The Use of Thermography for Tool Wear Monitoring
Developments in the field of thermal imaging have been rapid in the past few years. The current availability of commercial systems has enabled the application of thermal imaging techniques to be carried into a wide range of areas where non-contact temperature measurement is required. Sophisticated imaging cameras and their accompanying computers are very expensive and their use can only be justified to avoid the risk of high cost failures. However, inexpensive basic thermal infrared sensors are now coming on the market so that applications to lower cost failure prevention can be considered. Such an application is monitoring tool wear during production drilling operations by measuring the temperature of the drill swarf or chips that are ejected from the drill during drilling. As the tool wears, the temperature of the drill chips will increase as a greater amount of the kinetic energy of the drill is converted into heat. Experiments have shown that non-contacting thermal measurements can successfully monitor tool wear.
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