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The patent covers a system that co-locates the additive and subtractive elements of the company's Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing technology.

Clare Goldsberry

March 1, 2017

2 Min Read
Fabrisonic receives patent for additive manufacturing tool

Fabrisonic LLC, a manufacturer specializing in metal 3D-printing applications based in Columbus, OH, has been issued patent number 9,446,475 for a system that co-locates the additive and subtractive elements of its Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing (UAM) technology.

“By co-locating the welding and milling functions, accuracy can be improved and overall build volume can be increased without increasing machine footprint,” said Fabrisonic CEO Mark Norfolk. “Our patents now number 10, which [confirms] Fabrisonic’s leadership in developing metal 3D printers.”

The Fabrisonic SonicLayer 4000 hybrid additive/subtractive system.

The patent covers enhancements to the Fabrisonic hybrid metal 3D printers in which the UAM weld head becomes a tool in the CAT 50 tool changer of a standard CNC mill. Fabrisonic developed the technology with the participation of Dave Bartholomew and Charles Sidlosky from Ultra Tech Machinery in Cuyahoga Falls, OH. Ultra Tech Machinery is a family-owned machine integrator that Fabrisonic has worked with “since 2007 on integration of our equipment, which starts life as a CNC mill [to which] we add the tool that prints the material,” Norfolk told PlasticsToday.

While Fabrisonic sells its equipment, the majority of the company’s business comes from services. “We do 3D printing with our patented technology, and we’ve done some 3D printing for injection molds, such as getting cooling lines as close to the surface as possible,” Norfolk said. “We’ve done this work for a lot of very large molds with complex vacuum systems, creating air passageways that pull the part off the mold or suck it into place.”

Printing cooling lines for thermal management in one form or another accounts for 30% of Fabrisonic’s business, noted Norfolk. 3D-printed cooling lines in molds that make complex shapes, such as a 6 x 6 foot mold for a car hood, are common. “Another unique capability is solid-state welding and combining dissimilar metals,” Norfolk added. “We sell materials to moldmakers, where we laminate an aluminum block with 30% copper. When doing molds for cooling and heating, we take advantage of mixed metals including molybdenum, which don’t change shape in the process. Aluminum might have a 5% change, whereas molybdenum has 0.5% change.”

The hybrid equipment for which Fabrisonic received its patent has been part of the company’s business since 2011. “As a service bureau, we work with moldmakers to show them the technology. They get used to the technology then decide whether they will buy it. We’re constantly adding more capacity to support new customers,” said Norfolk.

About the Author(s)

Clare Goldsberry

Until she retired in September 2021, Clare Goldsberry reported on the plastics industry for more than 30 years. In addition to the 10,000+ articles she has written, by her own estimation, she is the author of several books, including The Business of Injection Molding: How to succeed as a custom molder and Purchasing Injection Molds: A buyers guide. Goldsberry is a member of the Plastics Pioneers Association. She reflected on her long career in "Time to Say Good-Bye."

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