Sonobond Ultrasonics' Equipment Assembles High Efficiency and Specialty Filtration Products for Great Lakes Filters

Attendees at FILTRATION 2013 (Chicago, November 12-14) Will See Machinery that Produces Strong, Perforation-Free Seams Four Times Faster than Sewing and Ten Times Faster than Adhesive Machines

WEST CHESTER, Pennsylvania – When Great Lakes Filters, in Hillsdale, Mich., needed an assembly method to produce a liquid filter bag that could hold up to hydraulic pressing without splitting or fraying, it chose ultrasonic technology using Sonobond Ultrasonics’ SM86 SeamMaster™ High Profile ultrasonic sewing machine.

“The bag has to capture the pulp from the juicing process and then withstand intense compression so that the maximum amount of fruit or vegetable nutrients can be extracted,” explains Brian K. Balliet, CEO of Great Lakes Filters. “Sonobond’s equipment allows us to produce a bag that can do that and meet the customer’s exacting standards. It also enables us to fabricate and attach materials that are difficult via traditional cut and sew methods, resulting in higher quality products at lower production cost.”

The Sonobond Advantage

For the past 24 years, Sonobond Ultrasonics has helped Great Lakes Filters maintain its reputation as a customer-driven company with the flexibility and versatility to achieve product specifications and exceed customer expectations. From prototypes to major programs, the company performs a multitude of high quality converting and production jobs.

Starting with assembly methods that included sewing, adhesives, and hot glue thermal bonding, in 1989 Great Lakes Filters began to investigate ultrasonic machinery.

“We looked at Sonobond’s SeamMaster because it’s similar in design and operation to a standard sewing machine. We also appreciated Sonobond’s willingness to work closely with us to determine what equipment we would require to assemble certain products,” says Balliet.

Today, Great Lakes Filters uses three SeamMaster ultrasonic sewing machines to assemble its liquid filter bags - including custom and specialty bags - plus sleeves, pads, and other filtration products for the environmental, automotive, chemical/pharmaceutical, food/beverage and manufacturing industries.

“We use the SeamMasters with a variety of pattern wheels - including some custom ones - whenever sewn seams are simply not adequate or strong enough to hold up to a filter bag’s end use, to eliminate fraying, or in some cases, to provide an acceptable look for the finished product,” says Balliet.

Ultrasonic Assembly

Ultrasonic bonding occurs when high frequency electrical energy - converted to acoustical, mechanical vibrations and channeled through a horn - creates a rapid heat buildup at the material contact point, causing the fabric between the horn and anvil - or the rotating pattern wheel in the case of the SeamMaster - to soften and fuse. In one pass, the machine seals and trims without thread, glue or other consumables, as much as four times faster than conventional sewing machines and ten times faster than adhesive methods. Yet, the SeamMaster is easy to operate and requires only minimal training.

Flexible Ultrasonic Capability

In addition to its SeamMaster machines, Great Lakes Filters also employs a Sonobond Ultrasonics SureCut™ HC35 and four HG35 handheld devices. In one case, handheld equipment was used to splice together production remnants for a firm on the brink of halting operations when an order for filter media didn’t arrive on time. Great Lakes Filters was able to join the leftover pieces into rolls wide and long enough for its customer to continue manufacturing.

Great Lakes Filters also shares its Sonobond equipment with its sister company Fairway Products, for ultrasonic assembly of automotive trim parts, door inserts and office furniture products. For example, Fairway Products uses the handheld units to finish the ends of a synthetic seam tape that’s continuously sewn to the back of vehicle door inserts and cut between the inserts. The ends of the tape are folded back onto themselves, ultrasonically sealed and then clipped, producing a clean and secure finish.

“Using the ultrasonic equipment eliminates the need for back tacks on sew lines and maintains the appearance of the lines being sewn into the panel insert, rather than being welded to a molded door skin,” explains Steve Firavich, CEO of Fairway Products.

Developing New Products

Great Lakes Filters is currently exploring high efficiency liquid filter bags made from proprietary nanofiltration media. The bags are designed to filter in the submicron range, handling flow rates with minimum pressure drop and 99+ percent efficiency - requirements that usually require costly multiple pleated cartridges instead of a single filter bag.

Once again, Sonobond is working with Great Lakes Filters to provide an ultrasonic assembly method for this innovative product.

