Ultrasonic Consolidation

Ultrasonic consolidation or ultrasonic additive manufacturing was invented and patented by Dawn White. In 1999, White formed Solidica Inc. to sell UAM industrial

Laminated object manufacturing process

FIGURE 4.9 Laminated object manufacturing process.

equipment—the Forming Machinery Suite. Around 2007, the Edison Welding Institute (EWI) and Solidica began working together to redesign the welding tooling to overcome bond consistency limitations and extend the process’ weldable metals—so-called very high-power UAM. In 2011, Fabrisonic LLC was formed to commercialize the improved UAM process—SonicLayer machine suite. The process works by scrubbing metal foils together with ultrasonic vibrations under continuous pressure, i.e. classification of sheet lamination in additive manufacturing. Melting is not a mechanism of formation. Metals are instead connected to the solid state by disrupting surface oxide films between metals, i.e. ultrasonic metal welding mechanisms. CNC contour milling is used interchangeably with the additive stage of the process to incorporate internal features and add details to the metal part. UAM has the ability to combine multiple types of metals, i.e. dissimilar metal joints, with no or minimal inter-metallic formation and allows the embedding of temperature-sensitive materials at relatively low temperatures—usually less than 50 percent of the melting temperature of the metal matrix. As with most other additive manufacturing processes, UC creates objects directly from the CAD model. The file is then “sliced” into layers that result in the production of an STL file that can be used by the UC machine to build the required object layer by layer (Figure 4.10).

Schematic of ultrasonic consolidation example part

FIGURE 4.10 Schematic of ultrasonic consolidation example part.

The general manufacturing process is as follows:

  • • The base plate is placed on the anvil machine and set in place.
  • • The metal foil is then drawm under the sonotrode, w'hich exerts pressure through normal force and ultrasonic oscillations, and bonded to the plate.
  • • This process is then repeated until the necessary area is covered by ultrasonic consolidated material.
  • • The CNC mill is then used to trim the excess foil from the part and to achieve the required geometry.
  • • Deposit and trim cycle shall be repeated until the specified height (usually 3-6 mm) is reached. A smaller finishing mill is used at this height to create the required tolerance and surface finish of the part.
  • • The deposit, trim, and finishing cycle shall continue until the finished object has been produced; at w'hich point the anvil shall be removed and the finished article shall be removed from the base plate.

The advantage of this technology is the combination of different types of materials including aluminum and fiber optics. The disadvantage is that the process is limited to malleable metals that can be ultrasonically w'elded. The decision tree for this process is showm in Figure 4.11. Ultrasonic consolidation is a developing process for hybrid manufacturing and provides good capability for the combination of malleable materials and embedded electronics and fiber optics.

Decision tree for ultrasonic consolidation

FIGURE 4.11 Decision tree for ultrasonic consolidation.


  • 1. Explain Stratasys’ fused deposition modeling (FDM).
  • 2. Describe Solidscape’s BenchTop system.
  • 3. Discuss Mcor Technologies’ selective deposition lamination (SDL).
  • 4. Explain Cubic Technologies’ laminated object manufacturing (LOM).
  • 5. Briefly describe ultrasonic consolidation.

Multiple-Choice Questions

  • 1. Fused deposition modeling is a layer AM process that uses a _______________filament by fused deposition.
  • a) Thermoplastic
  • b) Thermoelastic
  • c) Polylactic
  • d) None of the above Ans: (a)
  • 2. Solidscape was founded in_______________.
  • a) 1963
  • b) 1986
  • c) 1993
  • d) 1999 Ans: (c)
  • 3. Selective deposition lamination (SDL) or 3D paper printing was discovered

by Dr. Conor MacCormack and Fintan MacCormack in_______________.

  • a) 2003
  • b) 2006
  • c) 2007
  • d) 2009 Ans: (a)
  • 4. LOMmachinesareprimarilyusedforrapidprototypingof_______________.
  • a) Metallic parts
  • b) Ceramic parts
  • c) Wooden parts
  • d) Plastic parts Ans: (d)
  • 5. The main drawback to the use of FDM technology is___________.
  • a) Quality
  • b) Surface finish
  • c) Speed of construction
  • d) All of the above Ans: (c)
  • 6. Which one is NOT related to the definition of rapid prototyping?
  • a) Layer by layer
  • b) Physical model
  • c) From 3D CAD data
  • d) Production line Ans: (d)
  • 7. Which one of the following processes does NOT use laser?
  • a) LOM
  • b) SLA
  • c) SLS
  • d) FDM Ans: (d)
  • 8. How many processes are there in the design process?
  • a) 3
  • b) 4
  • c) 5
  • d) 6 Ans: (c)
  • 9. Which of the following are processes in the RP cycle?
  • a) Post-processing
  • b) Transfer to machine
  • c) Pre-processing
  • d) All of the above Ans: (d)
  • 10. Which of the following processes is available in color?
  • a) SLA
  • b) FDM
  • c) MJM
  • d) 3D printer Ans: (d)
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