Many radio frequency devices utilize metal wave guides to transfer energy from one point to another at high efficiency by confining wave propagation to a single dimension. Wave guides are used to transmit energy to and from antennas as well as to match impedance to the transmitting/receiving devices. Historically wave guides have been made through traditional CNC machining. This limits the shape of the wave guide to a single plane. More complicated three-dimensional devices can be made with a series of interlocking machined components. However, these are expensive and time consuming to produce and assemble.
The solid-state nature of Fabrisonic’s welding process, allows UAM to readily bond aluminums and coppers that are the primary materials for 3D antennas. Additionally all SonicLayer machines are based off of traditional 3-Axis CNC mills. Thus, the welding process can be stopped at any point and three dimensional channels can be machined. Subsequently, the additive process continues to build up metal sealing in complex 3D flow paths. The x-ray image illustrates the ability for complex internal flow paths which are impossible with traditional manufacturing methods. The combination of additive and subtractive processes allows for internal passageways with almost unlimited geometry. Internal paths can move up down, left right, and change cross section at the designer’s discretion. Additionally, the hybrid nature of SonicLayer machines enables unique cross sections that are not limited to planar arrays.
This week Fabrisonic is visiting Israel. We are proud to be part of the 2015 Welding, Joining & Additive Manufacturing Conference in Tel Aviv. Fabrisonic has a display in the exhibition hall to highlight our capabilities. In addition, Dr Suresh Babu from the University of Tennessee will be giving a keynote address on his research in UAM.
The WJAM conference is held every five years with a mission to bring together international researchers and professionals in the area of welding and joining. With the recent explosion in metal 3D printing, the conference is making metal 3D printing a thrust of this years event.
As Fabrisonic grows its business, we have seen more and more inquiries from the European Union. As part of our development, Fabrisonic recently achieved CE certification for our SonicLayer series of metal 3D printers. Since we use solid state welding, we don’t have to worry about the fumes or shielding of high energy density heat sources. However, the notified body had concerns about the high frequency RF and sound energy from our ultrasonic generators. We sent our machine to Ente Certificazione Macchine Srl. in Italy where we passed all of the required testing. Our first machine is due to be up in running in Europe in the near future. Stay tuned for more details.
This month, Fabrisonic was highlighted in an article in Cutting Tool Engineering. In the article, Alan Richter talks about several new metal 3D printers that have both an additive and a subtractive tool set. For instance, Fabrisonic’s SonicLayer series of metal 3D printers has a metal print head as well as a CNC spindle. This allows the additive material to be printed near net shape, but then the CNC is used to mill the part to the exact shape needed. This allows for much higher precision and higher surface finish. Several companies are adapting other metal 3D printing technologies, such as laser sintering, to include a CNC mill for the same reasons.
In addition to the hybrid nature of Fabrisonic’s technology, Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing happens without melting (near room temperature). The solid-state nature of the ultrasonic bonding permits joining of dissimilar metals without the formation of brittle inter-metallics as seen in fusion processes. Thus Fabrisonic can print several metals in the same part without degradation seen in fusion of multiple metals.