In current practice, the buffing process required to finish the surface of mechanical parts is performed manually by a technical expert as it requires a delicate adjustment of the buffing force. The automation of this process is desirable in an effort to shorten the process time and reduce labor cost. To automate the buffing process, a beneficial process monitoring technique that supervises the buffing tool conditions in real time must be developed. From a practical perspective, an observer technique that does not require additional sensors would be most suitable for monitoring the tool operating condition. The authors propose a technique that estimates the buffing tool stiffness based on a disturbance observer. The validity of the proposed method as a buffing tool condition monitoring technique is verified through numerical simulations and experiments.
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