Ultrasonic Tooling

Introduction of Ultrasonic Tooling

Ultrasonic tooling can be referred to tools using ultrasonic technique or the technique itself.

When speaking to the tools, they are described like horns and fixtures, is an important element in the plastics assembly process. They must be designed to be suitable for some particular applications.

For ultrasonic tooling technique, it is a kind of tooling technique that makes up the deficiencies of electrical discharge machining (EDM) and electrochemical machining which can only progressing conductive metals rather than non-conductive ones.

Ultrasonic tooling is suitable for machining all kinds of materials, especially good at progressing non-conductive ones such as glass, ceramics, or semiconductor. Moreover, cleaning, welding, and flaw detection are also professional fields of ultrasonic tooling.


Features of Ultrasonic

Ultrasonic properties with several features and has been a welcomed technique that are widely used nowadays.

This feature is the common feature of sound wave since ultrasonic is a part of sound waves.
● Multiple Mediums
Ultrasonic can be transferred in solid, liquid, and the air.

The three features below result in strong directionality and being more obvious on reflection, refraction, resonance and depletion.
● High Frequency
● Short Wavelength
● Providing Strong Energy

Others would be strong energy transmission, cavitation, and reflection, strong transmission and refraction phenomena, interference and resonance phenomena of waves (under certain conditions).


Principles Using on Ultrasonic Tooling

Ultrasonic tooling uses the vibration on the surface of tools to progress hard metals.

When applying the technique, the ultrasonic producing devices would send the current in high frequency (approximately over 16,000 Hz) on the ultrasonic transducer vibration system and make the tools vibrating. Then, the horn would enlarge the vibration and generate the ultrasonic vibration in a very tiny amplitude (about 0.01 to 0.1 mm).

The shape or size of the tools applying ultrasonic tooling depends on the material of the surface of workpiece. Moreover, the tools are usually made of ductile materials like unquenched carbon steel.

Another element which is important when applying the ultrasonic tooling is procession fluid. This fluid applying in the ultrasonic tooling contains abrasives. When doing ultrasonic tooling, it would be added in the middle of the vibrating tools and workpieces. Thus, the abrasives would become the main force to mill the workpiece by the vibration in a high speed.

Through this application, ultrasonic tooling technique can do milling, slicing and cutting works in all levels, from rough to precision.

From the description above, we can see that the main force of ultrasonic tooling is the reaction of abrasive and the vibrating tools. In other words, we can say the ultrasonic tooling technique is the consequence of reactions by the striking of the vibrating tools and milling by the abrasives.

Under the premise of the application principle, it would not be hard to understand that the harder the material is, the bigger the impact would be. Therefore, harder materials would instead be easier to be progressed.

On the other hand, materials that contains ductile materials that are not hard enough would be harder to machining due to their buffering function. Therefore, when machining such kind of materials, the operators would tend to choose harder vibrating tools to react with the abrasives for generating milling powers.


Features of Ultrasonic Tooling

● Suitable for Machining Hard Materials
Ultrasonic tooling is an ideal machining technique when dealing with hard non-metal materials, especially those non-conductive materials such as glass, ceramics, quartz, germanium, silicon, graphite, agate, gem, diamond, etc.

It also has the capability to machining hard metal materials like hardened steel, hard alloy, stainless steel, or titanium alloy, but the processing productivity would be lower.

● Getting Simpler Structures on Machine Tools
Since ultrasonic tooling can help to make soft materials into complex shape, it is unnecessary to make complex reactions between tools and workpieces. Therefore, machine tools responsible for applying ultrasonic tooling technique are usually designed simpler than other kinds.

● Producing more precision workpieces

● Costing Less

● Producing Less
Machining area ultrasonic tooling deals with would not be in a big size. Moreover, the wear rate of the tools would be higher because of the processing methods.

● Limited depth of the cylindrical hole
The depth of the cylindrical hole would be limited in maximum of five times than the diameter of machining tools.


Things to be Noticed

● Importance of changing drilling tools
Along with the wear of vibrating tools, the sharp tip of the tool would become passivated and being harder to do the machining. Therefore, it would be important for checking the condition of the tools frequently.

● Evenly distribute the abrasives
If the abrasives are not fairly distributed, the vibration would hurt both the surface of workpieces and the tools. When the situation happens, the only solution would be redesigning the tools.


Application – Ultrasonic Welding

Ultrasonic welding is uses current in high frequency to generate heat or pressure for welding. 

Different from other kinds of welding techniques, when applying ultrasonic welding on plastics, the current would be transformed into heat, and the heat would milt the plastic elements and weld them together.

On the other hand, when welding metals with ultrasonic, the current would be used in generating pressure instead of heat.

Ultrasonic welding is now applying on:
● Welding plastic workpieces made of same or different elements
● Welding metal parts on plastic workpieces
● Inserting screws into plastic workpieces
● Cutting off unnecessary parts made of plastics

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