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. Process used in the manufacture of gears include blanking, forging, powder metallurgy, extrusion, and casting. 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.
Gear manufacturers classify gear types by the positioning of intersecting shafts, parallel shafts, and non-intersecting shafts. Differences between gear types depend on the particular mechanical configuration of how force is transmitted in its application field. 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. Machining is the most common process used that utilises shaping or hobbing techniques. A significant percentage of all gears available today are produced using machine based technologies. Machine hobbing is performed on dedicated machines using either vertical or horizontal work spindles. In this process, a gear blank is fashioned on a rotating hob. Once the right depth is reached, a hob cutter is passed across the gears face until all gear teeth are complete. Grinding employs a gear cutter to achieve the required gear design and type. The majority of present hardened gears are produced using the grinding process. But the process is rather slow and only useful in the manufacture of high quality gears.
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Without an understanding of the mechanical properties of materials used in gear production, it is impossible to create high quality gears. 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. Additionally, factor such as backlashes, teeth forms and thicknesses, ISO and AGMA ratings play a significant role in gear manufacturing.
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Designing gears, therefore, relies on industry standards for improving quality and performance. Accordingly, production of gears necessitates the need for benchmarking of manufacturers facilities and techniques. Reverse engineering gears is one of the most used of benchmarking standards. The procedure involves the calculation of primary parameters for unknown gear pairs. 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. 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.