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What You Should Know About Gear Manufacturing Production processes are designed to create added value. Similar to any production process, gear manufacturing aims to create value related to a manufacturer’s 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. Gear manufacturers produce different kinds of gears for use in different industries. The various kinds include worm gears, bevel gears, gear racks, spur and helical gears. To classify gears; manufacturers look at the positioning of the gear shaft. 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. 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. 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. Once the right depth is reached, a hob cutter is passed across the gears face until all gear teeth are complete. The grinding process utilizes a multi-point cutter on a grinding wheel to create the desired gear type. 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. 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. To ensure the production of high quality gears, assessment of production facilities and techniques is necessary. A major techniques used to benchmark manufacturing standards is reverse engineering gears. Reverse engineering entails the computation of design parameters for the specific gear type. 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. Reverse engineering requires performing repetitive procedures to obtain relevant data. Measurements are intended to take into account deviations from the design, measurement uncertainty, and wear of either custom made gears, worm gears, spur and helical gears.