About Ultrasonic Machining


Ultrasonic machining is a low material removal rate (MRR), loose abrasive machining process in which the mirror image of a shaped tool can be created in hard, brittle materials.

Material removal begins with a vibrating tool. The vibration propels particles at accelerations in excess of 25,000 g’s. These dynamic particles collide with and grind the workpiece on a micro level.

  • A nearly limitless number of feature shapes including round, square, and odd-shaped thru-holes, and cavities of varying depths, as well as OD-ID features can be machined with high quality and consistency.
  • Features ranging in size from 0.008″ up to several inches are possible in small workpieces, wafers, larger substrates, and material blanks.
  • Aspect ratios as high as 60-to-1 are possible, depending on the material type and feature size. View the ultrasonic machining 3D animation to learn more about how ultrasonic machining works.
Ultrasonic machining is suitable for machining of hard, brittle materials including:
  • Glass
  • Sapphire
  • Alumina
  • Ferrite
  • PCD
  • Piezoceramics
  • Quartz
  • CVD Silicon Carbide
  • Ceramic Matrix Composites
  • Technical Ceramics
Applications for ultrasonic machining include:
  • Tight-tolerance round thru-holes for semiconductor processing equipment components
  • Micromachined and micro-structured glass wafers for microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) applications
  • High-aspect ratio thru-vias; 60-to-1 aspect ratios are possible in glass and advanced material
  • Features machined into Ceramic Matrix Composites for Aerospace manufacturing
Advantages of ultrasonic machining include:
  • The process is non-thermal, non-chemical, and non-electrical, leaving the chemical and physical properties of the workpiece This low-stress process translates into high reliability for your critical applications.
    • Multiple features can be machined at the wafer or substrate level simultaneously, and the process is Our process is often the highest quality and lowest cost solution.
    • Ultrasonic machined features have vertical side walls, enabling you to preserve valuable space for your designs that translate into higher productivity.
  • The process integrates well with semiconductor and MEMS Machined features can be aligned to previously patterned, machined, or etched substrates.
  • Contact Bullen to learn more about ultrasonic machining and our host of glass machining, ceramic machining, and advanced material machining capabilities.

Please read Ultrasonic Machining in the March 2008 Ceramic Industry magazine.