Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines are designed for long-term performance and repeatability, and they have ushered a new era of manufacturing. Although these machines are designed for perfection, at times they may not work as expected due to broken tools or inaccurate tool settings. How to avoid this situation? The answer lies in various tool setting and breakage tool detection technologies. This post offers you insights on these technologies, their importance, and their types.
Tool Setting and Tool Breakage Technologies: Why They Are Popular
Although these terms have different meanings, they work together to ensure an error-free process and help manufacturers optimize their profits from manufacturing. Let’s look at these terms individually.
- Tool Setting: This term relates to geometric and position-related information of cutting tools. This means these tools enable you to understand the geometric information such as radius, length, and diameter of a cutting tool, as well as detecting the deviation in tool position, its linear and radial profile, and the condition of tool’s cutting edge. Gaining an understanding of the tool position and its geometry allows manufacturers to improve their manufacturing process and ensure that the right tool is being used.
- Tool Breakage: CNC Machining may involve tools of various sizes. The small tools may break during regular machining cycles. Tool breakage technologies enable manufacturers to detect broken tools and rectify any mistakes that may have occurred due to broken tools. The broken tool detection indicates that components being machined are incorrect or have a missing feature. The broken tool system is normally connected to an alarm to indicate the presence of a broken tool which also stops the machining cycle. Both these technologies offer several benefits such as:
- Improved accuracy
- Minimal operator intervention
- Minimal scrap
- Reduced cost
- Reduced reworks
- Improved cycle times
- Reduced costs
- Improved time-to-market capabilities
A Focus on Different Types of Breakage Tool Detection and Tool Setting Technologies
Broken tool detection and tool setting technologies are distinguished on the basis of their construction and underlying technologies. The following are four popular technologies:
- Wired Technologies: These systems are the simplest forms of breakage tool detection and tool devices. They are less expensive than wireless technologies, and do not require regular battery replacement or charging.
- Wireless Technologies: These systems are wireless and equipped with additional hardware and batteries, which need to be charged regularly.
- Contact Technologies: As the name suggests, contact tool setting and tool breakage detection systems use touch probes or a wand to locate the tool position or breakage. They may use fixed or moving probes to contact the tool. Contact probes are considered ideal for harsh environments where optical or lasers fail.
- Non-Contact Technologies: Laser beam and power/vibration analysis are two prominent non-contact technologies in use today. Acoustic emission sensors and spindle load monitoring are two examples of non-contact technologies. Spindle load is a reliable way to baseline the tools power cutting requirements and compare subsequent tool signatures to the original to determine if a tool is broken, worn or missing.
With so many technologies to consider, choosing the right one may be a challenging task. However, gaining an understanding of your application and its requirements would make the selection process easier. Owing to their increasing importance, it is easy to find several products for each of these technologies discussed above. TECHNA-CHECK® and BK Mikro are two prominent Broken Tool Detection systems provided by Techna-Tool. Of these, TECHNA-CHECK® Tool Monitoring Systems utilize vibration analysis or spindle power monitoring to detect broken, worn, and missing tools. BK Mikro is equipped with components such as scanner motor, wand, mounting bracket, and controller. This contact tool setting and broken tool detection system is suited for monitoring rotating and stationary tools. Both these systems are provided in different models to meet specific detection needs. They have been used for applications in medical, automotive, aerospace and other manufacturing industries. The experts at Techna-Tool can discuss your application specifics and recommend the system that would work best.