Novel control approaches for the next generation computer numerical control (CNC) system for hybrid micro-machines

  • Wenbin Zhong

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


It is well-recognised that micro-machining is a key enabling technology for manufacturing high value-added 3D micro-products, such as optics, moulds/dies and biomedical implants etc. These products are usually made of a wide range of engineering materials and possess complex freeform surfaces with tight tolerance on form accuracy and surface finish.In recent years, hybrid micro-machining technology has been developed to integrate several machining processes on one platform to tackle the manufacturing challenges for the aforementioned micro-products. However, the complexity of system integration and ever increasing demand for further enhanced productivity impose great challenges on current CNC systems. This thesis develops, implements and evaluates three novel control approaches to overcome the identified three major challenges, i.e. system integration, parametric interpolation and toolpath smoothing. These new control approaches provide solid foundation for the development of next generation CNC system for hybrid micro-machines.There is a growing trend for hybrid micro-machines to integrate more functional modules. Machine developers tend to choose modules from different vendors to satisfy the performance and cost requirements. However, those modules often possess proprietary hardware and software interfaces and the lack of plug-and-play solutions lead to tremendous difficulty in system integration. This thesis proposes a novel three-layer control architecture with component-based approach for system integration. The interaction of hardware is encapsulated into software components, while the data flow among different components is standardised. This approach therefore can significantly enhance the system flexibility. It has been successfully verified through the integration of a six-axis hybrid micro-machine. Parametric curves have been proven to be the optimal toolpath representation method for machining 3D micro-products with freeform surfaces, as they can eliminate the high-frequency fluctuation of feedrate and acceleration caused by the discontinuity in the first derivatives along linear or circular segmented toolpath. The interpolation for parametric curves is essentially an optimization problem, which is extremely difficult to get the time-optimal solution. This thesis develops a novel real-time interpolator for parametric curves (RTIPC), which provides a near time-optimal solution. It limits the machine dynamics (axial velocities, axial accelerations and jerk) and contour error through feedrate lookahead and acceleration lookahead operations. Experiments show that the RTIPC can simplify the coding significantly, and achieve up to ten times productivity than the industry standard linear interpolator. Furthermore, it is as efficient as the state-of-the-art Position-Velocity-Time (PVT) interpolator, while achieving much smoother motion profiles.Despite the fact that parametric curves have huge advantage in toolpath continuity, linear segmented toolpath is still dominantly used on the factory floor due to its straightforward coding and excellent compatibility with various CNC systems. This thesis presents a new real-time global toolpath smoothing algorithm, which bridges the gap in toolpath representation for CNC systems. This approach uses a cubic B-spline to approximate a sequence of linear segments. The approximation deviation is controlled by inserting and moving new control points on the control polygon. Experiments show that the proposed approach can increase the productivity by more than three times than the standard toolpath traversing algorithm, and 40% than the state-of-the-art corner blending algorithm, while achieving excellent surface finish.Finally, some further improvements for CNC systems, such as adaptive cutting force control and on-line machining parameters adjustment with metrology, are discussed in the future work section.
Date of Award19 Jul 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SponsorsUniversity of Strathclyde
SupervisorXichun Luo (Supervisor) & Yi Qin (Supervisor)

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