Rainhouse Manufacturing Canada on the ToolSense Project
Rainhouse Manufacturing Canada’s contribution to the ToolSense project will be to use a vibration sensor to identify any unfavorable frequencies that may occur during the machining process as well as provide an electronic hardware platform powerful enough to run sophisticated applications that will interpret the data in a useful way to the user. The vibration sensor will have the capability to effectively measure those frequencies which could be harmful to CNC machines, transmitting the data to the electronic hardware platform.
The electronic hardware platforms will be fast, with the capability to provide large amounts of data feedback to user programs, while also staying compact. The platforms will be scaled down so that they can be offered on multiple different CNC machines.
Important to Rainhouse Manufacturing Canada’s work is determining which elements of the smart tool solution need to be located on the tool and which elements can be located on the platform. Each type of machine will have its own specifications, and it is vitally important to ensure that the smart technology hardware does not detract from the precision or accuracy of machining tools or platforms.
Sensor and electronic hardware elements that need to be placed on the tool must also be durable and environmentally robust to maintain operation in the harsh conditions that exist around tools in operation.
Once these challenges are overcome, the smart sensors will feed vital data back to applications that provide beneficial insights to many types of machining operations and scientific inquiries. Specifically, smart CNC machine data fed through these sensors will include quantitative thermal and mechanical information that will illuminate the processes of material cutting and shaping.
The NRC – Aerospace Manufacturing Technologies Center
The contribution of the NRC-AMTC research team in this project builds on the expertise and capabilities the team has developed over the last decade in smart and digital machining. Such contribution represents a novel solution for embedded on-tool sensing of machining loads, which enables non-intrusive yet close monitoring of the mechanics of complex phenomena taking place in the intricate cutting zone. An additional layer of cross-communication between the different types of integrated sensors is targeted to enable the compensation of sensor calibration in variable conditions and industrial environments. The NRC-AMTC contribution includes also the integration of a new capability for real-time prediction and prevention of sudden tool failure, before part or machine damage could take place. This is to be achieved through developing a novel high fidelity suite of advanced multi-sensor signal processing and fusion and AI-based algorithms that can identify the early signs of tool failure and generate an optimized corrective action to prevent damage, hence significantly reduce cost and cycle time corresponding to reduced scrap and waste volume and downtime and rework.
The Impact of Smart Tools and Data on the CNC Industry
Integrated data fed through sensors on CNC machines will open the CNC market to new commercial tools and applications that create a supportive infrastructure, enabling the creation of viable products for use in industry and academia.
For industry, the benefits of smart sensors are clear. Continuous data feedback will streamline machining operations to create improved process control, which will lead to costs savings, reduce waste, and minimize re-tooling.
Academia and scientific pursuits will be aided by this new technology with access to high-resolution time and position data that the sensors will provide. This could lead to significant scientific progress and advanced research and development capabilities for businesses.
Demonstrating and Testing the Solution
In addition to the development of the aforementioned ToolSense project modules, Rainhouse Manufacturing Canada and the NRC-AMTC will jointly lead the final commissioning, testing and demonstration phase of the Tool Sense Smart tool solution. The NRC-AMTC team will navigate the transfer of the smart tool technology from the lab environment to implementation in the industrial environment. Rainhouse Manufacturing Canada will provide the production environment to test and demonstrate industrial gains of the smart tool solutions for actual full-scale machining aplications. Rainhouse plans to do this by using the finished technology to machine representative aerospace engine components in real industrial environments.
Once the ToolSense technology has been tested, Rainhouse Manufacturing Canada will use the results directly in its own machining and manufacturing operations. This will position Rainhouse with the capability to provide novel smart tool products as a unique addition to their product range.
The Exciting Efficacy of the ToolSense Project
Overall, the success of the ToolSense project will demonstrate that knowledge from nano-sized semiconductor device manufacturing can actually be implemented in such a large and significant area as the tooling and metal processing industries.
The ToolSense project will not just research a proof of concept technology for future development into machining and manufacturing processes. Instead, Rainhouse Manufacturing Canada will actually deliver concrete novel sensors and tools to the market, from idea to production, at the conclusion of the ToolSense project.