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Heat staking is all about the process of connecting different components into a cohesive functioning unit. The application is very common with the assembly of products that involve plastic and resin parts. The plastic joining strategy that is part of heat staking helps to strengthen the overall structure of the manufactured item and provide the product with a higher degree of stability.
The basic concept behind heat staking involves joining the components at premolded interfaces. As an example, a plastic stud that is attached to one component would be inserted into a hole found on the accompanying part. Once the two components are joined, the end of the stud is softened and heated to allow the formation of a larger head that will hold the stud firmly in the hole.
Many components today are created of plastics and resins. In a number of instances, the actual construction of the components is achieved by using means such as injection molding. Heat staking follows through on this process by adding one more element of heating to securely lock the components into place.
It is important to note that heat staking can be utilized in more than just joining two plastic components together at a joint. Because of the heat induction qualities employed in heat staking, the process also makes it possible to join a plastic component to a metal part as well. With so many products manufactured with a mix of metal and plastic components, the use of heat staking can also eliminate the need for screws and rivets in some cases.
The actual process of heat staking requires only a few seconds. After the components are joined, the temperature is raised to allow the head of the stud to soften. At the same time, pressure is applied to create a head on the stud that is wider than the hole that is housing the body of the stud. The temperature is maintained for up to five seconds to allow the plastic to soften enough for pressure to create the head, then the joined components are allows to gradually cool. As the plastic cools, it regains the rigid texture and creates a solid connection between the components.