Laser welding is one of the newest technologies for joining thermoplastic parts. This noncontact process has many advantages. It’s fast and precise, and it doesn’t generate flash or particulates.

Its only limitation has been that the top part had to be made of a transparent material, while the bottom part had to be made of a material that absorbs near-infrared light. Without special additives, entirely transparent assemblies were not possible—until now.

Dukane Corp. has introduced a new laser welding system that allows clear-to-clear plastic welding without the need for laser-absorbing additives. The heart of the system is a new 2-micron laser that is readily absorbed by clear polymers and enables highly controlled melting through the thickness of optically clear parts.

The machine’s beam delivery system integrates a programmable multiaxis servo gantry and a scan head, supported by the company’s LaserLinQ software, which harmonizes the action of both components moving the beam. This assures highly precise and controllable beam delivery when welding large and midsized components.

The software also gives engineers the ability to break complex weld patterns into separate geometric segments, modify each segment independently, and assign different welding parameters to each segment. A CCTV camera within the machine provides a live weld preview on the HMI screen and gives engineers the ability to directly monitor and record welding cycles for further analysis. The machine’s laser enclosure is Class I certified and equipped with laser-safe glass windows.

This flexible welding system also allows rapid changeover of a wide variety of highly specialized tooling cassettes. The tools incorporate a binary tool identification system for automatic recall of weld recipes. They support multi-cavity function, multiple feature detection, vision systems and independent clamping systems to compensate for part variations.

Engineers can see the technology for themselves at Dukane’s display (booth 1312) at the fourth annual ASSEMBLY Show, which will be held Oct. 25-27 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL, adjacent to Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

Bigger and Better

The 2016 ASSEMBLY show will be bigger and better than last year’s show, consisting of more than 270 suppliers spread across more than 66,200 net square feet of exhibit space. That’s a 10 percent increase in exhibitors and a 12 percent increase in floor space.

Exhibitors will be showing the latest advances in multistation assembly systems, robotics, screwdriving, adhesives, dispensing, plastics assembly, presses, riveters, conveyors, machine components, fasteners, workstations, software, vision systems, wire processing, test equipment and other technologies. Among this year’s exhibitors are such leading suppliers as Banner Engineering Corp., Cincinnati Test Systems Inc., Desoutter Industrial Tools, FANUC America Corp., Festo Corp., Genesis Automation, Nordson EFD, Promess Inc., Schleuniger Inc. and WEBER Screwdriving Systems Inc.

More than 3,300 manufacturing and design engineers and managers have already pre-registered to attend the show.

Manufacturing professionals are coming from the automotive industry (including BorgWarner Inc., Dana Inc., Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co., Harley-Davidson Inc., Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp., Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. and Toyota Motor Corp.)…the aerospace industry (including BAE Systems Inc., Bombardier Inc., Finmeccanica, GE Aviation and Zodiac Aerospace)…the appliance industry (including Electrolux, Royal Appliance Manufacturing Co. and Whirlpool Corp.)…the medical device industry (including Baxter International Inc., GE Healthcare, Hu-Friedy Manufacturing Co., Medtronic Inc. and Phillips Healthcare)…the heavy equipment industry (including Caterpillar Inc., CNH Industrial and Deere & Co.)…the electrical products industry (including Bodine Electric Co., Cree Inc., Eaton Corp. and Warner Electric Inc.)…the fabricated metal products industry (including Delta Faucet Co. and Sloan Valve Co.)…and the consumer products industry (including Bose Corp. and Zippo Manufacturing Co.)

The conference program comprises 21 hours of educational sessions covering topics ranging from leak testing to concurrent production to Industry 4.0. The highlight of the program will be the keynote speech, “The Herman Miller Performance System Journey: Overcoming the Challenges of Implementing a People Focused Production System,” which will be presented by Raymond Muscat, industry director of the Tauber Institute for Global Operations at the University of Michigan Former and former senior vice president of manufacturing research and new product operations at Herman Miller. Sponsored by Promess Inc., the keynote will take place Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 9 a.m.

Can’t attend the show? No worries. Three of the conference sessions—including the keynote—will be broadcast live as webcasts. (For more information on the webcasts, visit

Just as important as the conference sessions and the technology exhibits is the opportunity to network with one’s industry peers. The ASSEMBLY Show will offer networking receptions from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 25, and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 26.

