An innovative approach to monitoring tool wear and detecting tool breakage has been introduced by Kyocera Industrial Ceramics (Mountain Home, North Carolina), maker of Ceratip Cutting Tools. Called Sensor Tool, the system revolves around a method of installing electronic centers right on the cutting of an indexable insert. These sensors indicate electrical resistance, which changes as the cutting edges wear or if the insert cracks.
The outstanding feature of this development is how close the sensors are to the cutting tool/workpiece interface. They couldn’t get any closer to the action.
According to its developers, the Sensor Tool predicts tool failure caused by cracks, chips and unusual wear with a high degree of accuracy before insert breakage. When insert breakage does occur, a signal is immediately sent to the machine’s control to stop and retract from the workpiece. This response reduces chances that the workpiece or machine will be damaged.
Likewise, the system helps improve productivity. Automatic tool change settings can be adjusted based on actual performance of the insert in real time. Early results indicate that shops can increase speeds and feeds without substantially increasing the risk of damage to the workpiece or the machine tool.