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What You Should Know About Gear Manufacturing Production processes are designed to create added value. In gear manufacturing, the creation of benefit focuses on achieving QCD (costs, volumes, and deadlines). As such, the production of gears involves a combination of processes. These processes may include forging, casting, powder metallurgy, blanking, and extrusion. A wide array of gears are available for practically any mechanical application. Examples of gear types include bevel gears, worm gears, spur and helical gears. Gears are classified depending on the positioning of the shafts. Understanding the differences between gear types is critical in understanding how force is transmitted in different mechanical configurations. The gear selection process requires the evaluation of factors such as the gears dimensions, precision grades, the number of teeth, its torque, and efficiency. Due to advances in gear manufacturing technology, producers can easily manufacture gears of varying complexity. Currently, a wide variety of machines are available for the production of gears. Manufacturing processes are either manual, automatic or semi-automatic. Machining is the most common manufacturing process that involves shaping and hobbing. Large volumes of gears are manufactured using machine based techniques. Machine hobbing is performed on dedicated machines using either vertical or horizontal work spindles. A rotating hob is used to create the right gear depth on a blank. Afterwards, the fashioned gear blank is relayed to a hob cutter for teeth completion. Grinding of gears involves the cutting of metal with a multi-point cutter composed of abrasive particles bonded together on a grinding wheel of the desired shape. Mostly, grinding is used to finish accurate and hardened gears. Due to the process’s slowness, it is only suitable for the manufacture of high quality hardened gears.
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Quality manufacture of gears requires a working knowledge of the mechanical properties of materials used in production. This is particularly the case even when using standardized designs. Required knowledge includes an understanding of formulas used to determine gear sizes and strengths, speed ratios, technical language, gear types and rotational directions. Other factors that affect the production process include ISO and AGMA classifications, teeth forms, teeth thicknesses, and backlashes.
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The manufacturing process relies on defined industry standards to ensure optimal gear quality and performance. Accordingly, production of gears necessitates the need for benchmarking of manufacturers facilities and techniques. Reverse engineering gears is commonly employed to benchmark production facilities The procedure involves the calculation of primary parameters for unknown gear pairs. However, the standardization process is much more complex than calculating gear parameters and application variables. However, in most instances, the accuracy of reverse engineering can be improved substantially. As the process is iterative, it requires the performance of repetitive measurements. Obtained measurements provide guidelines on gear deviation from design requirements, inaccuracy of measurements, and the effect of the application environment on a gear’s integrity.