Gear Production

MAR 2015

Gear Production

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March 2015—11 will be carburized or induction hardened, as these and other tempering procedures have different requirements. The gear is then returned to the grinder for fnishing. This is yet another beneft of the grinding process, according to Mr. Tagle. "You can't take a gear straight from the pre-gasher to heat treat, because the cut is so angular, and it really isn't a true tooth form yet," he says. "So if you roughed out your teeth on the pre-gasher, you've still got to put it on the grinder before going to heat treat. But when you've roughed out the teeth on the grinder, the gear is ready to go in the oven before it's returned to the grinder for fnishing." As for gear forms, Mr. Tagle says it's all a matter of programming. "To be honest, you can grind anything from the smallest, skinniest tooth up to the widest and deepest tooth and it doesn't matter," he says. "The machine doesn't know the difference. Obviously, the more material you have to remove, the longer it will take, but the machine approaches the work in the same way regardless of the size or geometry of the gear." On the day I visited L&H, the scenario Mr. Goldman envisioned when considering purchasing the grinder had actually occurred when the company's pre-gash machine—which was custom-built in the late '70s—broke down with a gear on the worktable. Interestingly, it's the very gear pictured in this article. "It wasn't a rush job, so we had some time to come up with a solution, but a month after the pre-gasher had broken down, we still didn't have it running," he says. "Lucky for us, we have a backup plan now. We ended up moving the gear from the pre-gasher to the grinder to complete the job. The pre-gasher had only cut three teeth when it went down, so there were 37 left for the grinder to rough out. The only challenge we faced was the time we lost moving the gear and setting it back up again. Apart from the transition between machines, having the grinding pick up where the pre-gasher left off went very smoothly. Once we had everything dialed in with the help of the Höfer engineer, we were back in business." Leading Edge Having the grinder changes the equation in terms of equipment usage and workfow, Mr. Garrett says. A recently completed 23,916-square-foot expansion will house the company's welding shop and provide new offce space, allowing the relocation of existing machines to improve effciency and material handling. "Now that we have the grinder, we can factor its capabilities into how we go about doing things and look for machine confgurations that streamline how each job progresses through the shop," he says. "We still want to get everything we can out of our older equipment, such as the pre-gasher, but it's always important to have a plan B in place in case something goes wrong. Now we're prepared for that, and we're also at the forefront of current gear- grinding technology. And that's a good place to be." The gantry crane connects the new addition to the existing facility, with a gap between the two buildings allowing huge parts to be loaded directly onto tractor trailers.

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