Sonnichsen founded Test Devices in 1972. He is an inventor and a recognized authority on spin-chamber testing. Sonnichsen graduated with high honors from Northeastern University in 1973. Many of Sonnichsen’s accomplishments have revolutionized spin-testing technology, as summarized below.
- Design of powerful spin-chamber turbines resulting in a doubling of the productivity of cyclic spin tests.
- Co-patented a rotor health monitoring system, used for detecting cracks in rotating equipment. It has been employed extensively in cyclic fatigue spin tests.
- Cyclic fatigue spin test facilities at Test Devices for measurement of aircraft engine disk life.
- Soft-mount, linear coefficient squeeze-film damped bearing systems for compressed air turbines. These dampers have improved the reliability of spin-test equipment, and countless high-value rotors, which encountered high vibration during spin testing, have been saved prior to failure.
- Invented technology for evaluating high cycle fatigue behavior of jet engine bladed assemblies using spin chambers. This system excites high frequency vibrations in turbine engine blades.
- Authored several articles on spin-test technology and spin-test safety. These articles include “Ensuring Spin Test Safety” (Mechanical Engineering, December 1993, Vol.115/No. 12).
- Patents include US 6,098,022 and US 6,456,945 for “Detecting Anomalies in Rotating Components.”