‘Intelligent Tooling’ looks to take high value machining to the next level

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By adding embedded sensors into the cutting environment, it is hoped times and costs can be reduced, while higher resolutions can be achieved

A two year Innovate UK project titled ‘Intelligent Tooling’ is developing embedded sensors and electronic components within high value machining applications for the manufacturing sector.

Based in the UK, it will seek to develop a prototype tooling insert with embedded sensing capability, designed to withstand and exceed the harsh environmental conditions that are present in metal machining.

Further developmental focus will be to upscale the prototype to derive the data needed for commercial market adoption for sectors including defence, space, rail, automotive, marine and energy.
The sensing of critical process variables, such as temperature, force, acoustic emission and vibration, applied close to the cutting surface has the potential to create a step change, explains project partners The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI).

The ability to obtain data on the machining process at the time of cutting, at a lower cost and higher resolution than before allows these small changes to be diagnosed and managed within the process, leading to better tool utilisation and potential improved processing times.

Additionally, a reduction in cycle times, human intervention and process variation are all achievable through the introduction of embedded sensing.


CPI, BAE Systems, Element Six, The Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, Advanced Manufacturing Ltd, Printed Electronics Limited, The National Physical Laboratory and DMG Mori Seiki are all partnering on the project.

“Developments like this one are aiming to take machining on to the next level by getting to the heart of the cutting process and then being able to adapt the cutting parameters accordingly,” said Mark Wilson, principal technologist, advanced manufacturing at BAE Systems.

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