In automatic metalworking systems, in-process tool-life monitoring and quality control of the parts produced play a crucial role. This paper is on the architecture and performance of an opto-electronic sensor designed for automatic tool-wear monitoring in Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) lathe applications. Tool wear is sensed by detecting the wear land image, which is captured by an analogic camera, digitized and processed using a computer system. The computer system, linked to the lathe control module, implements a real-time procedure supporting an optimal tool replacement strategy.

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