Real-time error compensation of a three-axis machine tool using a laser tracker

Zheng Wang, Paul G. Maropolous

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (SciVal)


The concept of measurement-enabled production is based on integrating metrology systems into production processes and generated significant interest in industry, due to its potential to increase process capability and accuracy, which in turn reduces production times and eliminates defective parts. One of the most promising methods of integrating metrology into production is the usage of external metrology systems to compensate machine tool errors in real time. The development and experimental performance evaluation of a low-cost, prototype three-axis machine tool that is laser tracker assisted are described in this paper. Real-time corrections of the machine tool's absolute volumetric error have been achieved. As a result, significant increases in static repeatability and accuracy have been demonstrated, allowing the low-cost three-axis machine tool to reliably reach static positioning accuracies below 35 μm throughout its working volume without any prior calibration or error mapping. This is a significant technical development that demonstrated the feasibility of the proposed methods and can have wide-scale industrial applications by enabling low-cost and structural integrity machine tools that could be deployed flexibly as end-effectors of robotic automation, to achieve positional accuracies that were the preserve of large, high-precision machine tools.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)919-933
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology
Issue number1-4
Early online date1 May 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Laser Tracker
  • real-time
  • error
  • CNC
  • machine tool
  • compensation
  • Feedback
  • control


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