New Technologies

Dukane is just one of many suppliers of plastics assembly equipment exhibiting at The ASSEMBLY Show. At least 11 other suppliers will be displaying their wares at the show, too, including Branson Ultrasonics Corp. (booth 713), Extol Inc. (booth 1823), Herrmann Ultrasonics Inc. (booth 1831), Plastic Assembly Systems (booth 1417) and Thermal Press International Inc. (booth 1512).

If you’ve attended The ASSEMBLY Show in the past and think there’s nothing new to see, you’re making a mistake. Dozens of suppliers will be exhibiting at the show for the first time.

One supplier making its first appearance at The ASSEMBLY Show is Comau LLC (booth 145). The robotics OEM and systems integrator will be showing a number of new products, including the Racer 5-0.63 and Racer 5-0.80. These small six-axis robots were designed for high-speed applications in restricted spaces, such as handling, assembly and pick and place.

Both robots are controlled by Comau’s R1C 19-inch rack-mounted controller, which can be integrated into a single cabinet to control an entire line. The robots are also available in “openRobotics” versions, which can be directly integrated into existing automated assembly systems controlled by B&R Industrial Automation products.

The Racer5-0.63 has a reach of 630 millimeters and payload of 5 kilograms. Racer5-0.80 is also rated for a payload of 5 kilograms, but has an extended reach of 809 millimeters.

Numerous other robot suppliers will also be exhibiting at the show, including OEMs, like ABB Inc. (booth 139) EPSON Robots (booth 513) and Staubli Corp. (booth 413), as well as suppliers of grippers and other robotic peripherals, such as SCHUNK Inc. (booth 105) and ATI Industrial Automation (booth 431). And, that’s not including companies like dispensing equipment supplier Fisnar Inc. (booth 1031), which offer various specialty robots in their product portfolios.

This article hardly scratches the surface of the myriad technologies that will be on display at The ASSEMBLY Show. For more information, visit

Taste of Rosemont

A juicy, char-broiled steak. A heaping bowl of pasta. Shrimp cocktail. A grilled bratwurst loaded with kraut and mustard.

Whatever your culinary pleasure, you’ll find it at The ASSEMBLY Show’s welcoming reception on Tuesday, Oct. 25, from 4 to 7 p.m. Sponsored by ASG, Div. of Jergens, this reception will bring back the popular “Taste of Rosemont,” featuring flavors and cuisine from 15 local restaurants. Connect with hundreds of suppliers, buyers and users of assembly equipment while you enjoy food and drinks in a relaxed and friendly environment.

The following restaurants will be offering tasty treats at the reception. They’re also the perfect spots for a quick bite during the show or a customer dinner afterwards. Tables book fast, so call ahead for reservations.


Basilico Ristorante



The Capital Grille






Five Roses Pub



Gene & Georgetti



Gibsons Bar and Steakhouse



Gino’s East



Harry Caray’s Restaurant






King’s Bowling



Liberty Tavern



McCormick & Schmick’s






Park Tavern



Rosemont Catering



Rosie the Riveter 2.0: Recruiting and Retaining Women in Manufacturing

Women comprise 47 percent of the U.S. workforce, but only 24 percent of the personnel at durable-goods manufacturers. Even more concerning, women represent approximately 10 percent of ASSEMBLY magazine’s subscriber base: manufacturing and design engineers and managers.

At a time when U.S. manufacturers are desperate to find the next generation of skilled workers, engineers and managers, women represent the largest pool of untapped talent. Women earn more than half of the associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the U.S. And, women hold more than half of all U.S. managerial and professional positions.

If that’s the case, why aren’t more women pursuing careers in manufacturing? What can manufacturers do to recruit, retain and promote women in their organizations? These questions and more will be argued during a special panel discussion at The ASSEMBLY Show Thursday, Oct. 27, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

In this thought-provoking panel discussion, several prominent women in manufacturing will share their perspectives on how to support, promote and inspire women who are pursuing, or who have chosen to pursue, careers in manufacturing. The panelists are:

  • Chelsea Becker, project manager, Baldor Electric Co.
  • Elizabeth Rolinski, global vice president manufacturing engineering, Johnson Controls Inc.
  • Shelley Ryan Carlson, director of global manufacturing engineering technology, The Danfoss Group.
  • Gina Vassallo, engineered value chain program manager, Caterpillar Inc.