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Optical CMM Enables Improved Machining Research Delivering More Effective Production Technology

Professorship of micromanufacturing technology at Chemnitz University of Technology has put a new coordinate measuring machine into operation providing analysis of cutting tools for more efficient processing of high-strength materials and micromechanical components.

A large number of components are manufactured using cutting processes. These include drilling, turning and milling with applications ranging from micromechanical systems, such as those used in high-quality wristwatches, to components in vehicle and mechanical engineering, to large parts for generating wind energy.

Brucker Alicona optical µCMM

In order to research new applications in cutting processes, an optical coordinate measuring machine was procured and put into operation. This device is specially tailored for the analysis of cutting tools: “The production of essential frame assemblies from granite and the glass scales in the linear axes make a significant contribution to the required measurement accuracy,” explains Dr. Andreas Nestler, group leader for machining processes at the professorship for micromanufacturing technology (Head: Prof. Dr. Andreas Schubert) of the Technical University of Chemnitz. In conjunction with the measuring principle of focus variation and thus comparatively large working distances, the motorized rotating and swiveling unit also enables complex geometries to be recorded over the whole area. “This makes it much easier to set up the measurements and evaluate the cutting edge geometry,” says Michael Leibnitz, measurement technician at the Professorship of Micromanufacturing Technology. Further applications are the analysis of the surface structure, the determination of dimensional, shape and position deviations as well as the determination of the geometry of microstructures.

Device Enables New Applications

In connection with the high-quality production of functional surfaces under economic conditions, the geometry of the cutting edge is of outstanding importance in addition to the tool material. This can be sharp, chamfered or rounded, but it can also be more complex and have a waterfall or trumpet shape, for example. “The potential of targeted cutting edge modification is far from exhausted, especially when machining materials that are difficult to machine,” emphasizes Prof. Dr. Andrew Schubert. “Due to the specific mechanical and thermal properties, the production of components from lightweight materials such as fiber-reinforced plastics, aluminum matrix composites or titanium alloys requires cutting edges of the cutting tools that are adapted to the process. A core competence of the professorship is therefore the targeted, application-oriented design and research into technologies for modifying cutting edges, for which grinding, laser ablation and plasma-electrolytic treatment are used. This research and development work requires a high-precision geometric evaluation of the cutting edges with an accuracy down to the sub-micrometer range.”

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