Solid-state metal 3D printing specialist Fabrisonic has launched its SonicLayer X̅ Seam Welder which it claims is twice as powerful as current models on the market.
Seam welders are commonly used to join metal foils or sheets together for applications such as continuous tubes and seams, solar panels, battery anodes and cathodes, and connectors. Fabrisonic’s new patented 10,000W SonicLayer X̅ reportedly delivers faster travel speeds, thicker materials, higher downforce, and offers more material choices than other available models.
“Increasing ultrasonic welding to 10,000 watts of power expands the scope of what is possible with a metal seam welder,” said Mark Norfolk, CEO of Fabrisonic. “This includes increases in speed, increases in material width/thickness, and a new array of metal alloys including stainless, Inconel, and even refractory metals.”
Fabrisonic’s UAM technology
Fabrisonic’s proprietary ultrasonic additive manufacturing (UAM) technology is a hybrid metal 3D printing process that uses ultrasonic vibrations to weld together layers of metal foils into a 3D shape. The resulting model can then be CNC-machined to provide more complex features.
UAM is suitable for the 3D printing of integrated electronics thanks to its ability to operate at low temperatures, and also enables 3D printing at high speed. Fabrisonic patented UAM in 2017, prior to releasing its UAM-based SonicLayer 1200 machine two years later.
Since its founding in 2011, the company has held multiple partnerships with NASA, having worked with optical sensor specialist Lunar Innovations to 3D print sensors directly onto a NASA fuel pipe, and embarking on a SBIR project to merge different amorphous alloys into corrosion-resistant multi-metal cladding.
In 2018, Fabrisonic and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory began exploring how UAM could be used to produce 3D printed heat exchangers. Earlier this year, the partners announced they had developed better-value 3D printed heat exchangers for satellites using Fabrisonic’s SonicLayer 1200, and in June resolved to continue their partnership to produce the UAM 3D printed heat exchangers for NASA’s spacecraft.
Most recently, Fabrisonic gained ISO 9001:2015 certification for the Quality Management System (QMS) behind its UAM technology. The accreditation applies not only to the QMS but also to the company’s UAM-related products, equipment, and R&D service.
The SonicLayer X̅
February’s report from Crystal Market Research, predicts significant development and “tremendous” growth within the seam ultrasonic metal welder market. Fabrisonic’s SonicLayer X̅ seam welder is based on multiple patents and technology spanning a decade of experience in UAM.
According to Fabrisonic, the SonicLayer X̅ is equipped with nearly twice the power of competitive products on the market. The seam welder features longitudinal ultrasonics to produce fully bonded solid-state welds, and can be used in any application that requires the joining of metal foils or sheets together.
Powered by 10,000 watts, the SonicLayer X̅ can weld up to 250 inches per minute, and in widths of up to an inch. Capable of working with aluminum, copper, stainless steel, nickel alloys, and metal matrix composites, the seam welder can exert a downforce of up to 10,000 newtons. The SonicLayer X̅ is also designed to be more efficient, able to join more layers in a single pass.
The SonicLayer X̅ has successfully manufactured a variety of electrical grade foils for interconnects, batteries, and flexible shunts. The seam welder has also been used to weld dissimilar metal combinations such as Cu/Ag, Cu/Al, and Al/Fe.
In addition to enabling the high-speed production of electrical systems, the SonicLayer X̅ can also be leveraged for metal foil packaging, sheet metal welding, cladding, and selective reinforcement.
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Featured image shows SonicLayer X̅ Four seam welds creating a hermetic seal on an aluminum foil pocket smaller. Photo via Fabrisonic.