Machine tools are a key component in industrial production processes, as they provide an important contribution to the added value of manufactured products. They are based on mechanical structures conceived as a result of optimised designs in order to achieve the required performances for each one of the machining processes.
The relatively recent irruption of mechatronic concepts, which take advantage of the incorporation of active devices and certain degree of “intelligence” into the mechanical structures, allowed to break limits and provided increased performances to the basic mechanical structures and hence to machine tools.
CHAMELEON project proposes a new approach in the exploitation of active intelligent devices integrated into machine tools. The main idea is to equip a machine tool with a variety of active intelligent devices, which would be intelligently activated and parameterised in order to change the overall configuration and performances. This way, the machine would be rapidly configured to the different and even conflicting conditions or performances required for the target machining operation (i.e. roughing operation on hard steel, requiring a stiff machine versus high speed machining on aluminium, which requires a light, highly dynamic machine).
As result of this approach, a mechanical structure equipped with an assortment of mechatronic intelligent devices could be configured as a different machine depending on the selected gadgets, so that the resulting characteristics and performances of the machine could be adapted to those required by each particular machining operation, this is, a chameleon-like machine tool concept.
The main objective of CHAMELEON project is to conceive, develop and build up a new concept of machine tool so that it is completely configurable and adaptive, based in mechatronic devices, in order to cope with multiple and even opposed requirements of the machining operations. Consequently, the range of target machining operations covered by a single machine is dramatically increased.