Mian, Naeem S., Fletcher, Simon, Longstaff, Andrew P. and Myers, Alan (2012) An efficient offline method for determining the thermally sensitive points of a machine tool structure. In: 37th International Matador Conference, 25th-27th July 2012, Manchester, England.

Whether from internal sources or arising from environmental sources, thermal error in most machine tools is inexorable. Out of several thermal error control methods, electronic compensation can be an easy-to-implement and cost effective solution. However, analytically locating the optimal thermally sensitive points within the machine structure for compensation has been a challenging task. This is especially true when complex structural deformations arising from the heat generated internally as well as long term environmental temperature fluctuations can only be controlled with a limited number of temperature inputs. This paper presents some case study results confirming the sensitivity to sensor location and a new efficient offline method for determining localized thermally sensitive points within the machine structure using finite element method (FEA) and Matlab software. Compared to the empirical and complex analytical methods, this software based method allows efficient and rapid optimization for detecting the most effective location(s) including practicality of installation. These sensitive points will contribute to the development and enhancement of new and existing thermal error compensation models respectively by updating them with the location information. The method is shown to provide significant benefits in the correlation of a simple thermal control model and comments are made on the efficiency with which this method could be practically applied.

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