Extended cutting tool lifetime in turning processes with Piezo Tool System from Kistler

Winterthur, August 2019 – The Piezo Tool System (PTS) is an innovative solution to monitor tools used in micro-turning processes. PTS measures the cutting force in real time to provide information about the cutting tool’s life expectancy. The benefits: production processes become more efficient, so costs and resources are saved.

The Kistler Group has collaborated closely with Paul Horn GmbH to develop the world’s only real-time solution for monitoring tools used in micro-turning processes. The Piezo Tool System consists of a piezo force sensor and analytical software. It measures the cutting force and tool load while the machine is in operation. Data obtained from the system supplies information about the life expectancy of the tool and/or the cutting inserts. PTS identifies defective cutting materials or tool breakages immediately – so scrap is reduced to the minimum.

The Piezo Tool System includes a piezo sensor that measures the cutting force near the cutting edge.
The Piezo Tool System includes a piezo sensor that measures the cutting force near the cutting edge.

Applications in the micromachining range

This new solution is ideal for use in micro-turning processes. Because the deviations in this range are minimal, little can be gained from alternative measurement methods such as monitoring the drive power of the main spindle motor. Likewise, measurement of structure-borne sound cannot be used because it does not deliver constant results with small workpieces. And visual observation also has to be ruled out due to the use of cooling lubricants and the high rotation speeds during the machining process.

Boosting efficiency

Tool monitoring with PTS involves continuous recording of the cutting forces. This data is then evaluated to give customers a trend analysis of the cutting tool’s life expectancy. Thanks to PTS, tool lifetimes can be extended and production efficiency is boosted. Another benefit: machines no longer have to be permanently monitored, so partially unmanned production becomes possible.

“Our tests have shown that in most cases, it’s only the critical tool in a manufacturing process that needs to be equipped with PTS,” according to Gunnar Keitzel, Head of the Cutting Force Business Field at Kistler. “This results in vastly increased tool lifetimes – but that’s not all. Personnel can also be deployed more efficiently. One single employee has an overview of all the processes, so he or she can supervise several machines at the same time.”

The new solution is compatible with standard turning tool holders from Horn. PTS does not require an intervention in the CNC control, so use of the system is not machine-dependent. Thanks to all these features, the Piezo Tool System delivers dual benefits: lower manufacturing costs and increased production capacity.

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