A tool monitoring system is an integrated system designed for monitoring tool conditions in various machines and applications. These systems are utilized for checking for broken/missing tools, object position and free space. These tool monitoring systems are commonly used for CNC machines and automated production processes. There are several tool monitoring systems in the market. Although they all serve the same purpose, they are not made the same. Techna-Tool provides one of the most popular tools and process monitoring systems – BK Mikro. The design of this system is one of the key reasons for its popularity. This post discusses the design of this tool monitoring system.
An Overview of BK Mikro– A Tool and Process Monitoring System
BK Mikro features scanners (servo motors) and controllers, which can be used for missing tool detection, tool path identification, and more. This tool can be used for position recognition, object inspection, and identifying part defects. It is a flexible unit, since it easily learns the position of the object being monitored, BK Mikro can be termed as a smart tool monitoring system.
The components and the physical design of this system make it perfect for tool monitoring purposes. Therefore, let us discuss the components and design of the BK Mikro.
Design Layout of BK Mikro- Process and Tool Monitoring System
The physical structure of the BK Mikro tool monitoring system consists of four fundamental components – scanner, control unit, connection cable, and mounting bracket. These 4 fundamental components are integrated together to structure the tool monitoring system.
Let us discuss each component of the BK Mikro tool monitoring system to understand the function of each element.
- Control Unit:
The control unit is the brains of the system. The control unit stores the position of the object position from the scanner. The controller compares the position of subsequent checks to verify the object is in the correct position. If the object or area is not correct the control unit sends a signal to the machine to control to stop the process or possibly call a redundant tool if the machine is capable. There are 2 main versions of control units available in BK Mikro, the basic and the premium.
- The basic version is the low-cost version and it supports only one function or right/left checking.
- The premium version is designed to monitor over 512 objects or functions.
- The Profibus, DeviceNet and PROFINET versions use those fieldbus protocols to communicate back with the CNC and allow for an unlimited number of tool positions.
The scanner is the main component of this tool monitoring system. The scanner can be probe or wand-type which is held in the mounting bracket. The scanner can perform single or bi-directional scanning. This helps in checking for tool defects, deflections, misalignments, etc. The scanner can check for differences as small as 0.002” depending on wand length.
The premium offers 4 variants; digital IO, Profibus, DeviceNet and PROFINET
- Connection Cable:
The connection cable goes from the control unit to the scanner motor. The cable is available in various lengths from 0.5m to 15 meter depending on the requirements of the application. They also come in straight or right angle connections.
- Mounting Bracket:
A split clamp bracket is supplied with the system to hold the scanner. Normally the customer or one of Techna-Tools installation technicians will fabricate a custom bracket that puts the scanner into the correct position in the machine for checking.
Now that the components of the BK Mikro tool monitoring system are clear, you can get your system from Techna-Tool. If you have application questions, we have an experienced staff to help pick the correct system for the application. We also offer another tool monitoring system called Techna-Check which uses load on the spindle motor for detecting broken, missing or dull tooling.
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