A new generation of high-precision, low-cost sensors for future smart cutting tools are in development under a new research project. The project aims to create low-cost, nano-scale resolution sensors for high-value aerospace products’ machining operations; to increase precision, lower costs, and prevent manufacturing errors.
New cutting-specific sensing technology is needed to achieve greater accuracy and deal with new manufacturing challenges, particularly aerospace and automotive. Currently, early replacement of cutting tools accounts for 4% of aerospace manufacturing costs, despite only 50-80% effective utilization. With a global market size of over $34bn, this wastage represents a massive opportunity for savings and improving the sustainability of machining.
The idea of sensors in cutting tools is not new, but these sensor-embedded tools lack the sophisticated data analysis and decision-making capability they genuinely require. They rely on technologies not tailored for cutting and not integrated into the machining control system.