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1. (WO2006029180) HONING FEED SYSTEM HAVING FULL CONTROL OF FEED FORCE, RATE, AND POSITION AND METHOD OF THE SAME
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Claims

What is claimed is:

1. A method of honing a bore of a workpiece, comprising steps of :
providing a honing tool having at least one radially expandable honing element;
providing a feed system in connection with the honing tool, including a movable feed element
automatically controllably operable for applying a feed force against the honing tool for radially expanding the at least one honing element;
providing a control operable for automatically controlling operation of the feed system;
providing a device for determining information representative of a feed force applied against the honing tool by the feed element and outputting a signal representative thereof to the control;
providing a device for determining information representative of a position of the feed element and outputting a signal representative thereof to the control ;
automatically operating the feed system to apply at least two levels of feed force against the honing tool when in contact with a surface of the bore to be honed and determining information representative of positions of the feed element during the application of the feed forces, respectively; and
automatically computing a value approximating an elasticity of at least the honing tool as a function of a difference between the two levels of feed force and the information representative of the positions of the feed element during the application of the feed forces, and determining a value representative of a diameter of the bore during honing thereof as a function of the value representative of the elasticity, the information representative of the feed force, and the information representative of the position of the feed element.

2. The method of claim 1, comprising
additional steps of:
providing a value for an initial diameter of the bore; and
determining a value representative of an actual diameter of the bore during honing thereof as a function of the value representative of the elasticity, the information representative of the position of the feed element, the information representative of the feed force, and the value for the initial diameter.

3. The method of claim 1, comprising
additional steps of :
automatically operating the feed system to move the feed element to radially expand the at least one honing element unrestrained by a surface of a bore and determining information representative of a baseline feed force required for the expansion; and
automatically operating the feed system to move the feed element to radially expand the at least one honing element so as to contact the surface of the bore to cause a responsive increase in the feed force to a level greater than the baseline feed force serving as an indicator of the contact, and determining a value representative of the diameter of the bore as a function of a position of the feed element at a time of the contact .

4. The method of claim 3 , wherein the step of determining information representative of a baseline feed force required for the expansion comprises
determining a range of values for the feed force .

5. The method of claim 4, wherein the honing element comprises a radially expandable sleeve.

6. The method of claim 3, comprising
additional steps of:
automatically honing at least two bores to a predetermined enlarged diameter, including for each of the bores performing the step of operating the feed system to move the feed element to radially expand the at least one honing element so as to contact the surface of the bore, and determining a value representative of the diameter of the bore as a function of a position of the feed element at a time of the contact; and
determining a value representative of wear of the at least one honing element as a function of the values representative of the diameters of the bores at the contact and positions of the feed element when the bores are honed to the enlarged diameter.

7. The method of claim 6, comprising a further step of automatically calculating a cost of honing the bores at least in part as a function of the value representative of wear.

8. The method of claim 7, wherein the step of automatically calculating a cost of honing includes calculating the cost additionally as a function of a value representative of a cost of operating the honing machine for honing the bores .

9. The method of claim 7, wherein the step of automatically honing at least two bores comprises automatically selecting different honing parameters for honing the bores to the predetermined enlarged diameter, respectively, and honing the bores to the enlarged diameter using the different honing parameters, and the step of automatically calculating a cost of honing the bores includes calculating a cost for honing each of the two bores .

10. The method of claim 1, comprising a further step of honing the bore while moving the feed element at a substantially constant rate.

11. The method of claim 1, comprising a further step of honing the bore with the feed force at a substantially constant level.

12. The method of claim 1, comprising a further step of honing the bore with the feed force varying at levels following a predetermined profile.

13. The method of claim 1, wherein the device for determining information representative of a feed force applied against the honing tool by the feed element and outputting a signal representative thereof comprises a load cell disposed between the feed element and the honing tool .

14. The method of claim 1, wherein the device for determining information representative of a position of the feed element and outputting a signal
representative thereof comprises an encoder in
connection with the feed element.

15. The method of claim 1, comprising a further step of honing the bore with a feed rate which varies at levels following a predetermined profile.

