Hanwha Aerospace has been granted a patent for an apparatus and method of manufacturing a shell for a resonator using a laser. The invention allows for the stable production of 3D shells in various shapes by applying heat through a laser and adjusting the vacuum level in a forming frame. This improves work safety and efficiency and allows for the use of different materials. The invention also enables accurate implementation of 3D shapes, reducing defects and manufacturing costs while improving productivity. GlobalData’s report on Hanwha Aerospace gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Hanwha Aerospace, remote controlled surveillance was a key innovation area identified from patents. Hanwha Aerospace's grant share as of September 2023 was 44%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Manufacturing a shell for a resonator using a laser

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Hanwha Aerospace Co Ltd

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11773003B2) describes an apparatus for manufacturing a shell for a resonator using a laser. The apparatus includes a shell-forming frame with an open top and a substrate for manufacturing a shell that is deformed by a laser. A laser generator emits a laser beam to thermally deform the substrate. A vacuum pump unit connected to the shell-forming space adjusts the degree of vacuum to deform the heated substrate into a 3D shape. The apparatus also includes substrate-fixing jig assemblies that press the top of the substrate to fix its position.

The vacuum pump unit consists of a vacuum pump that suctions air from or supplies air into the shell-forming space, a vacuum line connecting the pump and the space, and a vacuum degree control valve that opens or closes the channel of the vacuum line. These components are connected to a controller, which adjusts the degree of vacuum in the shell-forming space. The controller includes an air pressure sensor to monitor the air pressure in the space.

The laser generator can change the shape and intensity of the laser beam using various optical components such as lenses, prisms, axicons, diffraction gratings, screens, and neutral density filters. The apparatus also includes a first straight mover that reciprocates the laser generator in the X-axial direction and a second straight mover that reciprocates the first straight mover in the Y-axial direction. Additionally, a laser elevator is included to move the laser generator up and down.

The pressing jig of the substrate-fixing jig assembly is rotatably inserted in the shell-forming frame and has a substrate supporting portion that holds the top of the substrate. An upper shock-absorbing pad made of an elastic material is placed under the bottom of the substrate supporting portion. A cooling gas spray unit is also present in the shell-forming frame to spray cooling gas to the bottom of the shell for manufacturing a shell, outside the emission range of the laser beam.

Furthermore, the apparatus includes a lower sealing O-ring made of an elastic material on which the substrate is placed, and an inner forming frame that can be separably coupled in the shell-forming space of the shell-forming frame and has a different shell-forming space.

Overall, this patented apparatus provides a comprehensive solution for manufacturing resonator shells using a laser, with precise control over the deformation process and various features to ensure the quality and accuracy of the shells produced.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.