The Würth Group is world market leader in its core business: assembly and fastening equipment. The product range for craft and industry comprises over 125,000 products, from screws, screw accessories and anchors to tools, chemical-technical products and personal protection equipment.
Würth was an early licensee of the WoodWelding (WW) technology, with the aim of developing a handheld tool for use in the construction trade. Their interest in this project was driven by evolutions in the furniture field, particularly the disruptive use of lightweight honeycomb panels, which are difficult to fix using traditional methods.
Creaholic worked with WoodWelding, Würth, and the EMD Mechatronics Sàrl to develop a compact high-power ultrasonic handheld device that could power the WW process in different materials. The tool was designed to be adaptable to different applications, but the intended primary use was to simply and efficiently fix thermoplastic dowels into hollow core (honeycomb) panels.
The challenge was to transform the connection technique—which works on an industrial scale—into a compact and portable tool for daily use. It should cost about a thousand francs, similar to power tools for carpentry.
Reviewing the first concepts with mock-ups, we discovered a fundamental handling criteria: the need to provide precise and even pressure on the thermoplastic dowel. This was difficult to achieve with a completely unsupported tool design (e.g. like a power drill). Therefore, in a workshop together with EMD and Würth, the concept developed from a parallel translation to a pivoting movement based on three points (tripod) to give the tool a stable position for a precise application of dowels.
The front point, where the sonotrode is located, is supported by a wider rear pivot foot at the base of the machine handle. Because of this design, the machine can always be used parallel to the work surface. The rear foot is made of softer material, so the veneers of the honeycomb plates are not scratched by the pressure.
Finally, encouraged by the Würth design team, it was important to make the case Würth-compliant. Designed in black with red controls, the device was realized according to guidelines of the client’s corporate identity, integrating the air vent and the profile of the buttons.
The finished device is now slightly larger than a drill and weighs less than 2 kg. It is operated with 2 hands: one pushes forward on the flattened head, the other triggers a button to start the ultrasonic vibration. If this is activated, the yellow light on top of the machine lights up.
The target selling price was also reached. The first intended use will be in shop and exhibition construction, and in interior design for the caravan sector.
The WoodWelding connection technique is also proving to be useful for cabinet makers and carpenters. At the last fall, Würth and carpentry company Röthlisberger presented three studies from Moritz Schmid, Atelier Oї and Studio Hannes Wettstein.
"It is impressive, how Creaholic integrates clients in its workshops." Achim Wieland, Würth Germany