What is Heat Staking? A guide

22nd May 2024

What is Heat Staking? A guide

Heat Staking Technical Guide for Manufacturing Engineers

Introduction to Heat Staking

Heat staking is a widely utilized process in plastic assembly, offering an efficient and reliable method for joining thermoplastic components. Unlike traditional mechanical fasteners, heat staking eliminates the need for additional hardware, reducing costs and potential points of failure. This guide provides a comprehensive overview of the heat staking process, its advantages, applications, and best practices for optimal results.

Why Use Heat Staking?

Heat staking has become the preferred method for plastic assembly due to several key benefits:

  • Elimination of Hardware Fasteners: Heat staking removes the need for screws, bolts, or other fasteners that can become defective or require extensive quality control.
  • Cost Efficiency: Without the need for additional hardware, heat staking reduces material costs and labor associated with assembly.
  • Streamlined Process: All staking operations can be completed in a single machine cycle, increasing production efficiency and consistency.

How Does Heat Staking Work?

Heat staking uses a combination of heat and pressure to deform a thermoplastic material, creating a bond between components. The process involves:

  1. Heating: A thermode or hot bar applies localized heat to the plastic component above its glass transition temperature.
  2. Pressure Application: Simultaneously, pressure is applied to mold the softened plastic into the desired shape, securing the parts together.
  3. Cooling: The assembly is cooled under pressure to solidify the bond, ensuring a durable and consistent connection.

Advantages of Heat Staking

  • Mechanical Reliability: Heat staking creates strong bonds without the mechanical stress associated with ultrasonic welding, making it suitable for sensitive electronic assemblies.
  • Material Versatility: Compatible with a wide range of thermoplastics, including:
    • Polycarbonate (PC)
    • Polypropylene (PP)
    • Polystyrene (PS)
    • Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)
    • Nylon (GFN or Nylon 6/6)
    • Ultem (GFN or Nylon 6/6)
  • No Design Changes: The base material remains unchanged, simplifying design and manufacturing processes.
  • Precision and Control: Precise control over temperature and pressure ensures high-quality, repeatable results.

Heat Staking vs. Other Methods

Ultrasonic Welding: While ultrasonic welding is effective, it can damage electronic components and create weaker bonds in glass-filled plastics. Heat staking avoids these issues by using controlled, localized heating.

Cold Staking: This method cannot be used for glass-filled plastics due to brittleness and lacks the precision of heat staking.

Applications of Heat Staking

Heat staking is used across various industries, including automotive, medical devices, consumer electronics, and telecommunications. Common applications include:

  • Automotive: Securing LED arrays and flex circuits in plastic housings.
  • Medical Devices: Attaching adhesive patches to wearable devices without creating discomfort or brittle joints.
  • Electronics: Joining printed circuit boards to plastic housings without damaging components.

Best Practices for Heat Staking

  1. Choose the Right Materials: Ensure compatibility with thermoplastics such as PC, PP, PS, ABS, and Nylon.
  2. Control Temperature and Pressure: Maintain precise control over the process parameters to avoid defects like cracking or rough surfaces.
  3. Use Quality Equipment: Invest in reliable heat staking machines that offer consistent temperature and motion control.

Heat Staking Process Overview

  1. Positioning: Align the parts to be joined, ensuring proper placement for effective staking.
  2. Heating: The thermode or hot bar descends, applying heat to the plastic component.
  3. Deformation: Pressure is applied simultaneously, molding the softened plastic.
  4. Cooling: The assembly is cooled under pressure to solidify the bond.
  5. Release: The thermode retracts, leaving a securely bonded assembly.


Heat staking is a powerful and efficient method for plastic assembly, offering numerous benefits over traditional fastening and welding techniques. By understanding the principles, applications, and best practices of heat staking, manufacturing engineers can optimize their assembly processes, ensuring high-quality, reliable products.

For further information or to explore suitable heat staking solutions for your projects, please contact our technical support team.