Sonobond Technology Keeps Ballistic Vests Waterproof

There’s no room for error in the construction of a bullet-proof vest, and ultrasonic bonding technology, which does not require needles, thread, or glue but instead fuses woven and nonwoven synthetic materials or blends (with up to 40 percent natural fibers) using ultrasonic vibrations, is playing a key role in garments that protect military personnel, police and others in security positions.

Specifically, two Sonobond machines — the SeamMaster High Profile Ultrasonic Bonder and the SureWeld 20 Ultrasonic PlungeBonder — are assisting manufacturers in complying with the increasingly tough National Institute of Justice standards that now require ballistic vests to be waterproof even after submersion for 30 minutes, rather than after just a spray shower.

Sonobond’s SeamMaster High Profile Ultrasonic Bonder features a rotary system for rapid sealing, sewing and trimming of synthetic fabrics. Its production speeds are up to four times faster than conventional sewing machines and 10 times faster than adhesive methods, the company reports. Fraying or unraveling of bonded edges and seams is virtually eliminated.

The SureWeld 20 PlungeBonder is able to seal large, multiple-layer or difficult-to-bond materials. It has custom tooling that makes it ideal for ultrasonically bonding coated synthetic straps within the seam of a ballistic vest’s outer shell. This is done without compromising the integrity of the ultrasonically sealed outer shell. The bond is made in one pulse without stitching, heat-sealing or adhesives, and reports Sonobond, the entire process is energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.

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