Optimising Turbo-Spindle Efficiency for Machining .. (OpTEMUS)
Optimising Turbo-Spindle Efficiency for Machining at Ultra-High Speed
Start date: May 1, 2014,
End date: Apr 30, 2017
There is a growing demand for ultra-high speed precision machine tool spindles to create complex miniature devices in a variety of materials, in consumer markets such as medical devices, electronics and communications. Air turbine spindles are a key enabling technology for micro-scale mechanical machining due to their high speed, high power-to-weight and volume ratios, low friction, low vibration and low thermal deformation characteristics. However, a major drawback of pneumatic technology is its low energy efficiency. Nonetheless, to date there has been little analysis of the energy usage and life cycle costs of turbine spindles. A holistic life cycle assessment for turbo-spindles is therefore proposed and would provide a baseline on the competitive position of the technology. Additionally, the efficiency of current turbo-spindle technology is considerably less than that achieved in established turbomachinery applications e.g. turbochargers. Therefore in order to significantly improve the energy efficiency of turbo-spindles for machine tools, two principle methods are proposed: 1. Turbine design optimisation, based on a combination of state of art one and three dimensional modelling approaches. 2. The recovery of refrigerated exhaust air from the motor to cool machine sub-systems or for chip removal/cooling in near-dry machining applications. To facilitate the development of turbo-spindle technology, the proposed IOF brings together a multi-disciplinary team of turbomachinery and machine tool experts from Queens University Belfast and University of California, Davis. Both advanced production technology and energy efficiency are priority research areas for the EU for reasons of economic and environmental sustainability. The project aims to contribute to an enhanced and world leading manufacturing expertise and capability in EU. In particular, the expertise developed during the project will help the Fellow to become a recognised research leader in the field.
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