Laser Tool Monitoring System helps eliminate scrap.

Press Release Summary:

LaserControl in-process tool management system monitors tools in real-time from within machining environment and certifies that correct tool is intact within specified toolholder. It also verifies length, diameter, roundness, and runout with repeatability of better than 1 micron. Product allows real tool length and flight circle deviation, as well as thermal drift of machine CNC axis and tool, to be determined and compensation automatically programmed into CNC control.

Original Press Release:

Slash Scrap with Laser Tool Monitoring

FORT MITCHELL, KY - Fact: More than 40 percent of scrapped parts are the result of the wrong tool being in the toolholder. Short of manually verifying all tools, how do you cut into profit-draining scrap production? Blum LaserControl in-process tool management systems help eliminate scrap by monitoring tools in real time, from within the machining environment.

The LaserControl certifies that the correct tool is in the specified toolholder, that it is not broken and verifies length, diameter, roundness and runout. Tool wear can be detected with an extremely accurate form control cycle, which compensates for a worn tool or change in a spare tool from the tool magazine. The system operates as part of the machining cycle and does not involve setup time, downtime or require the spindle to stop for tool measurement. Delicate or small tools can be measured without reducing their life through contact. Repeatability is better than 1 micron. Installed in a CNC machining center, precision of a few microns in measuring and tool setting is common.

The LaserControl functions completely within the machining environment of the machining center. Which is crucial, as the centerline and length positions of a tool at zero rpm are entirely different from the centerline length and position at working speed. Displacement in the range of five to ten microns is not unusual when exceeding 15,000 rpm. The LaserControl allows real tool length and flight circle deviation, as well as thermal drift of the machine CNC axis and tool, to be determined and compensation automatically programmed into the CNC control. The result is extremely high accuracy in real-time tool monitoring.

Paul Meinhardt, Blum general manager, says, "Our system is designed to prevent things going wrong, not to detect them once they have. We aim to prevent scrap and all the lost time associated with it."

Measuring cycle routines include the length of concentric tools, such as twist drills, starting from 0.05 mm diameter, tap drills, engraving needles and reamers; acentric tools, such as endmills, facemills, milling cutters of unknown length and diameter; and single cutting edge monitoring at the rounded edges of ball nose cutters with cylindrical or conical shafts. Software measuring routines have been developed for Siemens, Fanuc, Heidenhain, Num, Fadal, Boston Digital, Okunta, Haas and other controls. The LaserControl can be easily retrofitted to vertical and horizontal machining centers, including today's ultra high-speed models.

Blum LMT, Inc., is a global leader in laser measurement technology, with more than 30 years experience and more than 20,000 installations world-wide, including General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, Boeing, General Electric, Bosch and most machine tool builders.

For more information, contact Blum LMT, Inc.; 250 Grandview Dr., Suite 10; Ft. Mitchell, KY 41017. Tel: 859/344-6789. Fax: 859/344-6799. E-mail:

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