Apple and Liquidmetal continue to develop new technology for amorphous metals injection molding.
Late last year, Apple and Crucible Intellectual Property filed for a patent for the application of ultrasonic vibrations to molten Liquidmetal during injection molding or die casting operations. The ultrasonic vibrations are applied during plunger tip movement so that the molten material vibrates ultrasonically during melting and injection. Channels may be provided in the plunger tip for use of a cooling fluid during melting and injection.
The technology appears to be a way to increase the heat of the molten metal alloy so that it could flow more easily into long, thin (and tiny) channels that would be required for miniaturized electronic device components in iPhones, iPads or the Apple Watch.
Crucible Intellectual Property (CIP) was created in 2010 as part of a license agreement between Apple and Liquidmetal to receive substantially all of the intellectual property assets for the amorphous metals technology originally developed at CalTech. CIP granted to Apple a perpetual, worldwide, fully-paid, exclusive license to commercialize Liquidmetal in the field of consumer electronic products.
Inventors of the new vibration meting approach are Glenton Jelbert, VP Engineering at Liquidmetal Technologies; Theodore Waniuk, Product Design Engineer at Apple; Stephanie O’Keeffe, R&D Engineer at Liquidmetal Technologies; Sean O’Keeffe, Solutions Engineer at Liquidmetal Technologies; and Adam Verreault, Mechanical Engineer at Liquidmetal Technologies.