Automated surface finish measurement with a CobotElement Six

Increased productivity with reduced tool costs by means of a collaborative measuring system

The knowledge of wear types and wear behavior has enabled Element Six, an expert in high-performance materials, to deliver a step change in performance with a new PCBN cutting material. One decisive factor during the testing stage was the implementation of automated test series. This and the ability to measure tool and workpiece directly in the lathe has made a significant contribution to "achieving the performance increase we have set ourselves as our goal," Element Six says.

Wayne Leahy
Head of Applications for Cutting and Grinding

We purchased the Bruker Alicona Cobot to gather a large number of data points on wear behavior. This in turn has helped us to deliver the step change in performance we were looking for.

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Implementation of automated test series 

Machining speeds of 300 m/min, predictable wear behavior and up to 50% longer tool life in hardened steel machining are the advantages that Element Six assures its customers from the automotive, aerospace and mechanical engineering industries with the latest generation of PCBN. PureCutTM is designed to provide complete control over the PCBN manufacturing process, resulting in significant productivity gains and reduced tooling costs. One of the variables that contributed to the development of the new material was the use of high-precision, automated Bruker Alicona measurement technology. The specialist in high-performance materials in the UK uses Bruker Alicona measuring systems for the analysis of various types of tool wear and wear behavior during different machining conditions. One decisive factor in the test phase for the new cutting material was the implementation of automated test series, which Element Six implemented with the collaborative measuring system CompactCobot. Tool and workpiece surface finish are measured fully automatically directly in the lathe.


Wear measurement in high measuring point density

In the development of the new PCBN generation, the focus was on the measurement of flank, crater and notch wear. The ability to automate test series has helped to make the development process as efficient as possible and ready for production. "Our productivity in the testing of cutting tools is limited by our information gathering process, primarily regular measurement of cutting tool wear”, says Dr. Wayne Leahy, Head of Applications for Cutting and Grinding. He continues: "We purchased the Bruker Alicona Cobot system so that we could start to automate the cutting process. Gathering a large number of data points on wear behavior under different machining conditions was instrumental in helping us to optimize the new technology. This in turn helped us to deliver the step change in performance we were looking for.”

How Element Six succeeds with Bruker Alicona solution

Cobot series 

Optical measuring sensor & collaborative robot

  • Verification of surface quality & dimensional accuracy of small features on large components in existing production environments
  • Easy teach-in of measurement series: no prior knowledge of metrology necessary
  • High mobility & flexibility: Measurement of components directly in the machine tool

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