Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Industrial Education and Technology

First Advisor

Roger A. Smith


Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, manufacturers worldwide have used automation to improve productivity, gain market share, and meet growing or changing consumer demand for manufactured products. To stimulate further industrial productivity, manufacturers need more advanced automation technologies: "smart" part handling systems, automated assembly machines, CNC machine tools, and industrial robots that use new sensor technologies, advanced control systems, and intelligent decision-making algorithms to "see," "hear," "feel," and "think" at the levels needed to handle complex manufacturing tasks without human intervention.;The investigator's dissertation offers three methods that could help make "smart" CNC machine tools and industrial robots possible: (1) A method for detecting acoustic emission using a microwave Doppler radar detector, (2) A method for detecting tool wear on a CNC lathe using a Doppler radar detector, and (3) An online non-contact method for detecting industrial robot position errors using a microwave Doppler radar motion detector.;The dissertation studies indicate that microwave Doppler radar could be quite useful in automated manufacturing applications. In particular, the methods developed may help solve two difficult problems that hinder further progress in automating manufacturing processes: (1) Automating metal-cutting operations on CNC machine tools by providing a reliable non-contact method for detecting tool wear, and (2) Fully automating robotic manufacturing tasks by providing a reliable low-cost non-contact method for detecting on-line position errors. In addition, the studies offer a general non-contact method for detecting acoustic emission that may be useful in many other manufacturing and non-manufacturing areas, as well (e.g., monitoring and nondestructively testing structures, materials, manufacturing processes, and devices).;By advancing the state of the art in manufacturing automation, the studies may help stimulate future growth in industrial productivity, which also promises to fuel economic growth and promote economic stability. The study also benefits the Department of Industrial Technology at Iowa State University and the field of Industrial Technology by contributing to the ongoing "smart" machine research program within the Department of Industrial Technology and by stimulating research into new sensor technologies within the University and within the field of Industrial Technology.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Gregory C. Smith



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

132 pages