Thermal characteristic analysis is essential for machine tool spindles because sudden failures may occur due to unexpected thermal issue. This article presents a lumped-parameter Thermal Network Model (TNM) and its parameter estimation scheme, including hardware and software, in order to characterize both the steady-state and transient thermal behavior of machine tool spindles. For the hardware, the authors develop a Bluetooth Temperature Sensor Module (BTSM) which accompanying with three types of temperature-sensing probes (magnetic, screw, and probe). Its specification, through experimental test, achieves to the precision ±(0.1 + 0.0029|t|) °C, resolution 0.00489 °C, power consumption 7 mW, and size Ø40 mm × 27 mm. For the software, the heat transfer characteristics of the machine tool spindle correlative to rotating speed are derived based on the theory of heat transfer and empirical formula. The predictive TNM of spindles was developed by grey-box estimation and experimental results. Even under such complicated operating conditions as various speeds and different initial conditions, the experiments validate that the present modeling methodology provides a robust and reliable tool for the temperature prediction with normalized mean square error of 99.5% agreement, and the present approach is transferable to the other spindles with a similar structure. For realizing the edge computing in smart manufacturing, a reduced-order TNM is constructed by Model Order Reduction (MOR) technique and implemented into the real-time embedded system.
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