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A Guide to Gear Manufacturing Production processes are designed to create added value. A gear manufacturer’s objectives are defined by product costs, volumes, and deadlines. Production of gears involves an interlinkage of various manufacturing processes. These processes may include forging, casting, powder metallurgy, blanking, and extrusion. A wide array of gears are available for practically any mechanical application. 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. 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. Currently, a wide variety of machines are available for the production of gears. Manufacturing processes are either manual, automatic or semi-automatic. As such, machining is the most populate gear production process involving two main methods: shaping or hobbing. 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. After the right gear depth is attained, the blank is then passed through a hob cutter. Grinding employs a gear cutter to achieve the required gear design and type. Mostly, grinding is used to finish accurate and hardened gears. But the process is rather slow and only useful in the manufacture of high quality 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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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 commonly employed to benchmark production facilities Benchmarking by reverse engineering requires the calculation of production parameters for known gear types and related mechanical applications. Despite gear calculations and parameters being standardized, the task is often complex. Data obtained by reverse engineering gears is typically accurate and useful in the production process. The process requires the performance of repetitive procedures to arrive at conclusive 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.