Engineering & Manufacturing Specialists since 1973

Can Ultrasonic Welding replace traditional sewing in garment manufacture?

While technology moves at a pace that is constantly increasing; there have been some manufacturing processes and methods of construction that have remained constant.

The humble sewing machine for example is a design that dates back to 1846 when the patent for a sewing machine was first recorded. But with modern technology, specifically in ultrasonic welding, can we replace the old sewing machine for the advanced ultrasonic method? The short answer is – sometimes.

ultrasonic welding is being used in multiple fabric methods.

Ultrasonic welding for garment manufacture is a state of the art method that is seeing real growth in specialist applications. Namely waterproof seams in outdoor and sportswear and for very flat seams in particular garment design. Yet for some applications, it will simply not replace the current traditional sewing machine.

But why?

A traditional sewing machine punches holes into a fabric, increasing its risk of material failure. The needle punch holes of a sewing machine can damage the super fine knitted material of a fabric and make waterproof rainwear garments vulnerable to water penetration. The exact opposite of what that products primary goal is to prevent. Traditional sewing seams also ad weight, thickness and restriction of movement. None of which are desirable in advanced sportswear clothing.

In all these situations, the use of ultrasonic sewing is a preferred choice. However, while the advantages of ultrasonic sewing are well known, there are some materials that are best left with traditional sewing. There are two main restrictions.

  1. Material thickness. Ultrasonic sewing can only cut through a certain thickness before it may begin to burn the outer layer of a fabric.
  2. Natural fibres. The method of ultrasonic welding works incredibly well on synthetic fibres but where natural characteristics of a fabric are desired, the traditional sewing machine is still the preferred choice.

But while these may be draw backs for some sectors within the garment manufacturing industry, the list of possible applications for ultrasonic welding is very long; and as technology, fabric science and consumer demands evolve, we can only expect to see a growth in the demand for ultrasonic sewing machines in more traditional applications including:

  • Underwear
  • Outerwear
  • Medical products
  • PPE
  • Technical textiles
  • Sportswear
  • and more…

If you would like to know more about ultrasonic welding as an alternative to traditional sewing machines, please contact us today.

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