July Edition 2021
In the last three decades, technological advancements have created new opportunities and lead to the discovery of several key inventions. In the current scenario, 3D printing is gradually making its presence felt in several industries such as healthcare, automotive, engineering, and several other important industries. 3D Incredible has steadily transitioned into one of the leading players who offer the best 3D printing services.
Fabrisonic is a unique 3D metal printing manufacturing company. It provides 3D metal printing services using low‐temperature Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing (UAM) technology. This one-of-a-kind hybrid technology allows you to create structures impossible with traditional subtractive manufacturing alone – driving improvements in performance, quality and cost. Fabrisonic can weld dissimilar metals, embed sensors and active elements, and create complex geometry within the component.
Complex Internal Geometry: Aluminum and copper components with complex internal geometry (cold plates, radiators, and RF waveguides), are often brazed assemblies. These complex assemblies pose many manufacturing issues that typically lead to low first pass yield. UAM can be used to 3D print all grades of aluminum and copper. Coupled with the hybrid nature of the process, designers have the ability to reliably create interwoven passageways within a part printed in a single step.
Creating New Metal Combinations: Producing multi-metal part production without complicated joining issues is every metallurgist’ dream. Imagine being able to choose metals that have the exact properties you need where you need them. UAM enables these dreams as any metal can be printed at any location. Fabrisonic has engineered custom materials to provide specific mechanical, thermal and electrical properties. In one such application, the company printed a dissimilar metal part with mechanical properties that varied based on thermal stimuli.
Embedded Electronics & Sensors: Sensors and electrical controls are an essential part of every industry. A common problem is the degradation of the exposed control elements from both corrosion and wear. Ideally, in such situations, it would be best to bury the electronics in solid metal to protect them. This isn’t possible with conventional manufacturing technologies so most companies resort to complicated seals that also degrade over time. Conventional processes such as casting and welding can occasionally create a protective structure, but these high temperature processes typically damage the exact components they are trying to protect. Fabrisonic’s UAM process can eliminate these common issues to create lasting protection solutions.
Fabrisonic’s Cutting-Edge UAM Technology
Welding Metal with Ultrasound: Ultrasonic metal welding has been around since the 1950’s with modern applications in everyday welding of battery tabs, thin foil packaging, and even electronic wires. An ultrasonic weld operation begins by pressing a thin metal foil onto another metal component. While under a constant force, ultrasonic vibrations are applied to cause scrubbing of the mating faces. This shearing motion cleans off surface oxides through friction to then allow direct contact of pure metal on pure metal. The result is in a solid state atomic bond with minimal heating. The heat and plastic deformation promote diffusion and recrystallization at the interface resulting in a true metallurgical bond. Ultrasonic welding can be accomplished at very low temperature and without any special environments. The solid-state nature is a key advantage of ultrasonic welds as it:
Protects material properties of the incoming feedstock – Since the materials are only slightly heated, the materials do not experience changes in grain size, precipitation reactions, nor phase changes. The properties of the incoming feedstock are the same as the properties of the final part.
Creates bonds between dissimilar metals without creating an undesirable brittle metallurgy – This capability differentiates UAM from fusion based processes and enables Fabrisonic to print engineered materials with custom material properties or properties to match an existing component. For instance, layers of Molybdenum and Invar can be printed into an aluminum heat exchanger to match the CTE of a mounted electronic circuit.
Embed temperature sensitive components in solid metal parts – Many electronic components including microprocessors, sensors, and telemetry have been successfully embedded in solid metal part using UAM. The low temperature bond allows delicate components to be embedded in solid metal without the damage incurred in comparable fusion based additive processes.
Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing: UAM is ultrasonic welding on a semi-continuous basis where solid metal objects are built up to a net three-dimensional shape through a succession of welded metal tapes. Through periodic machining operations, detailed features are milled into the object until a final geometry is created by removing excess material. The figure at right shows a rolling ultrasonic welding system, consisting of two 20,000 hertz ultrasonic transducers and the welding sonotrode. High-frequency ultrasonic vibrations are locally applied to metal foils, held together under pressure, to create a weld. The vibrations of the transducer are transmitted to the disk-shaped welding sonotrode, which in turn creates an ultrasonic solid-state weld between the thin metal tape and the substrate. The continuous rolling of the sonotrode over the plate welds the entire tape to the plate. Successive layers are welded together to build up height. This process is then repeated until a solid component has been created. CNC contour milling is then used to achieve required tolerances and surface finish.
The Formidable Leader
Mark Norfolk, PE is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Fabrisonic. With over twenty years of experience in manufacturing, R&D, and shop floor management, Mr. Norfolk leads Fabrisonic in the commercialization of Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing (UAM) Technology. He led EWI’s development and research into UAM for four years leading up to the inception of Fabrisonic and has been with the company ever since. Prior to joining EWI, Mr. Norfolk held numerous manufacturing and management positions at Deere & Company in Moline. He holds an MBA from The University of Iowa and a Bachelors of Science in Welding Engineering from The Ohio State University.