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A Guide to Gear Manufacturing All production processes are geared towards creating added value. A gear manufacturer’s objectives are defined by product 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. 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. Understanding the differences between gear types is critical in understanding how force is transmitted in different mechanical configurations. The selection process requires one to consider factors such as dimensions, precision grades (AGMA, DIN, or ISO), heat treatment or teeth grinding, torque and efficiency ratios. As a result of tremendous advances in the manufacture of gears, it is possible to produce gears efficiently and quickly. Today, machines exist which facilitates entire production processes. The gear manufacturing process can be automatic, semi automatic, or manual. Machining is the most common manufacturing process that involves shaping and hobbing. Large volumes of gears are manufactured using machine based techniques. Hobbing employs dedicated machines to make gears. 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. 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. It is equally true where production depends on standardized designs. This knowledge encompasses a variety of formulas for creating gear sizes and strengths, an understanding of the various gear types and technical vocabulary, train speed ratios 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. These benchmarks entail the evaluation of a manufacturer’s critical production functions and key engineering processes. A major techniques used to benchmark manufacturing standards is reverse engineering gears. 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.