Production processes are designed to create added value. In gear manufacturing, the creation of benefit focuses on achieving QCD (costs, volumes, and deadlines). Production of gears involves an interlinkage of various manufacturing 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.
To classify gears; manufacturers look at the positioning of the gear shaft. Understanding the differences between gear types is critical in understanding how force is transmitted in different mechanical configurations. When selecting gears, you are required to evaluate a variety of factors.
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. Production processes can be either fully automated, manual, or semi-automatic. As such, machining is the most populate gear production process involving two main methods: shaping or hobbing. A majority of gears are produced through a machine-based process. Hobbing employs dedicated machines to make gears. A rotating hob is used to create the right gear depth on a blank. After the right gear depth is attained, the blank is then passed through a hob cutter. 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. The majority of present hardened gears are produced using the grinding process. 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. It is equally true where production depends on standardized designs. Production requires engineers to understand factors such as rotational directions, drive train speed ratios, the different kinds of gears, their sizes, and strengths. Additionally, factor such as backlashes, teeth forms and thicknesses, ISO and AGMA ratings play a significant role in gear manufacturing.
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Accordingly, the gear design process relies on industry level standards to improve the quality and performance of gears. 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. Benchmarking by reverse engineering requires the calculation of production parameters for known gear types and related mechanical applications. Nevertheless, the benchmarking process is usually a difficult task that involves much more than the computation of gear parameters and other variables. However, in most instances, the accuracy of reverse engineering can be improved substantially. The process requires the performance of repetitive procedures to arrive at conclusive data. 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.