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A Guide to Gear Manufacturing The purpose of any production process is 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. Various types of gears are available to suit different needs. 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. As a result of tremendous advances in the manufacture of gears, it is possible to produce gears efficiently and quickly. 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 manufacturing process that involves shaping and hobbing. A majority of gears are produced through a machine-based process. 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. Afterwards, the fashioned gear blank is relayed to a hob cutter for teeth completion. 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. Due to the process’s slowness, it is only suitable for the manufacture of high quality hardened 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. Other factors to consider are backlashes, teeth forms, and thicknesses, ISO and AGMA precisions classes, gear assembly accuracy, heat, and materials treatment.
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The manufacturing process relies on defined industry standards to ensure optimal gear quality and performance. 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. Despite gear calculations and parameters being standardized, the task is often complex. Typically, results obtained by reverse engineering are normally accurate. 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.