WoodWelding® technology is an innovative fixation technique that uses ultrasonic energy to form a bond in porous materials. To achieve this, thermoplastic elements are used as joining or connection elements. These elements can take virtually any shape, including nails, dowels or films. The technology offers a substitute to traditional fixation solutions such as metal nails, screws and adhesives.
Creaholic spent about 5 years developing the technology as a proactive incubation project, including basic research, development and proof of principle on many applications. Then, in 2000, Creaholic joined with GPI SA to found WoodWelding SA with the goal of refining and commercializing the technology.
There were many technical challenges involved in developing the technology, but the biggest challenge was to break through the established traditions and institutional inertia, especially in the wood-related industries.
The process works on a variety of porous materials. The only requirements are that the material has a porous surface and can withstand a certain degree of pressure. The WoodWelding process has been successfully tested in materials such as solid wood, fiber board, plywood, hollow core board, metal foam, asphalt, paper, foamed concrete, textiles, foamed glass and more.
Once proven and developed on wood and wood-derived products, a breakthrough insight led the team to extend the technology to the medical field, especially for fixation into bones.
WoodWelding SA has successfully commercialized the technology in several industrial fields, including furniture manufacturing, and has pursued the extremely promising use of the technology in medical and healthcare arenas as well. Several licensees have incorporated the platform technology into their own products.
For example, KLS Martin Group developed an apparatus and technique for cranio maxillofacial (CMF) surgery: SonicWeld Rx. And the company Stryker offers the SonicAnchor product for surgical attachment of ligaments and tendons.
In the original target market for the technology, the wood industry, one successful example can be found from the company Titus Plus, a member of the Titus Group, which introduced a new technology for cabinet assembly, Titusonic.
Finally, the tool manufacturer Wurth took the technology in a slightly different direction in 2016, when they released a hand-held device that allows the operator to use the WoodWelding bonding process in different materials, a process they’ve named Kaltschmelz-Technologie.
The WoodWelding and BoneWelding® technologies address two important global trends:
⦁ Superior performance in resource-saving lightweight materials
⦁ Very significant contribution to cost savings in global healthcare
The main advantages of the WoodWelding technology are:
⦁ Fast processing
⦁ High strength (especially for low fixation depth)
⦁ No use of glue
⦁ No metal required (metal can be used as an option)
Winner, Swiss Technology award, 1999
Winner, Swiss Economic award, 2006
Thus far, 57 worldwide patent families have been created relating to the core WoodWelding technology and improvements.