How to Make Gears All production processes are geared towards creating added value. Similar to any production process, gear manufacturing aims to create value related to a manufacturer’s costs, volumes, and deadlines. A combination of various production processes are employed in the manufacture of gears. 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. 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. 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. 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. Manufacturing processes are either manual, automatic or semi-automatic. Machining is the most common process used that utilises shaping or hobbing techniques. Large volumes of gears are manufactured using machine based techniques. 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. The grinding process utilizes a multi-point cutter on a grinding wheel to create the desired gear type. The majority of present hardened gears are produced using the grinding process. 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. 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. Other factors that affect the production process include ISO and AGMA classifications, teeth forms, teeth thicknesses, and backlashes.
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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. 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. Reverse engineering requires performing repetitive procedures to obtain relevant data. Acquired measurements provide information regarding design deviations, uncertainty in measurements, and wearing of gears in the application environment.