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spike® – from a 100% monitoring system to a machine operator-assistant solution

spike® - from a 100% monitoring system to a machine operator-assistant solution

No matter whether you have small or large lot sizes, spike® is the sensor system for all user groups in the machining industry, optimising and machine operator-assistant. spike® offers the ideal solution as a complete integration with a complex machine connection, but also as an assistance system via Plug&Play. The advantage of spike® is that even most sensitive processes can be controlled and analysed in real-time. Additionally, it shows the machine operator what the tool does at the moment. Since the end of 2018 spike® can even communicate directly with the machine.

spike® Halter mit Bohrer

The sensor system spike® is a measuring system which detects the cutting forces and moments directly on the tool. With the bending moment in X- and Y-direction, spike® can detect each cutting edge during the milling process. spike® is often used in machining procedures like milling, drilling, turning, grinding, reaming and FSW. Choose a customised solution for your needs! With the patented spike®_polar, the actual status can be compared with the target status, diagnosing a worn tool or an imbalance. In addition to detecting chatter marks, the spike®_polar also displays process fluctuations.

However, the sensitive resolution of the bending moment also ensures that the spike® does not fail to detect material build-up on a cutting edge or vibrations. This enables identification of deviations from dimensional and surface tolerances due to tool wear or fluctuating tool performance - thus an automatic tool change can be initiated before quality problems occur.


The spike®_polar represents all four cutting edges of the tool whilst milling. This way, tool wear, as well as cutting edge breakage of a single cutting edge can be detected and thus monitored in realtime.


Detection of the drill run by measuring the bending moment.

Surveillance system: spike®_easyinline

is the complete solution with machine connection in the spike® family and designed for use in series production. spike® reliably records process forces without restricting machine technology. It allows for thorough and 100% quality monitoring in the series process - downstream component measurements
are therefore no longer necessary. Thanks to the innovative evaluation with spike®_polar and spike®_kpi's (processspecific key figures), the monitoring technology can be used quickly and process independently. The run of the drill is a known problem which can currently only be detected by the downstream measurement of the component. By integrating spike® into the machine, this flaw can be detected in-line and without loss of time. The run of the drill cannot be perceived through axial force or torsion. This means, that even with spindle current monitoring, this flaw cannot be detected. However, through the bending moment of the spike®, is this flaw directly detectable (see bore holes, 11,14,16,20).

Stefan Wagner, Head of machining process development at Robert Bosch GmbH, describes the advantages of spike®_easyinline as follows: „With spike® and its ability to also measure finest bending moments in the serial process […], we can ensure high and increasing quality requirements in the surface finishing, which our customers expect in our 24/7 production.” Further advantages of a machine integrate surveillance with spike® are:

  • Surveillance of shape and position tolerance (indirect)
  • Reduction of tool costs through an automatic and force-based tool change
  • Prevention of machine downtimes
  • Adaptive feed control
  • Unmanned production

The spike® technology can be retrofitted to existing machines as well as integrated directly into new machines. The connection to the machine control system can be made conveniently via an Ethernet connection, Profibus or Profinet. The receiving unit and the IPC are installed directly in the machine control cabinet.


Diagnostic system: spike®_expertline

… is designed as a flexible solution out of the trunk. The system serves for the analysis and optimisation of processes and tools. The diagnostic system is ready
for use as a plug & play solution in less than two minutes. With this diagnostic tool, tools in machining can be easily compared with each other. The effects of coolants, coatings and process parameters can also be optimally determined this way. This makes spike®_expertline the ideal solution for research and development. The diagnostic system is also suitable for increasing productivity and tool life. Process problems can be identified simply and swiftly. This is ensured above all by the simple operating of the analysis software. The receiving unit with the diagnostic system is simply stationed outside of the machine and connected with a laptop via USB.

Assistance system: spike®_assist

... provides visual support for the machine operator, especially with small to medium-sized batch sizes. The software of this assistance tool is also equipped with the spike®_polar. spike®_assist shows the employee the relative utilization of the tool in percent and thus allows conclusions to be drawn about the process status.



Even the smallest changes on a cutting edge can be identified with the spike®_polar.

Especially with small batch sizes, the machine operator determines the surface quality by hand at the potentiometer (feed). spike®_assist supports the operator in early detection of surface problems such as chatter marks and, if necessary, in intervening to regulate. Using the new spike®_app, visualization and notification can take place from anywhere. It informs about the current process status and sends alarms via push messages directly to the smartphone in case of user-defined load overruns. The new product line can be set up in under a minute, and consists of the spike®_assist tool holder, a tablet with the receiving unit, the Software and the spike®_app.


Author: Markus Preuß