Copyright © Françoise Herrmann
Do you wear a Swatch®–a hip Swiss watch with legendary mechanical craftsmanship priced for everyone?
If you do, then you are probably also wearing a very light weight watch with a plastic casing that was manufactured using ultrasonic welding, a process that consists in assembling thermo-weldable parts using a tool for applying high-frequency vibrations.
However, ultrasonic welding of the plastic Swatch® casing is also famous for another reason! Indeed, it was ultrasonic welding, together with integrated production of the Swatch® that reduced both the number of watch parts (from 91 to 51) and costs, without sacrificing the famous mechanical precision of Swiss time pieces. In turn, this new high quality “plastic” watch is purported to have actually rescued the Swiss mechanical watch industry in the 1980s from competing quartz movement timepieces, flooding the market from Asia. A period of time during which the market share of mechanical Swiss watches dropped from 50% to 15%! (Swatch – History)
The assembly and fitting of the watch crystal to the casing of the Swatch® is subjected to ultrasonic welding. This invention is recited in:
- US4648722 (A) ― 1987-03-10 titled Plastic watch casing with plastic crystal and process for joining the crystal to the casing.
At the end of the day, however, the Swatch® and its ultrasonic welding process is one of many inventions competing at the EPO awards this year, since this invention falls in the life-time achievement category. Indeed it is the life-time achievements of the Swiss engineer Elmar Mock, co-founder of the Swatch® (in the 1980s), and subsequently, founder of the professional inventors company called Creaholic, that are being celebrated.
The life-time achievements of this Swiss engineer include 100s of patented inventions ranging from more diversified ultrasonic welding inventions, such as bone and joint ultrasonic welding in the medical sciences and ultrasonic welding of wood for carpentry applications, to water-saving hand washing stations, and food delivery systems for Nestlé, the Swiss multinational food company. The following are a few sample patents reciting these additional ground-breaking inventions:
- EP2358311 (B1) titled Fusion device and tool set for fusing a human or animal joint
- US2016317141 (A1) titled Method and device for fixating a suture anchor with a suture in hard tissue
- WO2017015769 (A1) titled - Method for joining a device to an object with the aid of ultrasonic vibration energy and device and installation suitable for the method
- EP2017221 (A1) titled Device for dispensing a liquid
- EP1768925 (B1) titled System and device for preparing and delivering food products from a mixture made up of a food liquid and a diluent!
- EP1954893 (B1) titled Washing device
Below, the EPO video spotlighting Elmar Mock's favorite inventions, and his tribe at Creaholic.
Creaholic – Professional inventors