Inconel 718 is among the most widely used superalloys in many industries. It is often used in very harsh conditions such as jet engines, combustors and nuclear reactors due to its high strength at elevated temperatures, high oxidation and corrosion resistance. Machining superalloy Inconel 718 has always been a challenging task due to its poor machinability including rapid work hardening, low thermal conductivity, and relatively short cutting tool life. The fast tool wear during cutting Inconel 718 results in longer production time, deteriorated surface integrity, and higher manufacturing cost. In this paper, an on-line optical tool monitoring system integrated with a CNC machine tool has been developed to examine tool wear evolutions in end milling Inconel 718 with PVD (Ti, Al) N/TiN-coated carbide insert. Three basic types of tool wear: flank wear, nose wear, and crater wear were examined and analyzed. A two-parameter method has been proposed to evaluate both flank wear and nose wear vs. cutting time.

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