Improved machine tool linear axis calibration through continuous motion data capture

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Machine tool calibration is becoming recognised as an important part of the manufacturing process. The current international standards for machine tool linear axes calibration support the use of quasi-static calibration techniques. These techniques can be time consuming but more importantly a compromise in quality due to the practical restriction on the spatial resolution of target positions on the axis under test. Continuous motion calibration techniques have the potential to dramatically increase calibration quality. Through taking several measurement values per second while the axis under test is in motion, it is possible to measure in far greater detail. Furthermore, since machine tools normally operate in dynamic mode, the calibration data can be more representative if it is captured while the machine is in motion. The drawback to measuring the axis while in motion is the potential increase in measurement uncertainty. In the following paper, different methods of continuous motion calibration are discussed. A time-based continuous motion solution is proposed as well as a novel optimisation and correlation algorithm to accurately fuse the data taken from quasi-static and continuous motion measurements. The measurement method allows for minimal quasi-static measurements to be taken while using a continuous motion measurement to enhance the calibration process with virtually no additional time constraints. The proposed method does not require any additional machine interfacing, making it a more readily accessible solution for widespread machine tool use than other techniques which require hardware links to the CNC. The result of which means a shorter calibration routine and enhanced results. The quasi-static and continuous motion measurements showed correlation to within 1 μm at the quasi-static measurement targets. An error of 13 μm was detailed on the continuous motion, but was missed using the standard test. On a larger, less accurate machine, the quasi-static and continuous motion measurements were on average within 3 μm of each other however, showed a standard deviation of 4 μm which is less than 1% of the overall error. Finally, a high frequency cyclic error was detected in the continuous motion measurement but was missed in the quasi-static measurement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-260
Number of pages12
JournalPrecision Engineering
Early online date2 Sep 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


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