Category Archive: Ultrasonic Machining

What is Ultrasonic Machining?

Ultrasonic machining, also called ultrasonic drilling, is a subtractive fabrication process that uses high-frequency vibrations and abrasive particles to remove small amounts of material from a workpiece’s surface. It is ideal for glass fabrication operations, as it removes surface material very slowly without compromising the substrate’s crystalline structure. This allows fabricators to create highly accurate holes, cavities, and shapes while maintaining the strength and durability of the glass. 

Swift Glass is a premier provider of custom glass fabrication services for customers around the world. With more than 100 years of experience, we are committed to continuously improving our processes and methods. We use state-of-the-art ultrasonic machining technology to produce some of the most accurate custom components in the industry. 

Ultrasonic Machining Process

The ultrasonic machining process relies on highly calibrated ultrasonic tools composed of soft steel or nickel, which vibrate at a particular frequency. When the tool is activated, a slurry of abrasive material is added to the surface of the workpiece. The slurry typically consists of boron carbide or silicon carbide particles suspended in distilled water, but can also incorporate diamond, cubic boron nitride, or aluminum oxide.

Ultrasonic vibrations are directed at the slurry, causing the rigid, abrasive particles to grind away the substrate material. Computerized software programming is used to direct the tool by adjusting the direction and frequency of the vibrations. Although the ultrasonic machining process is slower than more traditional grinding, milling, and cutting methods, it allows fabricators to remove minuscule amounts of material without inducing stress in the component structure. The result is strong components with exceptionally accurate features and tight tolerances.  

Ultrasonic Clean Room vs. Optical Clean Room Process

Once we have completed the ultrasonic machining process, the experts at Swift Glass send the workpiece straight to the clean room. In the clean room, our technicians carefully and thoroughly remove residual particles from the glass to ensure that the part is clean and flawless. Depending on the intended use of the component and required tolerances, we will either use ultrasonic clean room processing or optical clean room processing.

Our clean room facility and ultrasonic cleaning equipment allow us to create clean, particle-free optics and microelectronics components that can be used directly from the package. Components for optics and microelectronics industries require a certain degree of cleanliness to meet stringent industry standards.

Swift Glass employs ultrasonic bath systems to reduce particles and contaminants down to the microscopic level. Our multi-stage bath uses frequencies between 45 and 107 hertz to eliminate stray abrasive particles, dust, and other contaminants. Each stage deepens the cleaning process to ensure that no particles remain on the glass part.

Once the ultrasonic cleaning process is complete, we package your product in the clean room to prevent any external contamination. By incorporating this level of care and attention into our process, we can produce pristine glass components that can be immediately installed into the most sensitive equipment and applications. 

Ultrasonic Machining Services at Swift Glass

At Swift Glass, we pride ourselves on providing outstanding ultrasonic machining and cleaning services for our customers. We maintain a stock of high-quality materials from industry-leading glass manufacturers, including Corning, Schott, GE, and Auer. Our reputation for quality comes from years of hard work creating quality glass solutions for our customers in the biomedical, commercial, industrial, optical, and aerospace industries.

To learn more about our ultrasonic machining services and other glass solutions, contact the experts at Swift Glass today or request a quote

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