cycle times in minutes instead of hours.  For equivalent through put, the capital equipment cost for FastFuse™ is approximately 50% lower than the cost of autoclaves, and 25% lower than the cost of vacuum lamination systems.