New energy at Ultraplast – Craig Parkes and ‘Mr Ultrasonics’, Bill Lee, of Ultraplast show off products where their joining technologies have achieved long-term bonds

Mr Ultrasonics finds a successor … after 47 years

BILL Lee – aka ‘Mr. Ultrasonics’ – has over the past 47 years solved just about every plastics joining problem presented … except one, that of finding a lasting succession plan for his company, W Lee-Ultraplast.

However, a solution recently arose when Craig Parkes, after five years at the Devland, Johannesburg, company succeeded in meeting Bill’s exacting specs and was appointed a director of Ultraplast.

Established by Bill in 1975, W Lee Ultraplast is the local agent for Branson Ultrasonics of the USA, a global pioneer of joining technologies for plastics. Ultraplast has over the past 47 years become the SA leader in ultrasonic welding for plastics products, priding itself in its ability to find solutions for virtually any application where plastic items need to be joined, cut, swaged or sealed, ranging from rigid to flexible items and even non-woven fabrics.

Many of the jobs have been complex, with a high percentage being in the automotive sector, where the requirements are high due to on-road vibration placing additional stress on the bond.

Part of the problem for Bill was that he could not find someone who grasped, and enjoyed, the complexity of the challenge. Now 81, Bill had been searching for a successor or partner to join Ultraplast for a number of years. Craig, who has spent most of his career to date in the automotive sector, joined the company in 2017 on a trial basis. The bond has proved lasting and Craig was recently appointed as a director.

Much of W.Lee-Ultraplast’s work involves finding custom solutions, where it uses welding equipment from Branson as well as other specialist suppliers. Ultrasonic Welding uses ultrasonic mechanical vibrations which are applied to materials that are being held together under pressure to create a solid weld.

This method is most commonly used to join thermoplastics and can even be applied to joining materials that aren’t similar. The team at W Lee-Ultraplast designs custom jigs for the welding operation where the aim is to achieve rapid and cost-effective weld while still allowing for consistent operation. W.Lee-Ultraplast offers: laser, hot plate, infrared, vibration, spin and Ultrasonic welding technologies. These processes are also used for specific metal welding, cutting of foodstuffs, rubber and cleaning of items.