The purpose of any production process is to create added value. A gear manufacturer’s objectives are defined by product costs, volumes, and deadlines. Production of gears involves an interlinkage of various manufacturing processes. Process used in the manufacture of gears include blanking, forging, powder metallurgy, extrusion, and casting. Various types of gears are available to suit different needs. Examples of gear types include bevel gears, worm gears, spur and helical gears.
Gears are classified depending on the positioning of the shafts. How a gear transmits force in its application field, determines its mechanical configuration. The gear selection process requires the evaluation of factors such as the gears dimensions, precision grades, the number of teeth, its torque, and efficiency.
Advances in gear manufacturing technology have made it easier for manufacturers to produce stock or custom made gears. A variety of machines are available that facilitate the manufacture of gears. Production processes can be either fully automated, manual, or semi-automatic. Machining is the most common manufacturing process that involves shaping and hobbing. A significant percentage of all gears available today are produced using machine based technologies. Hobbing employs dedicated machines to make gears by relying on vertical or horizontal spindles In this process, a gear blank is fashioned on a rotating hob. Afterwards, the fashioned gear blank is relayed to a hob cutter for teeth completion. The grinding process utilizes a multi-point cutter on a grinding wheel to create the desired gear type. Typically, the grinding process is used in the manufacture of hardened gears. Gear grinding is slow and is only utilized for the manufacture of high quality hardened gears.
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Gear manufacturing requires the application of specialized knowledge of mechanical properties of gears. Comprehension of mechanical properties is especially necessary when relying on standardized gear designs. Required knowledge includes an understanding of formulas used to determine gear sizes and strengths, speed ratios, technical language, gear types and rotational directions. Additionally, factor such as backlashes, teeth forms and thicknesses, ISO and AGMA ratings play a significant role in gear manufacturing.
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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. A major techniques used to benchmark manufacturing standards is reverse engineering gears. 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. Data obtained by reverse engineering gears is typically accurate and useful in the production process. The process requires the performance of repetitive procedures to arrive at conclusive data. Acquired measurements provide information regarding design deviations, uncertainty in measurements, and wearing of gears in the application environment.