16. The method of claim 1, comprising a further step of honing the bore with a feed rate which varies at levels following a profile which is determined at least in part as a function of the information representative of the feed force.

17. The method of claim 1, comprising a further step of honing the bore with a feed force which varies at levels following a profile which is determined at least in part as a function of the information representative of the feed rate.

18. The method of claim 1, further comprising a step of providing a device automatically operable for monitoring the information representative of a feed force and ceasing honing if the feed force during honing reaches a predetermined level .

19. The method of claim 1, comprising a further step of honing the bore while monitoring and maintaining a substantially constant load on a spindle holding and rotating the honing tool.

20. The method of claim 1, comprising a further step of honing the bore while monitoring and maintaining a load on a spindle which varies according to a predetermined profile.

21. The method of claim 1, wherein the signals outputted to the control representative of the information representative of a feed force applied against the honing tool by the feed element are
conditioned as a function of a magnitude thereof.

22. A system for automatically honing a bore of a workpiece to a target diameter, comprising:
a honing tool having at least one radially expandable honing element;
a feed system in connection with the honing tool, including a movable feed element automatically controllably operable for applying a feed force against the honing tool for radially expanding the at least one honing element;
a control operable for automatically
controlling operation of the feed system;
a device for determining information
representative of a feed force applied against the honing tool by the feed element and outputting a signal representative thereof to the control;
a device for determining information
representative of a position of the feed element and outputting a signal representative thereof to the control;
the control being automatically operable to control the feed system to apply feed forces against the honing tool when in a restrained state and computing at least one value representative of elasticity of at least the honing tool and the feed system as a function of the applied feed forces and information representative of positions of the feed element during the application of the feed forces, and the control being automatically operable for computing at least one target value for the position of the feed element for honing the bore to the target diameter as a function of the at least one value representative of elasticity of at least the honing tool, the information representative of the feed force, the information representative of the position of the feed element, and a value representative of an initial diameter of the bore .

23. The system of claim 22, wherein the value representative of the initial diameter of the bore is an inputted value .

24. The system of claim 22, wherein the control is automatically operable to control the feed system to apply a feed force against the honing tool when in the bore to expand the honing element so as to be brought into contact with a surface of the bore to cause a responsive increase in a value of the feed force indicating the contact, and the control is automatically operable to determine the value representative of the initial diameter as a function of a position of the feed element of the feed system when the contact is
indicated.

25. The system of claim 22, wherein the control is automatically operable to control the feed system to apply a feed force against the honing tool to cause radial expansion of the honing element thereof unrestrained by a surface of a bore and determining a value representative of a baseline feed force required for the unrestrained expansion, and the contact being indicated by an increase in the feed force from the baseline feed force.

26. The system of claim 22, wherein the control is automatically operable for controlling the feed system to hone at least two bores to the target diameter, and for each of the bores controllably
operating the feed system to move the feed element to radially expand the at least one honing element so as to contact the surface of the bore, and determining a value representative of the diameter of the bore as a function of a position of the feed element at a time of the contact, and determining a value representative of wear of the at least one honing element as a function of the values representative of the diameters of the bores at the contact and positions of the feed element when the bores are honed to the target diameter.

27. The system of claim 26, wherein the control is operable to automatically calculate a cost of honing the bores as a function of the value
representative of wear.

28. The system of claim 22, wherein the control is automatically operable to control the feed system to move the feed element at a constant rate for honing the bore to the target diameter.

29. The system of claim 22, wherein the control is automatically operable to control the feed system for honing the bore with the feed force at a constant level .

30. The system of claim 22, wherein the control is automatically operable for honing the bore with the feed force varying at levels following a predetermined profile.

31. The system of claim 22, wherein the control is automatically operable for honing the bore with a feed rate which varies at levels following a profile which is determined at least in part as a function of the information representative of the feed force .

32. The system of claim 22, wherein the control is automatically operable for honing the bore with a feed force which varies at levels following a profile which is determined at least in part as a function of the information representative of the feed rate .