March 11, 2024

Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing Emissions

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Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing Emissions

The Backstory

Though a relatively new form of product manufacturing, “ultrasonic additive manufacturing” (UAM) has become a valued method in industry. From dental crowns and retainers to medical braces and structural footwear, from automotive air conditioning vents to complex aerospace parts and custom tools – not to mention all the electronic devices that can be built into layered structural design – ultrasonic additive manufacturing creates products that are important and meaningful in our everyday lives.

Like many other production methods that came before, UAM can pose health risks for those who perform the work unless indoor air quality (IAQ) measures are incorporated into the fabrication process. 

Benefits of Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing

Ultrasonic additive manufacturing, also known as ultrasonic consolidation, was invented in 1999. UAM is a form of 3D printing used to fabricate metal components by welding multiple layers of thin metal sheets (or tape), then vibrating them together until they fuse. Unlike various other methods, UAM does not use heat to melt metal parts to form a whole. The process takes place at low temperatures by using high-frequency vibration to join surfaces while allowing them to remain solid.

UAM builds its products from the bottom up, layer by layer, making it easy to embed objects (such as sensors) into the solid metal parts while forming a 3-dimensional shape that is then trimmed to create the end-product. Compared with many conventional manufacturing techniques, UAM provides efficiency coupled with significant cost savings.

Air Quality Concerns from Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing

Manufacturing using the ultrasonic additive method offers greater precision with cost savings, but it can, like it’s conventional cousins, release harmful emissions metal fumes and VOCs into the air. Potential airborne pollutants include:

  1. Fine metal particulates
  2. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other chemical fumes
  3. Mists and aerosols
  4. Gas odors

These impurities can make workers sick if countermeasures are not used. These actions should include both local exhaust ventilation and air filtration.

Improve IAQ With Air Filtration

At AIRSInc, our Extract-All® line of air cleaning products eliminate pollution at the source. While we carry a complete line of ambient and central systems, our SP-400 Portable Fume Extractor is designed specifically for applications such as UAM. To ensure that your workplace has an indoor air quality that is healthy for all employees, contact an AIRSInc specialist today for a free IAQ assessment.

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