“Sonobond has already assisted us in proving that their equipment can do the job, creating a side seam and securing a plastic top for this high efficiency liquid filter bag that’s totally recyclable,” says Balliet. “The Sonobond staff has been and continues to be extremely helpful with testing materials, making recommendations on what wheels and settings to use with the SeamMaster, and providing excellent customer service.”


This year, Sonobond Ultrasonics’ popular SeamMaster High Profile ultrasonic sewing machine and a multi-media presentation showcasing Sonobond machines in action will be among the attractions at FILTRATION 2013.

In announcing Sonobond’s participation at the annual event, Melissa Alleman, Vice President of Sonobond Ultrasonics, noted that Sonobond remains an industry leader, providing the widest selection of ultrasonic assembly equipment for the filtration industry.

“Sonobond has ultrasonic assembly machines for virtually any type of filter used in the airline, automotive, food, paper, pharmaceutical, air and water filtration, liquid absorption, agricultural and petroleum industries,” she said. “Manufacturers can rely on Sonobond for equipment suited to their needs and scale of operation. I encourage those attending FILTRATION 2013 to stop by the Sonobond exhibit (Booth # 620) to see for themselves.”

A Complete Line of Versatile Assembly Equipment

Sonobond’s SeamMaster High Profile ultrasonic sewing machine is adaptable to a wide variety of filtration-assembly requirements, including gas and jet fuel filters and filter cartridges, and commercial and industrial air filters for HVAC, dust collection and nuclear and bio-chemical products. Its high clearance between the wheel and the horn accommodates hand-guided applications with tight tolerances and curves. A special fixture for assembling pleated filters is also available, along with more than 500 standard pattern wheels and custom designs for slitting, sealing, seaming, embossing and tacking.

In addition to the Sonobond SeamMaster series of equipment, Sonobond’s RingMaster™ Filter Bag Machine is featured in the multi-media presentation at Sonobond’s FILTRATION 2013 exhibit (Booth #620). The RingMaster has three welding modules for joining plastic collars to felted filter media, achieving high-quality, high-volume assembly of heavy-duty filter bags required for chemical and industrial liquid applications in the food, paper, pharmaceutical and petroleum industries. Once an operator loads a plastic ring and filter onto a fixture, the machine creates a 360-degree bond in less than 10 seconds, allowing production of up to 250 bags per hour. Custom tooling can accommodate different bag sizes and ring diameters.

Sonobond also produces other ultrasonic equipment for filter assembly, including:

• the Filter Collar Bonder™, a bench-mounted, single-unit version of the RingMaster that can assemble 50 to 80 bags per hour; and

• the SureWeld™ 20 Ultrasonic PlungeBonder™, a rugged and customizable welding press machine that can seal large, multi-layer materials in box-style filters, and filter bag ends for automotive air filters and HEPA-rated filters for bagless vacuum cleaners.

Free Ultrasonic Bonding Viability Test

To determine the best equipment for a specific application, Sonobond encourages filtration assemblers to submit their synthetic or nonwoven materials for a free, no-obligation Ultrasonic Bonding Viability Test. If customers decide to acquire Sonobond equipment, the company works closely with them to meet any customization needs and provide customer service and technical support to ensure a smooth installation.

Visit Sonobond at FILTRATION 2013

To see how Sonobond might enhance your filter assembly process, stop by the Sonobond exhibit (Booth #620) at FILTRATION 2013, at the Navy Pier, in Chicago, November 12 -14.

“It’s a good opportunity for manufacturers to see our SeamMaster machine, watch our multi-media presentation and learn how our ultrasonic equipment can be used for numerous filtration applications,” says Vice President Alleman. “Participants at the conference and expo can also schedule a no-cost, no obligation Ultrasonic Bonding Viability Test.”

An Industry Leader

For 53 years, Sonobond has been a worldwide leader in developing ultrasonic bonding and welding equipment. Today, it offers a complete line of quality-engineered machines to serve respected customers in the apparel, ballistics, filtration, medical, automotive, appliance, electrical, solar and aerospace industries.

Learn More

To learn more about Sonobond’s ultrasonic technology and free Ultrasonic Bonding Viability Test, visit or call 1-800-321-1269. Call 1-800-521-8565 to contact Great Lakes Filters ( and Fairway Products ( (members of the Acme Group) for more information on their products and services.

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