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Patented TechnologyAdvancing the Field of Ultrasonic Technologies

Sonics was founded in 1969 by Robert Soloff, 4 years after he was awarded the patent for discovering the ultrasonic method for welding rigid thermoplastic parts. His vision was to create a company that would advance the field of ultrasonic technology while specializing in the design, development and manufacturing of ultrasonic equipment.

Mr. Soloff’s inventive creative energy fueled the growth of Sonics and would lead to the acquisition of 13 new patents in his name. As a pioneer in the industry, with a passion for both ultrasonics and his growing company, Mr. Soloff created and nurtured an environment of innovation at Sonics. Introducing new young minds to the unique intricacies of the technology, he fosters a spirit of scientific collaboration that gives rise to more new discoveries (18 additional company patents, plus another 3 pending) while expanding the knowledge base of many young engineers.

Patented Products and Processes

Over 5 decades of innovative plastics engineering, Mr. Soloff has accumulated a total of 13 patents in his name and has overseen an additional 18 company patents. Patented products and processes are listed below by division.

welding thermoplastics with ultrasonics patent

Liquid Processing Patents

  • 3,081,946 Sonic spray nozzle
  • 3,107,647 Toroidal Acoustic Reflector
  • 6,840,280 Flow Through Ultrasonic Processing System
  • 7,160,516 High Volume Ultrasonic Flow Cell
  • 8,240,213 System and Method for Ultrasonic Sample Preparation
  • 8,944,344 / 2,730,242 Multi-Element Ultrasonic Atomizer

Plastics Assembly / Flexible Sealing Patents

  • 3,214,846 Sonic Generator
  • 3,244,916 Welding thermoplastics with ultrasonics
  • 3,284,257 Welding non-thermoplastic parts with ultrasonics
  • 3,331,719 Splicing Thermoplastic Film with ultrasonics
  • 3,367,809 Staking plastic rivets with ultrasonics
  • 3,440,117 Method of simultaneously securing a plurality of elements to a thermoplastic member using sonic energy
  • 3,464,102 Solid acoustic horn with suction means
  • 6,066,217 / 1140473 Method for Producing Thermoplastic Fabric Covered Panels
  • 6,227,275 Method and Apparatus for Producing Thermoplastic Fabric Covered Panels
  • 6,364,977 Tuning Mechanism and Method for Vibration Welding
  • 6,588,644 / 1301331 Energy Controller for Vibration Welder
  • 6,814,824 Method of Vibration Welding Thermoplastic Fabrics to Substrates
  • 8,212,171 System and Method for Ultrasonic Assisted EDM Machining
  • 8,016,964 / 2,722,921 System to Prevent Overloads for Ultrasonic Staking
  • Pending Diagnostic System and Method for Testing Integrity of Stack Gusset Sealing System

Robert Soloff with Ultrasonic Welding Press 1960's

Metal Welding Patents

  • 8,113,258 Ultrasonic Welding Device
  • 8,714,081 Press for Ultrasonic Welding Device
  • 8,627,996 / 2,813,953 System and Method for Terminating Aluminum Conductors 
  • 6,578,659 Ultrasonic Horn Assembly
  • 8,950,458 / 2,813,846 System and Method for Mounting Ultrasonic Tools

General Ultrasonics Patents

  • 5,968,007 Power Limit Control for Ultrasonic Surgical Instrument
  • 6,159,176 Sheath and Support for Ultrasonic Elongate Tip

The Start of Something Big

The beginning of ultrasonic plastics welding as we know it today started in 1963, while Robert Soloff was working on a project for seam welding films wherein thin plastic films were passed under a probe to weld bags and tubes. Working with a probe in hand, he accidentally brought it into contact with the Scotch tape dispenser on his desk and the two halves of the dispenser welded together. Seeing this, he realized that sound waves could travel around corners and down the sides of rigid plastics to reach the joint area to be welded.

Quickly realizing the many potential uses for this process, Mr. Soloff went out that same day and bought a bunch of toys, such as harmonicas and dolls, which had been glued together. He then cut apart the toys, contacted the parts with the probe, and welded them together. The very first presentation of the ultrasonics process to the Ideal Toy Company resulted in a request to replace the hand-held method with a more automated approach. Accordingly, Mr. Soloff took a Stanley drill press stand that he had in his home workshop and modified it to hold a converter and half-inch step horn. He added an air cylinder, a valve, and a couple of mechanical timers, and finally, wiring to turn the ultrasonics on and off with a weld timer, a hold timer and a foot switch. Ideal bought this first ultrasonic press on the spot - for a Roy Rogers stagecoach cowboy kit.

Mr. Soloff went on to receive the patent for the ultrasonic method for welding rigid thermoplastics, subsequently developing and marketing his ultrasonic equipment to a wide variety of industries all over the world.

The next patent awarded to Mr. Soloff was for the ultrasonic staking of plastics in 1968. In 1964, he was faced with the challenge of attaching a vacuum impeller to a metal ring for Electrolux. He came up with the idea of sticking some projections up through the metal ring and then squeezing them down. He tried it, it worked and thus was the process of ultrasonic staking created. For this he was awarded United States Patent #3,367,809.

Shortly after this, in 1965, Mr. Soloff refined the process of insertion which up to that time had involved metal insertion with a probe contacting the metal insert. Mr. Soloff created a process whereby the same result was achieved by contacting and driving plastic against the metal insert. This prevented the surface of the horn or the insert from being subject to wear or stress.

Over the next 45 years, Mr. Soloff has remained at the vanguard of pioneering ultrasonic technology, and continues today to refine and develop more plastics assembly processes and equipment. In 1969, he founded Sonics & Materials, Inc., a leading manufacturer of equipment, tooling and systems for ultrasonic welding, vibration welding, spin welding, hot plate welding and heat staking of thermoplastics. He continues to serve as its president and CEO and in these capacities continues to advance the field of plastics assembly. He is a former director of the Ultrasonic Industry Association.

Mr. Soloff wrote the first article ever to appear on ultrasonic welding of rigid thermoplastic parts in Modern Plastics, March, 1964 entitled “New concepts in Ultrasonic Sealing.” He has since authored other articles over the years for a variety of different publications, including but not limited to the list below.

  • “Sonic Drying, Journal of the Acoustical Society of America,” May 1964.
  • “Nuevo Concepto en Ia Solodadurs de Plasticos,” Ingeneria (Spain), November 1964.
  • “Nouvelle Technique de Soudage par Ultra-sons,” Industrie des Plastiques “Modernes (France),” November 1964.
  • “Ultrasonic Sealing, Encyclopedia of Modern Plastics,” 1965.
  • “Ultrasonic Welding, Materiole Plastice ed Elastomers (Italy),” No. 8 1965
  • “Recent New Applications for High Power Ultrasonic Systems,” I.E.E.E. 1968 “International Convention,” March 1968.
  • “Ultrasonic Assembly, Society of Plastics Engineers,” October 1970.
  • “Ultrasonic Welding, Modern Plastics Encyclopedia,” 1975-76.
  • “Ultrasonic Assembly of Plastics and Metals, U.S. Trade Center, (Taiwan),” April 1978.
  • “Ultrasonic Assembly, Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc.” (1991).