Clough, David A, Fletcher, Simon, Longstaff, Andrew P. and Willoughby, Peter (2012) Thermal Analysis for Condition Monitoring of Machine Tool Spindles. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 364 (364). ISSN 1742-6596
Abstract

Decreasing tolerances on parts manufactured, or inspected, on machine tools increases the requirement to have a greater understanding of machine tool capabilities, error sources and factors affecting asset availability. Continuous usage of a machine tool during production processes causes heat generation typically at the moving elements, resulting in distortion of the machine structure. These effects, known as thermal errors, can contribute a significant percentage of the total error in a machine tool. There are a number of design solutions available to the machine tool builder to reduce thermal error including, liquid cooling systems, low thermal expansion materials and symmetric machine tool structures. However, these can only reduce the error not eliminate it altogether. It is therefore advisable, particularly in the production of high value parts, for manufacturers to obtain a thermal profile of their machine, to ensure it is capable of producing in tolerance parts. This paper considers factors affecting practical implementation of condition monitoring of the thermal errors. In particular is the requirement to find links between temperature, which is easily measureable during production and the errors which are not. To this end, various methods of testing including the advantages of thermal images are shown. Results are presented from machines in typical manufacturing environments, which also highlight the value of condition monitoring using thermal analysis.

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