Design / Manufacturing Systems Laboratory
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Research activity focus is the integration of CAD/CAM software with factory floor CNC
machine tools and Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMMs).
This is accomplished by developing specialized solid modeller software,
machine tool monitoring and control devices and software,
and the joining communications links.
Particular emphasis is on integrating new inspection sensors with
Open Architecture CMM motion controllers.
Software has been developed for advanced tool path planning for dies and molds,
and for refurbishment of jet engine compressor blades.
CMM Motion Control software has been developed for industrial distribution.
Industry short courses are occasionally held to disseminate information to the
local manufacturing community.
As well, the research group presents at major conferences and in academic journals.
Projects underway or recently completed include solid modeller based machining simulation,
machine tool based touch trigger probe reverse engineering and 5-axis tool path generation,
and development of Direct Computer Control (DCC) CMM software, including a
Graphical User Interface (GUI) and data fitting mathematics integration.
Open Architecture CMM motion controller,
with ethernet capability,
is used to interface to a variety of CMM inspection sensors such as
trigger and analog touch probes,
and a non-contact laser digitizer.
Links to a selection of photos are included below.
For a more extensive selection of laboratory activity photos,
refer to the
- The solid modeller based machining project takes CL-DATA tool paths,
and graphically simulates the machining process to determine the tool immersion
with the part.
This immersion information is then used by a mathematical model of the
cutting process to predict forces and torques.
The results are used to provide reference monitoring data, or to schedule
optimal machining conditions.
The research has been extended to a parallel processor implementation.
Husky Injection Moulding Systems Inc. and the
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
(IRC in Precision Machining, Dr. M.A. Elbestawi) are the project sponsors.
- The reverse engineering project application is in refurbishing of jet engine
The blades are first built up by welding.
The blade surface is then measured with a touch trigger probe, and compared
to a nominal model.
A 5-axis machining program is then generated to machine away the excess
weld material to restore the original blade shape.
Liburdi Engineering Ltd.
and the Province of Ontario University Research Incentive Fund (URIF)
were the project sponsors.
CNC Blade Probing
CNC Blade Machining
- The CMM project has involved retrofitting a new DSP/Pentium computer based
control to a Coordinate Measuring Machine, and subsequent software development.
To date, a complete DOS based control software has been written, and this
is currently being ported to the Phar Lap Real-Time ETS kernel.
It is also being extended to include varying temperature geometric compensation.
A Windows Graphical User Interface version with DMIS capability has also been written.
The work is sponsored by
Omni-Tech CMM Services (Canada) Inc. and
Materials & Manufacturing Ontario.
OTC5000 Mark I CMM Motion Controller
OTC5000 Mark II CMM Motion Controller
- The Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) middleware is gaining in popularity
for industrial interfacing.
A current project involves implementation of the
DMIS Object Technology (DOT)
software on the Phar Lap ETS based CMM Motion Controller.
- Prediction in metal forming is a significant research area.
A 3D laser digitizing scanner is being interfaced with the CMM to scan formed parts,
calculate the surface strain from a deformed circle grid,
and plot Forming Limit Diagram (FLD) and coloured 3-D thickness strain images.
The results are compared with Finite Element Analysis predictions.
This is collaborative work with Dr. M. Sklad,
and is supported by
Hymarc 3-D Systems Ltd. and
Materials & Manufacturing Ontario.
Circle Grid Part
3-D Strain Plot
- The solid modeller based machining software will be extended to support
more tool shapes,
and to take greater advantage of parallel computer processing technology.
- The open CNC control capability will be extended to support
emerging research in minimal acceleration 5-axis motion control
for both machining and CMM sensor positioning.
- The CMM software will be further extended to support intelligent hand-held remote
and to be compliant with expected advances in the DMIS
(Dimensional Measuring Interface Standard) language.
- An environmentally controlled room is being constructed to house the CMMs so
that advanced study of thermal effects on inspection accuracy can be carried out.
Academic collaboration with
Dr. M.A. Elbestawi (Mechanical Engineering) is frequent.
Other regular academic collaboration is with
Dr. G. Bone (Mechanical Engineering),
Dr. D. Capson (Electrical and Computer Engineering),
Dr. M.P. Sklad (Mechanical Engineering).
Dr. Spence is an associate member of Computing and Software,
and is beginning collaborations with professors in that
A new project,
involving human heart muscle digitizing and analysis,
is beginning with
Dr. Kamran Behdinan (Ryerson Polytechnic University (Toronto, ON).
Specific projects involve collaboration with other faculty in Mechanical,
Electrical and Computer, and Software Engineering.