Innovative Optical Monitoring System for Performance Assessment of Cutting Tools

Award Information
Department of Defense
Air Force
Award Year:
Phase II
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Physical Optics Corporation
Photonic Systems Division, 1845 W. 205th Street, Torrance, CA, -
Hubzone Owned:
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Paul Wilkinson
Research Scientist
(310) 320-3088
Business Contact:
Gordon Drew
Chief Financial Officer
(310) 320-3088
Research Institution:
ABSTRACT: To address the Air Force need for a system to monitor the state of wear of cutting tools in high performance fighter jet production, Physical Optics Corporation (POC) developed the Innovative Monitoring System for Performance Assessment of Cutting Tools (IMPACT) that has demonstrated the ability to detect the onset of cutting tool wear and the ensuing degradation of part quality. The performance of the system is made possible by two novel sensors that were developed and demonstrated by POC in the Phase I effort. Because tool life is known to vary from cutter to cutter, POC"s IMPACT has been designed to detect the onset of tool wear of each unique cutting tool, allowing the machinist to continue drilling so long as the cutter continues to make parts of acceptable quality. The fully developed IMPACT system, which POC plans to integrate into facilities at Lockheed Martin and Boeing, will be a robust, affordable system that will dramatically reduce the cost associated with variations in cutting tool life. BENEFIT: The IMPACT system will reduce the cost associated with variations in cutting tool life by identifying maximum acceptable tool wear in real time. First, the IMPACT reduces cutting tool waste by allowing the manufacturer to use the full extent of the life of each unique tool. Second, the IMPACT reduces the cost of reworking parts whose quality is unacceptable due to early onset of tool wear. Finally, the IMPACT enables the manufacturer to further reduce costs because the system makes iterative process optimization possible. This system will find application in commercial and military aerospace manufacturing, as well as in automotive and industrial infrastructure manufacturing, thereby reducing the costs associated with manufacturing in the United States. This cost offsetting technology will aid in keeping the United States competitive in a global manufacturing economy.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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