News & Views

Manufacturing for the Common Man – AcousTech Machining (Part 1 of 8)

By Jim Tighe on Sunday, January 6th, 2013

The great thing about manufacturing is the manufacturing process is never perfect.  There will  always be the possibility of doing something faster, more cost effectively, with higher quality, and on and on.  Some of our innovations at EWI have a niche field of application to solve a specific manufacturing problem.  But the great ones have seemingly unlimited areas of use that even a common man like myself can grasp.

“Common Man” diagram of AcousTech Machining

AcousTech Machining is one of those technologies.

Matt Short – Ultrasonics Technology Leader (not always this serious)

Say I’m Joe Manufacturer and I have a metal plate that takes me 5 minutes to drill.  Now wouldn’t it be great if I could:

  • Drill it faster…
  • Have my drill bit last longer…
  • Not use lubricant…
  • Instead drill a harder metal…
  • Drill at a 45 degree angle without having to prep the surface…

“Yeah… that would be great”

Building upon the combined 50 plus years of research and work of Karl Graff and Matt ShortEWI has been able to create and isolate very high powered ultrasonic vibrations in a novel and compact way in the head of the drill bit.  Isolation is critical so that ultrasonic vibrations only impact the tool side… not the holder side.  So using an AcousTech Machining module you add an up and down ultrasonic oscillation at the head of the tool in addition to the force of the drill and the turning action.  This leads to some amazing outcomes in all of the “wouldn’t it be great” bullets above.

AcousTech “Drill Bit” Versus a Sharpie

Another cool innovation is the ability to power the tool within a standard CNC machine holder (as seen in this video).  There are no exposed electrical components in the design making it pretty much just another tool to be added to the machine (i.e. not requiring a new major capital investment).  And the technology is not just small scale as seen in this photo.

If you step back and just think for 30 seconds, there are A TON of areas for something like this (and I’m just an accountant).  Seriously, think about it!!!

What?  There wasn’t enough technical content for you in this blog?  If you have any questions or are interested in learning some more about AcousTech Machining, please contact Matt Short, our ultrasonics technology leader (trust me… he’s not as upset as he looks).

Next, I’ll profile Laser Coating Removal developed by Stan Ream as seen here (laser paint removal).  Until next time, this is Jim Tighe (, common man, signing off.

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