Catalogue of Artificial Intelligence Techniques
Numerically-controlled Machine Tools
Author(s): W.F. Clocksin
A machine tool is a power-driven machine for cutting, grinding, drilling, or otherwise shaping a metal workpiece. A numerically-controlled (NC) machine tool is a system in which actions are controlled by numerical data given by a program. The program can position a tool point in three dimensions relative to a workpiece, and can control other functions such as speed, coolant flow, and selection of tools. Most NC tools can be programmed in the APT language with FORTRAN subroutines. The capability to perform 3D geometrical calculations makes it possible to sculpt arbitrarily complicated shapes. Sensory Feedback is used to report differences between actual and desired tool movements, and between actual and desired workpiece dimensions to cause the NC tool to correct or minimise the error. This can automatically compensate for tool wear and detect tool breakage. Robot manipulators can be used to feed blank workpieces and to remove finished ones.
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, Ellis Horwood, Chichester, 1979.