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In-process tool monitoring systems can electronically detect excessive tool wear or warn of impending tool failure to lessen machine downtime and prevent the production of out-of-tolerance parts. This article discusses the sensing technology available for manufacturing applications, as wells as the advantages and disadvantages of this technology. It describes the roles of the three basic elements to any modern sensing system: sensing source, signal amplifier, and microprocessor or translator. The article reviews two case studies from two different ends of the metal removal spectrum, broaching and drilling, to emphasize the cost effectiveness of using a tool condition monitoring system.

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