Coupled with this development, Kistler, working closely with Horn, has produced a novel system for the real-time monitoring of tools used in micro-turning applications. The Piezo Tool System (PTS) consists of a force sensor inserted into the turning tool holder that provides information on the condition of the tool during cutting.

The small piezoelectric sensor, which can be replaced easily and quickly, can measure even the slightest of cutting forces to a high resolution. A machine operator is immediately able to identify a defect in the material being cut or a tool breakage.

In micro-turning applications, alternative measuring systems are not practical. Monitoring the drive power of the spindle motor is not able to detect tiny variations, while measuring acoustic emissions does not deliver satisfactory results consistently when small workpieces are being machined. Visual monitoring also has to be ruled out, as coolant together with the high rotational speeds would obscure the view of the machining process.

The PTS solution is compatible with selected standard turning tool holders from Horn, does not require any adjustment at the control, and can be used on any lathe.