How to use ultrasonically-assisted processing without a specialised machine

Ultrasonic processing offers some interesting benefits, but a disadvantage is that it requires a specific machine into which the technology is integrated. Two manufacturers have put a solution to this on the market.

Ultrasonically-assisted drilling, grinding or milling has long been a focus of research and development. Machine builders such as DMG-Sauer have put suitable machines on the market. Applying ultrasonic vibration to the machining of a piece reduces the cutting forces involved. This makes it easier for users to machine hard and brittle materials such as ceramics. It can also improve finish quality and reduce tool wear.

Sirris and KU Leuven have already investigated the potential of this technology, which resulted in a number of theses and doctorates.

External module

This technology was improved in recent years, but still had the disadvantage that it was tied to specific machines (with the technology built-in) and often to a number of predefined tools. Alternatives to this are now appearing on the market.

Acrow Machinery from Taiwan and Acoustech Systems in the US are two companies selling modules that are compatible with a conventional milling machine. This allows an extra vibration to be used with an ordinary milling machine and under similar conditions (frequencies from 20-30 kHz and amplitudes to 10 μm). The module is powered externally and can be mounted on a standard spindle (ISO, HSK, etc.), such as an ordinary tool holder. An additional advantage is that standard tools can be fitted and the module will adjust its frequency to suit them.

Are you interested in using this technology yourself? This technology is available to companies from Sirris (Acrow) and KU Leuven (DMG-Sauer).