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Tool Monitoring Adaptive Control

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In-Process Measuring Technology

Home » News » Signature Analysis Tool Monitoring on CNC Machines

Signature Analysis Tool Monitoring on CNC Machines

Apr 25, 2024

Caron Engineering has a new signature analysis feature for CNC machining to accurately monitor the cutting forces experienced by the tooling through the exact path of a cut. This newly developed tool monitoring on CNC machines feature has been added to their product line in the TMAC (adaptive tool monitoring system) and DTect-IT (CNC sensor analysis system) products. Signature analysis is exceptionally important for improving the reliability and efficiency of certain CNC cutting processes. For instance, constant surface speed-cutting operations have been historically difficult to monitor due to the varying spindle RPM as material is removed. Adding the newly developed signature analysis tool monitoring on CNC machines makes monitoring for constant speed-cutting projects easier than ever.


The addition of signature analysis tool monitoring on CNC machines allows for easier observation of constant surface speed cuts. Attempts to properly monitor constant surface speed cuts without this supplemental technology have proven to be incredibly difficult and can produce unreliable results. 


By implementing signature analysis tool monitoring on CNC machines companies can expect several benefits including simplified programming, consistent results on workpiece finishes, optimized or prolonged tool life, and efficiently managed machining time that results in higher throughput for operators.


Signature analysis tool monitoring on CNC machines provides enhanced observation of cutting processes where the material diameter changes consistently during a cut. The RPM varies as the material increases or decreases causing sensor fluctuations unrelated to the tooling. To better monitor these cutting operations, the signature analysis software learns the entire path, or signature, of the cut by utilizing an array of sensor types. The user will then define the necessary boundaries around this signature, both above and below. These boundaries comprise a window that the signature must stay within to qualify as a good cut. If any portion of the signature of a monitored tool extends beyond the upper or lower boundary, then an alarm is generated. As this is a time-based analysis, a consistent start time that directly corresponds to the cutting start time is crucial to success.


In manufacturing, this applies to such constant surface speed cutting as facing and turning operations on a CNC lathe, where the RPM is being adjusted automatically to maintain a proper chip load as the material thickness increases or diminishes. For example, as the lathe starts cutting at the original diameter of the part and it removes material, the diameter is consistently decreasing. Those RPM changes cause a spike in power which is difficult to monitor with typical tool monitoring. By integrating tool monitoring on CNC machines that learn the cut signature and set appropriate boundaries around the learned signature, these cuts can be accurately monitored to ensure optimal surface finish. 


“Signature analysis is not strictly used for constant surface cutting but can be applied to other areas of machine tool monitoring as well. There are situations when a customer wants to know when the material is missing during a cut. With the other technologies, we only know if this occurs early in the cut. Using signature analysis, we can determine missing material anywhere in the cut,” said Rob Caron (PE), President of Caron Engineering.


Learn More about Signature Analysis for TMAC