SIGS Research: Intelligent manufacturing speeds production of anti-epidemic supplies

The novel coronavirus has created high demand for equipment and technology that can address the shortage of anti-epidemic supplies.

Since the outbreak, the Intelligent Manufacturing and Precision Processing laboratory at Tsinghua SIGS has been providing manufacturers of epidemic prevention materials with technology solutions and services. The team is mainly engaged in the research of ultrasonic-assisted machining technologies and equipment, and is committed to the R&D and production of ultrasonic technology products.

Ultrasonic welding is a key process and major point of focus in realizing face mask production. Ultrasonic mechanical vibrations are applied to contact points of two surfaces, which rub against each other to form fusion between molecular layers due to the high temperature generated by high-frequency resonance. In the production of masks, welding through ultrasonic waves enables the multi-layer structure to be firmly connected together even during continuous high-speed production and achieves better breathability. Elastic bands can be easily attached, and the finishing product is soft and comfortable.



Manufacturing of core components for ultrasonic welding


The Intelligent Manufacturing team from the Division of Advanced Manufacturing actively responded to the epidemic prevention needs, and was first to establish a research group that provided partners with ultrasonic welding technologies in areas such as mask production and ultrasonic welding system design solutions.

Facing the sudden spike in demand for face masks, traditional labor-intensive production could not meet the needs of the epidemic. Unstable quality -- a result of rapid production, was also a problem for many enterprises. The research team has since then provided free consulting services to partner enterprises and helped solve specific technical problems.

The team has also independently developed core components for ultrasonic welding systems. Prof. Feng Pingfa's team focused on the ultrasonic welding process and core component manufacturing, while Prof. Wang Xiaohao's team focused on ultrasonic power supply. The first set of prototypes are currently being tested at off-campus partner enterprises.


Core components and power supply for ultrasonic welding


The intelligent manufacturing team has contributed to the epidemic fight by providing technological aid to manufacturers promote high-quality and efficient production of epidemic prevention materials. In the future, the team plans to launch its own ultrasonic precision machining equipment that can be used in more fields.


Photo by Xu Chao

Edited by Karen Lee