Real time monitoring, diagnosis, and control of numerous manufacturing processes is of critical importance in reducing operation costs, improving product quality, and shortening response time. Current sensors used in manufacturing are normally unable to provide measurements with desired spatial and temporal resolution at critical locations in metal tooling structures that operate in hostile environments (e.g., elevated temperatures and severe strains). Microsensors are expected to offer tremendous benefits for real time sensing in manufacturing processes. Rapid tooling, a layered manufacturing process, could allow microsensors to be placed at any critical location in metal tooling structures. However, a viable approach is needed to effectively integrate microsensors into metal structures during the process. In this study, a novel batch production of metal embedded microsensor units was realized by transferring thin-film sensors from silicon wafers directly into nickel substrates through standard microfabrication and electroplating techniques. Ultrasonic metal welding (USMW) was studied to obtain optimized process parameters and then used to integrate nickel embedded thin-film thermocouple (TFTC) units into copper workpieces. The embedded TFTCs successfully survived the welding tests, validating that USMW is a viable method to integrate microsensors to metallic tool materials. Moreover, the embedded microsensors were also able to measure the transient temperature in situ at directly beneath the welding interface during welding. The transient temperatures measured by the metal embedded TFTCs provide strong evidence that the heat generation is not critical for weld formation during USMW. Metal embedded microsensors yield great potential to improve fundamental understanding of numerous manufacturing processes by providing in situ sensing data with high spatial and temporal resolution at critical locations.
Study on Embedding and Integration of Microsensors Into Metal Structures for Manufacturing Applications
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Cheng, X., Datta, A., Choi, H., Zhang, X., and Li, X. (September 25, 2006). "Study on Embedding and Integration of Microsensors Into Metal Structures for Manufacturing Applications." ASME. J. Manuf. Sci. Eng. April 2007; 129(2): 416–424. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.2515456
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